LETTERS OF ADMONITION, COUNSELING, AND REPRIMAND HANDBOOK FOR COMMANDERS AND SUPERVISORS
Current as of 31 MARCH 2006
MEMORANDUM FOR ALL GUIDE USERS
SUBJECT: Suggested Format for Admonitions and Reprimands
- Air Force commanders and supervisors frequently contact the webmaster in his official capacity seeking guidance on how to craft appropriate and legally sufficient letters of reprimand, letters of counseling, and letters of admonition. I have found this handbook to be a helpful drafting tool; the commanders and supervisors I have shared it with have found it helpful as well. This guidebook did not originate with this site: it appeared in various forms on various Air Force legal office public websites. However, because these offices tend to add and remove content from their websites frequently, it became hard to locate a copy of this handbook when needed. Therefore, I have removed the middlemen and added this guide in its entirety to www.opslaw.com. Posting of this guide does not constitute legal advice; commanders and supervisors with questions regarding letters of admonition, counseling, or reprimand should contact their servicing staff judge advocate.
- In the Air Force, guidance for how to prepare letters of reprimand, admonition, or counseling (LOR/LOA/LOC) is found in AFI 36-2907, Unfavorable Information File (UIF) Program (17 June 2005), available online at http://www.e-publishing.af.mil/pubfiles/af/36/afi36-2907/afi36-2907.pdf. (Note: Even though not all “bad paper” automatically results in a UIF, thisis still where you turn for guidance on crafting the letter).
- The attached information is furnished for your use in drafting LOR/LOA/LOC. The following items are included:
- A template letter (Attachment 1).
- A selection of “statements of allegations” (Appendix A) – i.e. sample language to describe the misconduct prompting the letter. Modify the sample statement of allegations as necessary to provide a more precise statement of the facts upon which action is based.
- A selection of reprimand, admonishment, and counseling language (Appendix B). Tailor the sample language to the grade and position of the recipient
- As you know, a commander is responsible for maintaining good order and discipline within his command. In most cases, unit discipline can be maintained through effective leadership, including the use of administrative actions in lieu of Article 15s or courts-martial. Such measures include LOR/LOC/LOA. These “non-punitive” measures are not imposed as punishment but are used for corrective purposes, to further the efficiency of the command. A commander, when dealing with minor offenses, should usually consider these “non-punitive” measures first.
- A counseling is a tool to assist subordinates develop judgment, skills, attitudes, and behaviors that are consistent with maintaining the Air Force’s readiness. AF Form 174, Record of Individual Counseling, is an excellent (optional) method for recordingcounseling sessions. It can provide a record of positive as well as negative counseling and can prove useful for performance evaluations.
- An admonition is a warning given to deter the offender from repeating the type of misconduct which resulted in the admonition. A reprimand is an act of formal censurewhich rebukes or reprimands the offender for his or her conduct.
- Written documentation of prior misconduct may prove very valuable later if administrative discharge or court-martial becomes necessary. For this use of LOR/LOA/LOC, however, the procedures set forth in Air Force Instruction 36-2907 must be closely followed. The commander or supervisor must refer the action to the recipient for his or her acknowledgment and comments. Following this, the commander, and only the commander, must decide whether the document should be filed in the member’s UIF via AF Form 1058. (Officer LOR are mandatory UIF entries. If Officer LOA or LOC are not placed in a UIF, they must be placed in the officer’s PIF).
- In any case involving an officer or SNCO I recommend that you coordinate the entire incident with your servicing staff judge advocate prior to taking administrative action.
- The samples I have attached are not exhaustive but address frequently occurring incidents. If you have any suggestions for ways to improve this guide, please contact through www.opslaw.com. If you have questions about a specific case you are dealing with, please contact your servicing staff judge advocate.
Sample Letter w/Appendices
NOTE: GUIDANCE OR REQUIRED LANGUAGE FROM AFI 36-2907 IS IN BOLD
Italicized language is for info only: replace or remove before issuing letter.
