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Can an Article 15 proceeding be conducted in front of a formation?

Having a dispute with higher NCOs, can a Article 15 be presented to the SM during a company formation in front of the SM's peers? Is there regulations that protects the SM? I believe this is wrong to do and two, something like this needs to be done behind closed doors with the SM's squad/platoon leaders and/or 1SG/CO.

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The punishment can be read out loud at the next formation.  The punishment can be posted to the unit bulletin board. The Soldier can request an open hearing which could potentially be in front of a formation if you wanted to push the definition.  However I don’t believe it is appropriate.  In addition to have a public hearing the Soldier must request a public hearing.

So based on the information you provided I do not see an Article 15 proceeding being conducted in front of a formation.  I would see this as inappropriate and potentially illegal.  I view it as vindictive and belittling to the Soldier.

Here is a note from one of our Legal SME’s:

I have never seen this or heard of this happening.  It would go against good order and discipline and make a spectacle of the UCMJ process.  I could potentially see a commander getting in serious trouble for this.

While the AR does not specifically prevent holding AR 15 proceedings in front of a formation, doing so would be humiliating to the Soldier and as such a violation of AR 600-100, paragraph 2–1. See extract below:

It could potentially also be a violation of AR 600-20, paragraph 4-20 – Hazing.

Extract of AR 27-10

3–22. Announcement of punishment

The punishment may be announced at the next unit formation after punishment is imposed or, if appealed, after the decision on the appeal. After deleting the social security account number of the Soldier and other relevant privacy information, the results of the UCMJ, Art. 15 punishment may be posted on the unit bulletin board. The purpose of announcing the results of punishments is to preclude perceptions of unfairness of punishment and to deter similar misconduct by other Soldiers. An inconsistent or arbitrary policy should be avoided regarding the announcement of punishments that might result in the appearance of vindictiveness or favoritism. In deciding whether to announce punishment of Soldiers in the grade of SGT or above, the following should be considered:a. The nature of the offense.b. The individual’s military record and duty position.c. The deterrent effect.d. The impact on unit morale or mission.e. The impact on the victim.f. The impact on the leadership effectiveness of the individual concerned.


An open hearing means that the proceeding is open to the public. If the hearing is closed, only you, I, designated Soldiers of the chain of command, available witnesses, and a spokesperson, if designated, will be present. Do you request an open hearing?

3-18e. Other rights.

The Soldier will be informed of the right to—
(1) Fully present the Soldier’s case in the presence, except in rare circumstances, of the imposing commander (see para 3–18g).
(2) Call witnesses (see para 4c(1)(F), part V, MCM, 2008).
(3) Present evidence.
(4) Request that the Soldier be accompanied by a spokesperson (see para 3–18h, below).
(5) Request an open hearing (see para 3–18g, below).
(6) Examine available evidence

AR 27-10, para 3-18g(2) – Ordinarily, hearings are open. The UCMJ, Art. 15 proceedings are not adversary in nature. However, a Soldier may request an open or closed hearing. In all cases, the imposing commander will, after considering all the facts and circumstances, determine whether the hearing will be open or closed (see para 4c(1)(G), part V, MCM, 2008).  An open hearing is a hearing open to the public but does not require the commander to hold the proceeding in a location different from that in which the commander conducts normal business—that is, the commander’s office.  A closed hearing is one in which the commander decides that members of the public will not attend.


 Extract of AR 600-100


a. Set and exemplify the highest ethical and professional standards as embodied in the Army Values;

c. Ensure the physical, moral, personal, and professional wellbeing of subordinates; and

k. Treat subordinates with dignity, respect, fairness, and consistency.

Did you find this information useful? I would appreciate your feedback!




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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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