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Conscientious Objection


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AR 600–43 • 22 March 2023

AR 600–43 • 22 February 2023 (921 KB)

Comments: In March 2023 the Army divided its earlier regulation on conscientious objection into two separate parts. The new regulation calls this a major revision but the process itself is largely unchanged. The new regulation (AR 600-43) now refers to a separate publication (DA PAM 600-43) for most of the procedural details that had been included in earlier versions of AR 600-43.

To view or download the complete regulation, click on the link to it in the box above these comments.

Chapter 1


1–1. Purpose

This regulation sets forth policy, criteria, and responsibilities in accordance with DoDI 1300.06 to classify and process military personnel who claim conscientious objection to participation in war in any form or to the bearing of arms.

1–2. References, forms, and explanation of abbreviations See appendix A. The abbreviations, brevity codes, and acronyms (ABCAs) used in this electronic publication are defined when you hover over them. All ABCAs are listed in the ABCA database located at

1–3. Associated publications
Procedures associated with this regulation are found in DA Pam 600–46.

1–4. Responsibilities
a. Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs). The ASA (M&RA) will—

(1) Develop policies and criteria to classify and process military personnel who claim conscientious objection to participation in war in any form or the bearing of arms.

(2) Through the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Review Boards) DASA (RB)—

(a) Oversee the Department of the Army Conscientious Objector Review Board (DACORB), a component board of the Army Review Boards Agency (ARBA). The DACORB will make recommendations on all cases requesting discharge (1–O). The DACORB will also make recommendations on cases requesting noncombatant status (1–A–O) that are not approved by the commands listed in paragraph 2–5a.

(b) Appoint a president to preside over the board and appoint board members to review applications.

(c) Consistent with authority delegated by the Secretary of the Army, make final determinations on cases in which military personnel claim conscientious objection. Coordinate as necessary to initiate recoupment of unearned portion of bonuses, incentive pay, or similar benefit as required by Section 373, Title 37, United States Code (37 USC 373).

(d) Notify the chain(s) of command of DASA (RB) decisions.

(e) Serve as the final approval authority for all cases heard by the DACORB.

(3) Through the President, DACORB—

(a) Oversee DACORB day-to-day operations.

(b) Serve as or designate a presiding officer to execute board proceedings.

(c) Ensure the board members review applications without bias or prejudice.

(d) Ensure the DACORB understands its role to issue recommendations to DASA (RB).

(e) Ensure the presiding officer certifies the board vote as true and correct.

(f) Return those applications lacking sufficient evidence to render an adequately informed decision.

b. The General Counsel. The GC will ensure legal review of applications for conscientious objector status for cases that the DASA (RB) raises to the ASA (M&RA) or Secretary of the Army for adjudication. The GC will provide advice to the DASA (RB) in the disposition of applications for conscientious objector status.

c. Deputy Chief of Staff, G–1. The DCS, G–1 will—

(1) Provide advice and assistance to the ASA (M&RA) on developing policies that define the use and assignment of noncombatant conscientious objectors (1–A–O) when such Soldiers serve in the Army.

(2) Through the Commanding General (CG), U.S. Army Human Resources Command (HRC), ensure proper disposition of all documents pertaining to the conscientious objector status application in the applicant’s Army Military Human Resource Record (AMHRR) in accordance with AR 600–8–104.

d. Chief, National Guard Bureau. The CNGB will ensure conscientious objection policies and procedures are implemented and executed within the Army National Guard (ARNG) in accordance with this regulation.

e. Chief, Army Reserve. The CAR will ensure conscientious objection policies and procedures are implemented within the Army Reserve Command in accordance with this regulation.

f. Chief of Chaplains. The CCH will ensure interviews are conducted of applicants using the procedures described in DA Pam 600–46.

g. Commanding generals. CGs of Army commands, Army service component commands, and direct
reporting units will implement conscientious objection policies and procedures within their respective commands in accordance with this regulation.

h. Commanders. Commanders at all levels will implement and enforce the chain of command for conscientious objector policies and procedures. Commanders exercising Special Court-Martial Convening Authority will appoint an investigating officer who is a chief warrant officer in the grade of WO–3 or higher, or a commissioned officer in the grade of O–3 or higher to investigate the applicant’s claim. If the applicant is a grade O–3 or higher commissioned officer, the investigating officer must be senior in grade to the applicant, who will conduct an investigation in accordance with DA Pam 600–46.

i. General Court-Martial Convening Authority. The GCMCA will—

(1) Thoroughly review the applicant’s entire case for completion (see DA Pam 600–46). Return to the applicant’s commander any applications that are missing required documents.

(2) Ensure the applicant’s rights have been protected.

(3) Approve 1–A–O applications, if warranted, recommend disapproval of 1–A–O applications, if warranted, and recommend disposition of 1–O applications.

(4) Ensure appropriate assignment of approved 1–A–O applicants after approval.

(5) If the applicant is under deployment orders, determine whether to deploy the applicant.

(6) Ensure proper reassignment or separation orders are published when 1–O or 1–A–O applications are approved, as necessary.

(7) Obtain a legal review of the application from the servicing staff judge advocate, including advice on the legal sufficiency of the application and the disposition of such application.

(8) Coordinate assignment of approved 1–A–O conscientious objectors with HRC.

(9) Coordinate training for approved 1–A–O conscientious objectors, if required due to reassignment.

(10) Coordinate as necessary to ensure recoupment of unearned portion of a bonus, incentive pay, or similar benefit as required by 37 USC 373.

