Q&a | AskTOP.net - Leader Development for Army Professionals
Army Uniform Tool

Can I receive a Relief for Cause and be separated for the same offense?

I got in trouble and I am in the process of receiving a relief for cause. In addition the command says they are going to punish me even more by either separation or courts martial. Can they do that? What can I do?

Get Tabbed - How to Graduated Army Ranger School

A relief for cause evaluation is not punishment. However, the command does have options if they decide to punish you:

  • Letter of reprimand/admonition
  • UCMJ
  • courts martial
  • separation

The command can pursue any of these options separately, or in combination.

What options do you have? You can appeal the NCOER or request a Commander’s Inquiry (see AR 623-3 for details). You may be entitled to see a separation board depending on your time in service (see AR 635-200 for details). If you received an Article 15 you have a right to an appeal (see AR 27-10 for details).

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…

Army Uniform Tool

Disclaimer: Though all content posted on AskTOP.net 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.


  • wanderer


    I was the subject of an IG complaint and in the process of investigation, soldiers have written negative stuff about me. I was given a gomor, relief for cause, and a separation board. I went to the separation board and won my case. The allegations were found with insufficient evidence and the recommendation by the board is for me to be retained and unflagged. I am promotable to E7 prior to the IG complaint and now that I won my case, my superiors would not unflag me due to the GOMOR and Relief for cause, where the allegattions are same as the ones heard during the separation board (insufficient evidence for all allegations). Shouldn’t I be unflagged? and can i get my P status back?

    • Mark Gerecht


      This response is provided based on the information you shared and should not be used as the sole source for making a decision. You should seek guidance from the chain of command, IG, JAG or other certified agencies before making any decisions. How you chose to use this information is totally up to you and is your sole responsibility.

      A lot going on here. First they can relieve you for loss of confidence and no other reason. See AR 600-20 as it pertains to relief. As long as they are processing the relief for cause action you will remained flagged per AR 600-8-2 see referred report. You can request a commander’s inquiry into your Relief for Cause report. Any positive findings along with your IG report can be used to appeal your evaluation report and have it removed from your records if you win your appeal. If your report has not been placed in your official records upon request for a commander’s inquiry your commander must (IS REQUIRED TO) request that the NCOER be placed in a temporary hold status until the inquiry is complete. See AR 623-3 as it pertains to a commander’s inquiry. As far as the GOMOR goes was it filed locally or in your permanent records? If filed locally not a real big deal. If filed in your official records then you can request removal using the results of a commander’s inquiry and your IG report to support your request. Getting your “P” status back….I think that is a long shot. You probably need to consider contacting the promotions branch at HRC and find out what regulation, DA MEMOS, etc. are used in reauthorizing promotable status.

      CHECKOUT OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL: Mentor Military https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCj0IXu7SmA2wLoPrNAUfSZA
      Hope this helps to some degree.
      Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MentorMilitary/
      Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Asktop/
      Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bjcYH
      YOUTUBE: Mentor Military https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCj0IXu7SmA2wLoPrNAUfSZA
      Twitter: https://twitter.com/AskTOP

  • SpcE4


    I am currently in the Army National Guard the reason why I am in the guard is because I tried several times to go active duty before joining the guard, but the active-duty recruiters told me that I had too many misdemeanor. They were all traffic related and the National Guard took me right away
    my dilemma is the following:
    my wife who has never been in the army is joining and will ship out around March some time to go active I am interested in going over to active duty as well once she is assigned to a duty station. what kind of problems might I face if the active-duty recruiters at the station she is based on continue to tell me that I can’t join even tho the National Guard allowed me to join why is there a difference?

    • Yup



      When your wife goes active duty you’ll just PCS with her. You’ll just be an ARMY Dependent. You can stay home and wash dishes and knit sweaters while your wife is out throwing hand grenades at tanks and being badass in the active Army. Just because she goes active doesn’t mean you get to. Should have driven a little better. Sorry bro.

  • Jason Jackson


    I am a SFC and my unit is trying to give a relief of cause NCOER for one first time failing a apft and telling the grader to change the time to make me pass. So the 1SG found out and I told the truth and now they are trying to get me out also bring up the army values integrity. Can that happen to me and will I lose my rank?

