The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness has released a revised regulation on Conscientious Objection (DoDI 1300.06), which went into effect 12 JUL17. The biggest change in this new version is the removal of several of the questions that were listed as required information for applicants. These questions, sometimes called the evidence questions, asked people to give details about observable changes in their lives and daily practices that indicate their change in belief. (These evidence questions have not yet been removed from the individual branch regulations, and consequently they may still be included as requirements until those regulations reflect the change.)
Potential Conscientious Objector Applicants take note: the DoD format has changed but the required evidence has not.
What this means for applicants: The applicant still bears the burden of proof showing they have become conscientiously opposed to war. The government has not changed the standards it uses in judging whether someone's change in belief will be recognized as conscientious objection. The government is still using the same criteria in terms of evaluating sincerity. However, the DoD is now giving applicants less direction as to what kind of evidence it is looking for. Potential applicants often benefit from working with an experienced counselor, and now that experience and guidance can be even more helpful for ensuring that an application includes sufficient evidence to merit approval.. At the GI Rights Hotline, we continue to help many people successfully obtain honorable discharges for conscientious objection. To speak with a counselor call 877 447 4487.