1–5. Records management (recordkeeping) requirements

The records management requirement for all record numbers, associated forms, and reports required by this publication are addressed in the Records Retention Schedule–Army (RRS–A). Detailed information for all related record numbers, forms, and reports are located in Army Records Information Management System (ARIMS)/RRS–A at If any record numbers, forms, and reports are not current, addressed, and/or published correctly in ARIMS/RRS–A, see DA Pam 25–403 for guidance.

1–6. Determining conscientious objector status

a. Personnel who qualify as conscientious objectors under this regulation will be classified as such, consistent with the effectiveness and efficiency of the Army. However, requests by personnel for qualification as a conscientious objector after entering military service will be denied when these requests are—

(1) Based on pre-existing fixed beliefs held prior to enlistment, induction, or appointment. Requests will be denied when they are based on a claim of conscientious objection that existed and satisfied the requirements for classification as a conscientious objector pursuant to DoDI 1300.06, 50 USC 3806(j), and other provisions of law when the applicant failed to request classification as a conscientious objector by the Selective Service System before dispatch of the notice of induction, enlistment, or appointment. Claims based on conscientious objection growing out of experiences before entering military service, which did not become fixed until after the person’s entry into the service, will be considered.

(2) Based on the same grounds as a previously denied Selective Service System request. Requests will be denied when they are based solely on conscientious objection claimed and denied on their merits by the Selective Service System before induction when application under this regulation is based on substantially the same grounds, or supported by substantially the same evidence as the request that was denied under the Selective Service System.

(3) Based on a claim of erroneous processing by the Selective Service System. Such claims will be processed according to DoDI 1300.06.

(4) Based solely upon policy, pragmatism, or expediency. Applicants who are otherwise eligible for conscientious objector status may not be denied that status simply because of their views on the nation’s domestic or foreign policies.

(5) Based solely upon considerations of political, sociological, or philosophical views, or a merely personal code.

(6) Based on objection to a specific war.

(7) Based upon insincerity (see DA Pam 600–46).

b. The burden of establishing a claim of conscientious objection as grounds for separation or assignment to noncombatant training and service is on the applicant. To this end, applicants must establish, by clear and convincing evidence, that the nature or basis of the claim comes within the definition of criteria
prescribed in this regulation and DA Pam 600–46 for conscientious objection and that their beliefs in connection to the claim are firm, fixed, sincere, and deeply held. Applicants have the burden of determining and setting forth the exact nature of the request; that is, whether they request separation based on conscientious objection (1–O) or reassignment to noncombatant training and service based on conscientious objection (1–A–O).

c. An applicant claiming 1–O status will not be granted 1–A–O status as a compromise. Similarly, discharge will not be recommended for those who apply for classification as a noncombatant 1–A–O.

d. Conscientious objectors are exempt from separation due to nondeployable status for administrative
reason during the investigation and resolution of their claim.

e. This regulation will not be used to effect the administrative separation of persons who do not qualify as conscientious objectors. Nor will it be used instead of administrative separation procedures such as those provided for unsatisfactory performance, substandard performance of duty, misconduct, or as otherwise set forth in other Army regulations (see AR 600–8–24, AR 635–200, AR 135–175, or AR 135–178). Under no circumstances will administrative separation of these persons be effected based on this regulation.

f. This regulation does not prevent the administrative elimination, according to law and Army regulations, of any person whose performance of duty after reclassification as a 1–A–O conscientious objector is substandard or who exhibits another basis for elimination.

Chapter 2
Applying for Conscientious Objector Status

2–1. Application

Military personnel who seek either discharge or assignment to noncombatant duties because of conscientious objection will submit an application on DA Form 4187 (Personnel Action) to their immediate commanding officer. Application will indicate whether they are seeking discharge or assignment to noncombatant duties. Mandatory procedures for applying for conscientious objection are prescribed in DA Pam 600–46. Submission of DA Form 4187 constitutes a formal application.

2–2. Advising applicants
Upon receipt of a Soldier’s application, the applicant’s immediate commander will follow the mandatory procedures for advising applicants as prescribed in DA Pam 600–46.

(DA PAM 600-43)

Appendix B

B–1. Application information

The request for classification under conscientious objection will be submitted on a DA Form 4187 with the following information:

a. General information concerning the applicant.

(1) Full name, DoD ID, and selective service number.

(2) Name and address of each school and college attended.

(3) List of all occupations, positions, jobs, or types of work.

(4) The religious denomination or tradition of both parents.

b. A statement as to whether an application was made to the Selective Service System (local board) for classification as a conscientious objector before entry into the military service and the result of that effort.

c. A description or explanation of:

(1) The nature of the belief that requires the applicant to seek separation from military service or assignment to noncombatant training and duty for reasons of conscience.

(2) How the applicant beliefs changed or developed to include an explanation as to what factors (how, when, and from whom or from what source training was received or belief acquired) caused the change in or development of conscientious objector beliefs.

(3) When these beliefs became incompatible with military service or combatant duties, and why.

d. A statement as to whether the applicant has ever been a member of any military organization or establishment before entering upon his or her present term of service; if so, the statement will set forth each of the following items:

(1) The name of the organization or tradition, and the name and location of its governing body or head, if known.

(2) When, where, and how the applicant became a member of said organization or tradition.

(3) The name and location of any religious organization, congregation, or meeting that the applicant customarily attends, and the extent of the applicant active participation therein including the name, title, and present address of the pastor or leader of such religious organizations, congregation, or meeting.

(4) A description of the creed or official statements, as they pertain to participation in war. e. Additional information, such as letter of reference or official statements of organization to which the applicant belongs or refers to in the application. The burden is on the applicant to obtain and forward such information.

f. Any other relevant items that the applicant desires to submit in support of the application.