all=1 Q&a | - Leader Development for Army Professionals
Award Quick: Army Award Writing Software

What to do When an Award is Downgraded

Downgrading an Award

Typically you will not discover an award has been downgraded until it returns to the unit. This means your ability to appeal the downgrade will be limited by the Soldier’s departure from the unit or the time limit established by AR 600-8-22; within one year from the date of the awarding authorities decision.

If an award is downgraded you have two possible methods of recourse:


Submit your formal appeal in accordance with AR 600-8-22 paragraph 1-16.


Often a discussion with the chain of command will bring to light the reason(s) the award was downgraded. In my experience, this approach is more likely to produce
a successful result.

Consider these points when pursuing either a formal or informal appeal:

  1. Be sure to gather all your information. Your argument will be much more persuasive if it can be verified with documentation.
  2. Make sure you have the facts right. Review your documentation for consistency. You must know what you are talking about or your concerns may be quickly dismissed.
  3. If you discover that you failed to properly support your original write up, rewrite the award so that you have it in hand and can submit it when you speak with the chain of command.
  4. Rehearse the presentation of your argument prior to your visit with the chain of command.
  5. Make an appointment to see the chain of command only when you are completely prepared.
  6. During the meeting explain why you believe the Soldier deserves the award. If you failed to properly support the award, express your willingness to rewrite the recommendation
  7. If the chain of command decides not to upgrade the award to the level originally submitted and you believe there is a clear inconsistency that you can prove, you may involve the next level of the chain of command or potentially the IG. If no such inconsistency exists and it is a subjective matter, you may have to accept it and move on.

Your award will usually be approved if you do your homework and are careful to base your recommendation on documented facts. The cause of a downgraded award is often a difference of opinion between the leader submitting the award and the approving authority. Do your best to minimize this difference of opinion by understanding the personalities involved and the established unit standard.


For more information on awards see The Writer

Follow us and never miss a post!

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.

You might be interested in…

Award Quick: Army Award Writing Software

Disclaimer: Though all content posted on is reviewed by our qualified subject matter experts, you should not make decisions based solely on the information contained in this post. Use information from multiple sources when making important professional decisions. This is not an official government website.

Leave a Comment

We will never publish or sell your email address, nor will we ever send you information you have not requested.