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How can I convince my chain of command to drop an Article 15?

With the drawdown going strong, the military is looking for discriminators to ensure only Soldiers with good records can reenlist. We now have Brigade Commanders reviewing Soldier performance history to see if they should be allowed to REUP! Team, this is serious when your future is in the hands of a Colonel and not your company commander.

Now more than ever, it is apparent that reenlistment is a privilege and not a right. Negative portions of your records will be reviewed with a fine tooth comb. In the old days a Soldier who made an honest mistake and received an Article 15 usually had the ability to recover from the event. This was especially true if the mistake was brought on by a lack of judgement based on immaturity or lack of experience. Those days are gone… at least for the next 24-36 months. To make a long story short, you need to watch your step. Do you value your career? Avoid Article 15 at all costs.

What can you do to improve your chances of recovery?

If we are talking about a relatively minor offense it may be within your power to take certain measures and prevent the Article 15 from proceeding. You will probably have the greatest chance of success if you take action prior to being counseled, but you can attempt to react after the counseling session as well. I suggest you act as quickly as possible.

Step One: Assess the Situation

Try to think about the situation from an objective point of view. Answer the following questions:

  1. What happened?
  2. Why did it happen?
  3. Are you responsible for what happened?
  4. Did it happen as a result of a lack of discipline, poor judgment, lack of knowledge, etc?
  5. Why do you believe your leader recommended the Article 15?
  6. Does your leader usually recommend Article 15’s?
  7. If you were a leader in the same situation would you recommend an Article 15 if your Soldier did the same thing?

Step Two: Assess the Leader

After you have answered the questions above you need to begin planning how you will approach your leader. Everyone has quirks and tendencies. You will have better chances if you consider your audience:

  1. What type of leader is he/she?
  2. Do they appear to be taking pleasuring in recommending the Article 15?
  3. Are they trying to educate you and correct substandard performance?
  4. Do you feel you can approach the leader?
  5. What is your leader’s personality?
  6. What would be the best time to approach your leader?
  7. How could you best approach the issue with your leader?

Step Three: Consider Human Nature

You must realize that very few leaders take joy or pride in recommending an Article 15. Some may initially make the recommendation out of emotion and then feel they cannot retreat from the decision, others may recommend an Article 15 because they are young and do not know or understand other methods that may be appropriate for dealing with the issue at hand.  Sometimes you deserve to be recommended for an Article 15 because you have overstepped your bounds or have a history of ignoring your leader and he/she has had their fill.

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posted on 04/30/2012 under Articles
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Mark is a Retired Command Sergeant Major with 26 years of military leadership experience. He held 3 military occupational specialties (Field Artillery, Nuclear Weapons Tech, and Ammunition Ordnance). Mark is one of the leading military authors in the fields of leadership, counseling, and training..

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