Comments: To view or download the complete regulation, click on the the link to it in the box above these comments.
Enclosure 3 REASONS FOR SEPARATION
11. SEPARATION IN LIEU OF TRIAL BY COURT-MARTIAL
a. Basis. Upon request by the enlisted Service member, the enlisted Service member may be
separated in lieu of trial by court-martial if charges have been preferred with respect to an
offense for which a punitive discharge is authorized, and it is determined that the enlisted Service
member is unqualified for further military service under the guidance set forth in section 1 of
Enclosure 4. This provision may not be used when Rule for Court-Martial 1003(d) of Reference
(m) provides the sole basis for a punitive discharge unless the charges have been referred to a
court-martial empowered to adjudge a punitive discharge.
b. Characterization or Description. Characterization of service normally will be under other
than honorable conditions, but characterization as general (under honorable conditions) may be
warranted under the guidelines in section 3 of Enclosure 4. For respondents who have completed
entry-level status, characterization of service as honorable is not authorized unless the
respondent’s record is otherwise so meritorious that any other characterization clearly would be
inappropriate. When characterization of service under other than honorable conditions is not
warranted for an enlisted Service member in entry-level status in accordance with section 3 of
Enclosure 4, the separation will be described as an entry-level separation.
Comments: The usual characterization of service for an administrative discharge instead of a court-martial is Other Than Honorable, not Dishonorable.
(6) The separation authority will be a commander exercising general court-martial
jurisdiction or higher authority as specified by the Secretary concerned. As an exception, the
Secretary concerned may authorize general court-martial convening authorities to delegate
authority to the special court-martial convening authorities to approve requests for discharge in
the case of enlisted Service members who:
(a) Have been absent without leave for more than 30 days.
(b) Have been dropped from the rolls of their units as absent in desertion.
(c) Have been returned to military control.
(d) Are assigned to a regional personnel control and/or separation processing facility.
(e) Are charged only with being absent without leave for more than 30 days.
Comments: This is the regulation that allows but does not require an administrative discharge instead (Latin: in lieu) of a court-martial for absences of over 30 days.