    • Mark Gerecht


      SFC, not trying to judge you just discussing the points you brought up. If you did in fact breach your integrity I totally understand where the 1SG is coming from. No one can take your integrity you have to give it away. As a senior leader you are in a position of trust. If they are not successful with a relief for cause they will probably do a change of position and give you a change of rater with some pretty tough comments on the report. I personally do not see a way out of this based on the information you provided. As a leader you can make honest mistakes but when you do something illegal, unethical, immoral, or unsafe you have chosen to do something willfully wrong. I call them the unforgivable sins of Leadership.

      Your rank is a different matter. Reduction requires the intervention of the Department of the Army. Usually they do not attempt to remove your rank but it possible if they get the General Officer Court Martial Convening authority involved. I would encourage you to read AR 600-8-19 as it applies to reduction. Would recommend you read AR 623-3 and DA PAM 623-3 as they pertain to relief and appeals. You can find a lot of other good information about these subjects on our sister site ASKTOP.NET

      Hope this helps!
      Did you find this information useful! We appreciate your feedback!

  • Antonio


    Question: I am a SFC with 23 of active service and now I am under investigation for misplacing 25 Service Packages on equipment. I have been with this unit less than a year and since day one, I spoke to my 1SG that I wanted out because I knew that I was being set up for failure! The command wants to give me a Release for Cause NOCER or UCMJ for not managing the filling system correctly. What are my options?

    • Mark Gerecht


      I have 26 years active and 5 years in retirement dedicated to helping Soldiers in issues such as this. Experience tells me that 98 percent of the time a chain of command is not out to get a Soldier they have other things far more important to worry about then an single Soldier. Now with that stated it does happen that some leaders may be less than honorable at times. So in these cases (the other 2%) the paperwork tells the tale. So the first thing you must do is remove all emotion. I mean get rid of it! It is your enemy. Anytime you show emotion to the chain of command you provide them the opportunity or ammunition to use it against you especially if you blow up. Once you have emotions under control you can begin preparing yourself. You should be the absolute professional at all times. Yes Sir/ No Sir, etc.

      Odds are the chain of command would have to do a report of survey (or whatever they call them now FLIPO) or at least an informal/formal investigation. You should be entitled to a report of this investigation. Now it’s time to develop a time line of what happened and what actions you took, who knew, what they knew, witnesses, and individuals that might be willing to write sworn statements. This must be absolutely factual. If memory serves me correctly you can also appeal a report of survey to the next higher and you can also submit items in extenuation and mitigation as to why you should not have to pay or should only pay alittle, or have the money withdrawn over a 12 or 24 month period to prevent financial hardship. Check me on this. It is in the regulation that deals with surveys.

      If they seek to give you a relief for cause you can immediately request a commander’s inquiry (See AR 623-3), if the inquiry comes back in your favor and the NCOER has not left the unit the report will most likely be modified. If the report was already fowarded to HRC and your inquiry is favorable you can use the inquiry to support your NCOER appeal (SEE AR 623-3). Short of the inquiry and or appeal there is nothing you can really do about a relief for cause unless you are comfortable taking the matter to the BN or BDE CDR/CSM. Remember any and all action you take must be professional, factual, unemotional, and calm. If your behavior or attitude is anything less than you lose creditability and it will be hard to prove your case with senior leaders.

      Stating you want out of unit because you are being set up for failure will likely be viewed by senior leadership as an individual that 1). does not want to work, 2) has a poor work ethic, 3)lacks competency, etc. I am not saying this is what or who you are, I am simply stating that statements like that are usually poorly considered by senior leaders without proof. They usually end up coming back to haunt you because your leadership can use them against you. So you must minimize these types of statements. I fully understand when a Soldier is under this type of pressure it can be difficult to keep your cool but you must do so as it is in your best interest.

