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Administrative Separations for Misconduct: An Alternative or Companion to Military Courts-Martial

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Publication Date: May 2004

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: RS21849

Topic: Law and ethics (Military and martial law)


The recent reports of abuse of prisoners held by U.S. military personnel have raised questions about how the armed forces control servicemembers. Congress, under the authorities vested in it by the U.S. Constitution, has enacted procedures for addressing misconduct by servicemembers. One such procedure is an administrative separation under which a member's continued suitability for service is determined. Administrative separations are non-punitive and can be initiated for a number of reasons, including misconduct or criminal offenses. They may be used in place of or after the servicemember has been subject to a court-martial or nonjudicial punishment. This report provides an overview of administrative separations as an alternative or companion to courts-martial.