MEMORANDUM FOR [RANK FIRSTNAME LASTNAME of member receiving letter]
FROM: [ORG/OFFICE SYMBOL]
SUBJECT: Letter of Reprimand (LOR) or Admonition (LOA) or Counseling (LOC) [Must state which one]
- [State what the member did or failed to do, citing specific incidents and their dates. See Appendix A for sample language.]
- [Second and subsequent paragraphs should be added for each additional item of misconduct.] [Begin these paragraphs with “Further investigation has disclosed” or “Additional investigation has disclosed”, and continue in the same format as paragraph 1.] [If this paragraph is not used, renumber the following paragraphs accordingly].
- You are hereby [reprimanded / admonished / counseled]. [Add paragraph from Appendix B.] [Include a statement which tells the member what improvement is expected, and how to improve.] [Note that further deviation may result in more severe action.]
- Privacy Act statement: AUTHORITY: 10 U.S.C. 8013. PURPOSE: To obtain any comments you desire to submit (on a voluntary basis) for consideration concerning this action. ROUTINE USES: Provides you an opportunity to submit comments or documents for consideration. If provided, the comments and documents you submit become a part of the action. DISCLOSURE: Your written acknowledgment of receipt and signature are mandatory. Any other comment or document you provide is voluntary. [NOTE: This Privacy Act Statement must be included in all LOC/LOA/LOR].
- Recommended language for officer LORs.: I am required to file this LOR in an Unfavorable Information File, unless I decide, based on information you provide in response to this LOR, that this reprimand should not stand. [For non-officer LORs or any LOC/LOA, refer to paragraph 1.3 of AFI 36-2907 if UIF action is contemplated.]
- You will acknowledge receipt immediately. Any comments or documents you wish to be considered concerning this [LOC / LOA / LOR] must be submitted to me within 3 duty days of your receipt of this letter. [NOTE: Do not count the date of receipt in the 3 days // see AFI for guidance on letters & responses served by mail] All comments or documents you submit in response to this letter will become part of the record of this action. [NOTE: This paragraph must be included in all LOC/LOA/LOR and should be the last paragraph.]
[If the recipient is an officer and the issuing officer is not the recipient’s commander, consult the AFI for guidance]
SIGNATURE BLOCK OF ISSUING AUTHORITY
1st Ind, [recipient’s name] ___________________
TO: [ISSUING AUTHORITY]
Receipt acknowledged on __________________ (date). I have three (3) duty days to provide comments or supporting documents in response to this letter. I understand that any comments or supporting documents I provide will become part of the record of this action.
Signature Block of individual receiving the Reprimand or Admonition
2nd Ind, [recipient’s name] ___________________
TO: [ISSUING AUTHORITY]
I (have) (have not) provided comments or supporting documents in response to this letter.
[NOTE: The person who initiates the LOC/LOA/LOR has 3 duty days to advise the individual of their final decision regarding any comments submitted by the individual.]
Signature Block of individual receiving the Reprimand or Admonition
TABLE OF CONTENTS
APPEARANCE and dress standards, AFI 36-2903 violations: Appendices A-1 and B-1
ASSAULT: Appendices A-2 and B-2
CHECK, ISSUING WORTHLESS: Appendices A-3 and B-3
CONSPIRACY: Appendices A-4 and B-4
CRIMINAL activity by others, remaining in presence of: Appendices A-5 and B-5
DEBTS, Dishonorable failure to pay: Appendices A-6 and B-6
DEPENDENTS, failure to support: Appendices A-7 and N/A
DERELICTION OF DUTY: Appendices A-8 and B-7
DISOBEDIENCE of lawful order: Appendices A-9 and B-8
DISORDERLY in a public place: Appendices A-10 and B-9
DISRESPECT: Appendices A-11 and B-10
Recklessly: Appendices A-12 and B-11
While Drunk: Appendices A-13 and B-12
DRUGS, abuse of: Appendices A-14 and B-13
ETHNIC or sexist remarks:
Making: Appendices A-15 and B-14
Permitting: Appendices A-15 and B-15
FALSE official statement: Appendices A-16 and B-16
INTOXICATION on duty: Appendices A-17 and B-17
LEAVING place of duty without authority: Appendices A-18 and B-18
Damage to Military: Appendices A-19 and B-19
Damage to Personal: Appendices A-20 and B-20
Stolen Property knowingly received, bought, or concealed: Appendices A-21 and B-21
REPAIR, failure to: Appendices A-22 and B-22
THREAT, Communication of: Appendices A-23 and B-23
WRONGFUL, appropriation: Appendices A-24 and B-24
AFI 36-2907, Relevant Excerpts: APPENDIX C
A-1. Investigation has disclosed that you violated a lawful general order at (Patrick AFB, FL or other location) on or about (date)by (wearing a dirty Uniform in violation of AFI 36-2903, etc.).
