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AFI 36-3802 Force Support Readiness Programs (9 JAN 2019)

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

Chapter 8

Desertion and Unauthorized Absence (UA)

...8.4. When UAs Begins and Ends. The commander, first sergeant, and/or supervisor will investigate a member’s absence to determine whether or not the absence is voluntary or involuntary. (T-2). A UA is when an Airman voluntarily absences themselves from where they are ordered or otherwise required to be present. A UA ends when the absentee or deserter returns to military control. A UA of 24 hours or less is classified administratively as “failure to go”. …

8.4.1. When to classify as AWOL. A voluntary UA of more than 24 hours and less than 30 days is classified administratively as AWOL (UCMJ, Article 86).(T-1).

8.4.2. When to classify as a Deserter. A member who has been AWOL for more than 30 consecutive days will be classified administratively as a deserter (UCMJ, Article 85) (T-1). Example: AMN Doe has been AWOL since 1 Jan 2018. He remains AWOL through 2400 on the 30th consecutive day and his status is changed to Deserter on the 31st day (10th day during times of National Emergency or war declared by the President or Congress) with an effective date and time of 31 January 2018 at 0001.

Note: An absentee does not have to be placed in AWOL status prior to being classified as a Deserter status if the member is absent without authority, regardless of the length of the absence, and meets any of the eligibility criteria listed below.

8.4.2.1. The commander has determined that the member remains absent from his or her unit, organization, or place of duty with no intention of returning.

8.4.2.2. Is under the duty or travel restrictions that AFMAN 16-1405, Air Force Personnel Security Program, imposes.

8.4.2.3. Has had access in the past 12 months to Top Secret information or other classified information that requires special access authority (see paragraph 8.7.8.). Note: Do not classify a person who appears to be a casualty as a deserter solely because the person has had access to classified material described herein.

8.4.2.4. Has gone to, or stayed in, a foreign country and, while there, has asked for or taken any type of asylum or resident permit from that country or its governmental agencies.

8.4.2.5. Has action pending on a previous UA that has not been completed.

8.4.2.6. Is an escaped prisoner.

8.4.2.7. Is under investigation for violating the UCMJ as listed in Attachment 2 or against whom charges for any offense have been referred to a General Court-Martial.

8.4.2.8. Is believed likely to commit violent acts, or may harm themselves or the general public.

8.4.2.9. AFPC/DPFC has determined member is a deserter.

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8.13. Actions Taken When an Absentee Returns to Military Control

8.14. Notice of Return to Military Control. The unit CSS, MPF, or commander at the AF installation taking initial control of the absentee must notify AFPC/DPFCM immediately of the apprehension (T-1). In accordance with AFI 31-105, AF Corrections System, installation commanders maintain the capability to house pretrial detainees and adjudged inmates with sentences up to one year, through organic confinement facilities, adjacent DoD facilities, civilian contracts, or a combination of organic, Support Agreement, or contract derived bed space.

  • Comment: "AFPC" stands for Air Force Personnel Center.

8.15. Where Absentees Return to Military Control:

8.15.1.At any military installation staffed by active duty personnel, immediately transfer an individual to the nearest installation of the individual's branch of military service that has facilities to process absentees (T-1).Military authorities will take absentees and deserters being detained temporarily in the hands of civil authorities into custody within 48 hours after receiving notification of the absentee’s or deserter’s place of detention. (T-1)

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8.17. Disposition of Absentee Returned to Military Control:

8.17.1.Absentees gone for less than 1 year are returned to the unit they were assigned to at the time of their UA. (T-1).8.17.2.Members absent for 1 year or more are transferred to the nearest AF installation with facilities to handle the case.(T-1). ...

8.20. Commander’s Determination. The action unit commander:

8.20.1. Takes responsibility for disposition of UA. (T-1).

8.20.2. Reviews case circumstances and consults with JA to determine if the absence was avoidable or unavoidable. (T-1).

  • Comment: "SJA" stands for Staff Judge Advocate.

8.20.3. A commander who finds that an absence was:

8.20.3.1. Avoidable, consults with JA and takes appropriate disciplinary action as warranted.(T-1).

8.20.3.2. Unavoidable, the commander excuses the absence. The period of absence does not count as lost time(T-1).Charge it to leave if not authorized for another reason (ref: AFI 36-3003, Military Leave Program). A new HR type Personnel Processing Application AWOL/Deserter CMS case is required to revoke the UA report.(T-3).Examples of excused absences not charged to leave include, but are not limited to:

8.20.3.2.1. When a member's lack of mental capacity causes the absence.

8.20.3.2.2. When civilian law enforcement authorities hold, try and acquit a member

8.20.4. If a member dies during a UA, the commander of the unit of assignment makes a new status determination (T-2). After considering all available facts, the commander determines if the member was in duty status, absent on leave, absent without leave, or a deserter(T-2).

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8.22. Special Requirements for ANG and AFR Members

8.23. General. This section applies to ANG or AFR members ordered to extended active duty voluntarily or involuntarily per AFI 36-2110, Total Force Assignments.

8.23.1. When an extended active duty order calls an Air Reserve Component (ARC) member to active duty, the active duty unit the member is temporarily assigned to processes the absentee only after coordination with the unit of assignment. (T-1).

8.24. Determining UAs. An ARC member voluntarily or involuntarily called or recalled to active duty or active duty for training who fails to report is an absentee if strong evidence exists that the member received the orders (Title 10 orders).

8.24.1. Per DODI 1215.13 Reserve Component Member Participation Policy. When members of the Selected Reserve are ordered to active duty for training or transferred to the Individual Ready Reserve because of unsatisfactory participation, copies of the orders will be furnished to the Service member. (T-1). Military Services will obtain acknowledgment of receipt, either written or electronic, and maintain a trackable record. (T-1). Service members ordered to active duty for training who fail to report will be processed pursuant to policy and procedures established by the Secretary of the AF.(T-1).

8.26. Return to Military Control Responsibilities. …

8.26.2. Disposition Instructions:

8.26.2.1. Absentees gone for less than 180 days are returned to their unit of assignment or to another unit with court-martial jurisdiction as determined by the unit of assignment commander.(T-1).

8.26.2.2. Absentees gone for 180 days or more are no longer carried on unit rolls and are sent to the nearest AF installation with facilities for handling the case.(T-1).

8.26.2.3. In some cases, the rules outlined above may not be appropriate. Under these circumstances, contact AFPC/DPFCM for further guidance.