DoD and VA release online tool to assist veterans with discharge upgrade process
The Department of Defense, through a joint initiative with the Department of Veterans Affairs, is pleased to announce the launch of a web-based tool that will provide customized guidance to veterans who desire to upgrade or change the conditions of their military discharge. “We are thrilled to have partnered with the Department of Veterans Affairs in developing this wonderful and easily-accessible tool,” said Mr. Robert Wilkie, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. “We support our veterans, whether they served recently or long ago, and we are excited to introduce a tool that will individualize the guidance for those who desire an upgrade or change in their military discharge,” he said.
Over the years, some veterans have criticized the review process as daunting or difficult to understand. The issuance of supplemental guidance over the past few years, while helpful to many, has the side effect of creating multiple guidance documents that can be confusing to some. Furthermore, some veterans suffer from mental health or other conditions that make tasks like these more difficult for them than for others.
This innovative tool simplifies and customizes the guidance. By answering a few short questions, veterans will know which board they need to go to, what form to fill out, any special guidance applicable to their case, where to send their application, and some helpful tips for appealing their discharge. Any veterans who believe their discharge was unjust, erroneous, or warrants an upgrade are encouraged to use this tool and then apply for review.
This tool can be found on Vets.gov at: https://www.vets.gov/discharge-upgrade-instructions. The link is also available on Military OneSource (http://www.militaryonesource.mil/) and each of the review board’s websites (listed below). The link has also been forwarded to a number of Veterans Service Organizations and Military Service Organizations in order to spread the news to as many Veterans as possible.
This initiative was one of many in recent years aimed at improving the review process and guidance available to veterans who believe they may have been unfairly discharged or received an unfair discharge characterization. The Department issued special guidance in 2011 for veterans discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” or its predecessor policies. Also, the Department issued guidance related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) in 2014. Most recently, in February 2016, the Department redoubled its efforts to ensure veterans received the benefit of the latest guidance and statutes of limitations were liberally waived in such cases. Subsequently, in December 2016, the Department launched an internal review of its policies and procedures. That review disclosed some gaps and confusion in the previous guidance. In August 2017, the Department issued significant guidance clarifying how review boards will consider cases involving mental health conditions, including PTSD, TBI, sexual assault, or sexual harassment.
For information on a specific board, please contact the board directly or through its website at:
Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records
Air Force Discharge Review Board:
Army Board for Correction of Military Records:
Army Discharge Review Board:
Navy Board for Correction of Naval Records:
Navy Discharge Review Board:
To submit feedback on related Department policies or processes:
Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail your feedback to Office of Legal Policy at:
Office of Legal Policy
Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel & Readiness)
4000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-4000