A-2. Investigation has disclosed that you assaulted (name), (a fellow airman, a security policeman, your superior commissioned officer, your superior NCO, your spouse, your supervisor, etc.), on or about (date) at (Patrick AFB, FL or other location).
A-3. Investigation has disclosed that on or about (date) at (location) you issued a check to(name) in the amount of ($), and you (failed to maintain sufficient funds in your account to pay such a check, you did so with the intent to defraud the named payee, or you did so with the intent to deceive (name) .
A-4. Investigation has disclosed that on or about (date) at (location) you conspired with others to commit (type of offense).
A-5. Investigation has disclosed that on or about (date) at (location) you voluntarily remained in the company of persons who were engaged in criminal activity, to wit: (e.g. three persons in your presence were smoking marijuana, and you did not report them to authorities).
A-6. Investigation has disclosed that on or about (date) at (location) you dishonorably failed to pay your debts, to wit: (describe debts).
A-7. Investigation has disclosed that from (date) at (location) you failed to support your (wife, husband, child(ren), family or dependents).
A-8. Investigation has disclosed that on or about (date) at (location) you were derelict in your duty, to wit: (describe dereliction).
A-9. Investigation has disclosed that on or about (date) at (location) you failed to obey a lawful order given to you by (name), your (supervisor, superior officer, superior NCO,NCOIC, Commander, etc.) to (police your work area, to go to the dental clinic at 0800 on I Jan 1996 for your annual dental checkup, to relieve Amn Doe for a meal break, etc.).
A-10.Investigation has disclosed that you were, at (location), on or about (date),disorderly in a public place, to wit: (description of disorderly conduct).
A-11.Investigation has disclosed that you were disrespectful to (name), (your superior commissioned officer, your superior noncommissioned officer), by (saying(fill in), or using words to that effect, turning and walking away while he/she was talking to you etc.) on or about (date) at (location).
A-12.Investigation has disclosed that you operated a motor vehicle in a reckless manner on or about (date) at (location).
A-13.Investigation has disclosed that you operated a motor vehicle while intoxicated on or about (date) at (location).
A-14.Investigation has disclosed that on or about (date) at (location) you wrongfully (possessed, used, or transferred) drugs in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
A-15.Investigation has disclosed that on or about (date) at (location) you permitted racial, sexist, and/or ethnic comments to be made in your work area or took part in making or made racial, sexist, and/or ethnic comments.
A-16.Investigation has disclosed that on or about (date) at (location) you made a false official statement, to wit: (accomplished a statement of witness at the security police desk and knowingly included false information, etc.).
A-17.Investigation has disclosed that you were drunk on duty at (location) on or about (date).
A-18.Investigation has disclosed that you left your place of duty, building (number), (location), without authority on or about (date).
A-19.Investigation has disclosed that on or about (date) at (location) you damaged military property, to wit: (describe property damaged).
A-20.Investigation has disclosed that on or about (date) at (location) you damaged personal property, to wit: (describe property damaged).
A-21.Investigation has disclosed that on or about (date) at (location) you knowingly (received, bought, or concealed) stolen property.
A-22.Investigation has disclosed that on or about (date) you failed to go to your appointed place of duty, building (number), (location) at the appointed time.