      If you believe you have been mistreated in some way you can file an Article 138 complaint (Redress against a Commander). This can only be filed for items that do not have an appeal process. For example you can file the 138 complaint against the commander for maltreatment but not for a bad NCOER because you can appeal a bad NCOER. For more on 138’s do a keyword search on ASKTOP.net

      Now let’s look at this from a different point of view. You have 23 years of service. A bad NCOER may leave a bad taste in your mouth about this leadership chain but really in the grand scheme of things this report means nothing for the civilian world…unless you plan to go into JROTC or some other contract work that would want to see your NCOERs. But in the standard civilian and government contracting world they could give a rip about a bad NCOER. I am not saying don’t fight…I am saying that if you believe you have a case and fight it and if you lose…the overall impact on your civilian career is really zero to very small. Make sure you put this into perspective before you make your final plan. The same applies to UCMJ. As an SFC they can’t bust you unless you go before a General Officer for UCMJ, Court Martial, or if the General decides to do an administrative reduction which is rare. So if this works out against you request a rehabilitative transfer leave the unit behind and wipe the dust off your feet.

      Now if they do go with the UCMJ option I would encourage you to do a consultation with a civilian attorney that has previous experience as a military JAG. If you cannot find one locally I can refer to someone we have referred in the past. Phil Cave. You can email him at: mljucmj@court-martial.com (FYI: There is nothing in this recommendation for me.)Usually the consultation with cost you between $50-$150.00. Money usually well spent to get a disinterested point of view on your situation. The attorney may be able to assist you in setting up a defense or based on the contents he could ask you to consider a courts martial if the unit does not have their stuff together…that is a risky move but something an attorney would have to advise you on.

      Antonio in closing take a deep breath. The best defense is one that is well thought out with a full understanding of what will take place based on the actions you take. Much like playing chess. If I do this my opponent with do this or has these options. Emotion will only be your enemy. Be a professional and responsible Leader…do the right thing and in the end things usually work out. If your leaders have done something unprofessional or are covering something up odds are it will come out in the paperwork.

      I truly hope I have given you some insight and help in this issue.


  • caleb


    I had a incident almost 30 days ago. Case involved MP’s charging me with child neglect and child endangerment. My son is three and he got outside while both me and my wife were asleep. Later had MP’s knock on my door asking me if I had a child missing. Turns out I did and on top of that I didnt clean my house mon-thursday , so it was kinda messy . So MP’s charge me with the following above. Just last week I recieved a counseling stating I’m being recommended for UCMJ Article 15. I have yet not received the opportunity to talk with my command due to they are building there case. I can’t say I’m not guilty but I will accept the Article 15 under the understanding that it will be company grade. I just finish my medical board and have been waiting for over a month for my orders to get out. I wish I knew where my chain of command stood on all this because before the got a order from much higher stating they (my commander) had to write me up . Up till that point they were just letting it be and making sure I was going to Family advocacy and parental classes. SO I have no idea how far they want to go with this. What can I do or what could I do to convince my commander that he shouldn’t pursue harsh punishment . I will take a company grade because I know I was at fault for negligence.

    • SGT NICK


      Just FYI for anyone reading the incident above, this is the number one reason I do not live on post. The MP’s can turn over the case to your unit to punish you through UCMJ; off post housing is entirely different. If this would have happened off post you could have struck a deal with the DA to take so many child classes to avoid prosecution or a plea bargain for just the neglect charge. Social Services would have been called and if your social worker gives you a good evaluation then you can give that to the Judge and ask for the case to be dropped. This is not the case on post and you are at the mercy of the commander that might not feel that classes were enough and bring the hammer down on you. You cannot have an attorney fight your case in this matter as well. You could have also been evicted from on post housing within a little time frame of 72 hours. I do not know of any state that can evict you from housing in that little time frame.

  • USMC


    Under what circumstances can you be relieved for “relief for cause?” If someone is out to railroad you, what are your options. I am being pursued for relief for cause- I’ve been warned already.

  • Mark Gerecht


    Technically yes, but depending on the severity of the issue the chain of command can elect to give a change of rater report to soften the blow to an individual’s official record.
    Keep in mind that a relief for cause usually requires a 30 day evaluation or counseling period. This can only be waived by a General Officer with General Courts Martial Authority. If you did not receive the 30 days and the period was not waived then you have a good chance of getting a change of rater report. Read AR 600-20 and AR 623-3 for more information.

  • Erik


    Does a relief for cause have to come with an NCOER? I’ve been relieved of being a platoon Sergeant and I’m wondering what else is in store for me, i haven’t received a relief for cause NCOER yet, but I’m wondering if there’s another option to avoid tarnishing my NCOER record.

    Leave a Comment

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