A-23.Investigation has disclosed that on or about (date) at (location) you communicated a threat to (name), (a fellow airman, a civilian, etc.) by(saying… or words to that effect, communicating to him/her your intention to injure his/her property, etc.).
A-24.Investigation has disclosed that on or about (date) at (location) you wrongfully appropriated (military, personal) property for (your own use, the unauthorized use of another person, etc.).
The language in the paragraphs contained in Appendix B has not been tailored to specifically fit any particular rank or grade of wrongdoer. Following offense-specific language (B-1 through B-24) is general language peculiarly applicable to officers and noncommissioned officers. By using this general language, any attachment and paragraph can be easily modified to fit an individual of any rank.
B-1. In the Air Force, not having your hair properly cut is a crime. You could be court-martialed for your deliberate flaunting of Air Force Instruction 36-2903.You may not consider haircut regulations important, but I assure you that I do. If I cannot depend upon you to follow AFI 36-2903. I cannot depend upon you to follow other orders. Henceforth, I expect you to be a model of AFI36-2903 standards. A repetition of this or any other violation will be dealt with more severely. (Modify for other AFI 36-2903 violations.)
B-2. I want you to know that your conduct was criminal. Many people have received Article 15 and have been court-martialed for the crime of assault. Every person has the right to be secure in their person from fear of bodily harm at the hands of another. Regardless of how you feel, I will not tolerate you resorting to assault to solve your problems. The Air Force and this unit cannot tolerate the adverse consequences of your behavior, and you cannot afford the sanctions that a repeat performance will cause. Henceforth, I expect you to be an exemplary model for your subordinates and your peers.
B-3. I want you to realize that issuing a worthless check is a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Your misconduct could have resulted in an Article 15 or court-martial action. You have adversely affected your fellow airmen by blemishing the fine image which they project. I fully expect you to never resort to such behavior again; if you do, expect stronger, quicker action to be taken against you.
B-4. I want you to realize that conspiring with others to commit a crime is, itself, a crime. As a member of the military, you are expected to always abstain from criminal conduct. Your action has brought discredit upon this unit and yourself. Consider yourself fortunate because Article 15 and even court-martial action is warranted by your conduct. I expect you to redeem yourself by hard work and a clean record, and I admonish you to never again conduct yourself in such an unpardonable manner.
B-5. Your presence at the scene while these crimes were being committed identifies you as a person who condones criminal activity. You should be aware that your mere presence might, in certain situations, result in your being prosecuted for offenses committed by others. You have a duty to yourself to avoid criminals, and you have a duty to the Air Force to report any crime that you observe to responsible officials. I trust that this warning will point out to you the serious implications of your conduct and that you will avoid anyone involved in any criminal activity.
B-6. By failing to pay your just debts, you have brought discredit upon yourself and the United States Air Force. As an Air Force member, you are expected and required to manage your financial affairs in a way which insures that your creditors receive what is rightly owed them. Your conduct has tarnished the high regard most businessmen have for Air Force servicemen and women. I hope that you have seen the error of your ways, and I expect you to become a model airman. I will not be as lenient on you if you discredit yourself again.
B-7. If any tasks worth doing, it is worth doing well; as a minimum, it is worth doing satisfactorily. By definition, your dereliction fell below minimum standards and was the result of conscious behavior. In addition to being despicable, itis a crime. Henceforth, I expect you to take more pride in your job and in helping this unit accomplish its mission. Rest assured that I will be watching you closely, and in the event you degrade this unit’s mission again by your dereliction, I will take swift and sure action against you.
B-8. I want you to know that I consider disobeying a lawful order to be one of the most serious offenses an Air Force member can commit. Strict adherence to orders is the only way that any military force anywhere in the world can ever execute its mission, whether that mission be offensive or defensive. Your unit is not different; you have damaged its mission capability by identifying yourself as one who cannot be depended upon to perform as ordered. You are going to have to strive diligently if you ever hope to reestablish your dependability. A repetition of this totally unacceptable behavior will result in stronger action against you.
B-9. You are hereby reprimanded for the conduct adverted to above. Military law, custom and tradition require a high standard of conduct of all airmen, particularly noncommissioned officers. This standard of conduct relates not only to performance of military duties, but the discharge of your civic responsibilities and your relations with the civilian community. Accordingly, I find your unmitigated lack of concern for leaving the ____________________ bar when requested to do so to be lamentable. Further, your initial refusal to pay Mr. X, the bartender, your bar bill, knowing it was due and owing, cannot be condoned. The investigation indicated that prior misunderstandings between you and the bartender may have been the motivating factor. However, you must appreciate that this cannot extenuate the seriousness involved in creating a public disturbance. The seriousness of this matter, together with the lamentable lack of responsibility, and poor judgment displayed by you on this occasion, compels me to caution you that recurrence thereof can only jeopardize your career. I expect that you will heed these remarks and act accordingly in the future.
B-10. I will not tolerate disrespect from anyone in this organization toward any of their superiors. Your disrespect has been detrimental to unit morale and the discipline of this organization. I fully expect you to never repeat such conduct. If you do, expect more serious consequences.
B-11. Reckless driving is a dangerous, criminal act. You have abused the trust reposed in you by your reckless driving. You have also jeopardized the safety of Air Force people and Air Force property. I will not tolerate any further misbehavior of any type from you. if you wish to continue driving on base you had better exemplify behavior characteristic of model drivers.
B-12. Driving while drunk. It is a dangerously stupid act. The Air Force cannot afford to lose people, its most valuable resource, because you choose to drink and drive. Although you caused no injuries, your behavior had injurious potential. I absolutely will not tolerate this deplorable behavior. If you ever drink and drive again, I will take the harshest action allowable against you.
B-13. Wrongful (possession, use, or transfer) of drugs is not only stupid behavior, it is criminal behavior. Many airmen have received Article 15s and have been court-martialed for (possession, use, or transfer) of drugs. I hope that you do not fall victim to thinking that the lenient manner in which I am handling your offense gives you a license to continue such criminal behavior or indicates that I condone (drug possession or use, or the transfer of drugs). I am, in fact, appalled by your conduct, conduct which has discredited yourself and blemished-the image of all airmen. If you do not take this opportunity to prove your potential or if you involve yourself in any further misconduct, I will take much stronger action.
B-14. Making racial, sexist, or ethnic remarks, including telling racial, sexist, or ethnic jokes, is totally unacceptable. Your conduct has created tension and hostility within this unit and has had a detrimental effect upon morale. I will not tolerate this type of conduct. I fully expect you to heed this warning to refrain from this and all other misbehavior. If you do not, expect the harshest of consequences.
B-15. Permitting racial, sexist, ethnic jokes or comments to be made in your work area is totally unacceptable. As a supervisor in the Air Force, you have the responsibility to always remain impartial and support equal opportunity for all persons. If you cannot remain impartial, you are not fit to supervise. Your action has been detrimental to this unit’s mission. This, too, causes me to question your supervisory capabilities. I admonish you to never again resort to this or any other type of misconduct, and I expect you to prove that you are fully capable of shouldering and bearing the supervisory responsibilities I have entrusted to you.
B-16. In the Air Force, making a false official statement is a criminal act. You can consider yourself fortunate because many airmen have been court-martialed for such deplorable conduct. I cannot and will not tolerate this type of behavior in this unit. Untruths and half-truths degrade the mission of the Air Force. Admission which can only be accomplished by trustworthy and truthful people. Having identified yourself as requiring close supervision, you can expect to have your future actions closely scrutinized. Rest assured that I will react strongly to any future misbehavior on your part.
B-17. I absolutely will not tolerate on-duty intoxication from any person in this organization. You are paid and fully expected to be able to do your job every day. Because of your intoxication, you failed to do your job, jeopardized unit safety, and seriously damaged the morale in this unit. I never expect you to repeat such deplorable conduct, or misbehave in any other way. If you do, I will take stronger action against you.
B-18. By leaving your place of duty without authority, you committed a crime. By your conduct, you proved that you are not trustworthy. Further, you injured this unit’s mission capabilities. I will not tolerate any further conduct of this kind. Also, I will be closely monitoring your performance to see if you are up to the task of redeeming yourself.
B-19. I want you to understand that damaging military property is a crime. The damage you caused has resulted in needless expenses for repair, waste of manpower, and degradation of mission capabilities. Remember that you are in the Air Force to enhance mission capabilities, not to detract from them. Consider this statement forewarning that your future conduct will be more closely scrutinized and know that any more misbehavior will result in my taking stronger action against you.
B-20. By damaging the personal property of another, you committed a crime. Consider yourself fortunate that you are only being reprimanded, but note that any recurrence will result in harsher sanctions. Each person has the right to believe other people will respect his/her property. But you have shown that any such beliefs in you are ill-founded. You and you alone have the opportunity to restore the faith of others in you. I believe that this should be your goal, but even if this is not important to you, you had better heed this admonition and refrain from further misbehavior.
B-21. Knowingly (receiving, buying, or concealing) stolen property is a crime. By engaging in such conduct, you aided a thief in covering his steps and profiting from his criminal conduct. You also brought disrespect upon yourself and the United States Air Force. I will not tolerate further misconduct by you of any type.
B-22. In the Air Force, failure to repair is a crime. I assure you that many airmen have been given Article 15 and court-martialed for similar misconduct. This unit, this wing, and indeed, the entire Air Force cannot function when members become undependable. You have proven that you cannot always be depended on, and consequently, you have damaged this unit’s mission capabilities. I expect you to work diligently at redeeming yourself and proving that you are dependable.
B-23. By communicating a threat to (Name), you committed a crime. The Congress of the United States and I share the common belief that no one should have to be subjected to your threats. I expect you to handle differences you have with any person in a more mature and legal fashion. Do not be deceived by the lenient manner in which I have treated you into thinking that you have a license to misbehave. I will take harsher action for any further misconduct.
B-24.Wrongfully appropriating (military, your fellow airman’s, or (Name)) property is a crime. I will not tolerate theft by anyone in this organization. By your conduct, you created animosity within this unit and damaged this unit’s mission capabilities. Additionally, your misconduct has brought discredit upon yourself. I never expect you to repeat such unpardonable behavior. Should you decide not to heed this warning, harsher punishment will be forthcoming?
GENERAL LANGUAGE (NCOs)
“All NCOs must maintain exemplary standards of behavior, including personal conduct, courtesy, loyalty, and personal appearances.”
“All NCOs must accept and execute duties, instructions, responsibilities, and orders on a timely basis, with a minimum of supervision.”
‘NCOs, by virtue of their grade and the authority vested in that grade, carry out the orders of their superiors. This is done by effectively employing the people, materials, equipment, and other resources under their control.”
“NCOs represent the Air Force NCO corps to all with whom they come in contact. Personal integrity, loyalty, dedication, and devotion to duty must remain above reproach at all times.”
“As an Air Force leader, the NCO must uphold Air Force policies and traditions.”
GENERAL LANGUAGE (OFFICERS)
“An individual does not have an inherent right to continued service as an officer. It is a privilege which may be terminated when such action is determined to be in the best interest of the Air Force.”
“By virtue of an appointment, an officer enjoys a position of trust and assumes a continuing responsibility for leadership and for conducting himself or herself in an exemplary manner at all times.”
“The Air Force has no place for officers who show themselves unworthy of officer status by failing to meet and maintain our high standards of professional and personal conduct.”
“An officer will be discharged if by his or her conduct, the officer raises serious doubts regarding their fitness for retention.”
“The responsibilities of the officer include the effective performance of…”
APPENDIX C – AFI 36-2907, Chapter 4
ADMINISTRATIVE COUNSELINGS, ADMONITIONS, AND REPRIMANDS
(Refer to the actual publication here: http://static.e-publishing.af.mil/production/1/af_a1/publication/afi36-2907/afi36-2907.pdf)