AR 15-6 Investigations – Command Directed Investigations

AR 15-6 Investigations are command-directed investigations initiated in response to allegations of Soldier misconduct, poor leadership, command climate issues, or when the commander seeks resolution to an unresolved question or issue that may require command actions. These administrative investigations are conducted in accordance with Army Regulation AR 15-6 and are typically carried out by a single Investigating Officer (IO) who holds a higher rank than the subject under investigation. This webpage serves as a comprehensive guide to understanding the process of an AR 15-6 Investigation. It outlines the procedural requirements and rights afforded to the subject throughout the investigation. Additionally, it offers valuable recommendations on how to effectively respond to such an investigation. If you find yourself as the subject of an AR 15-6 Investigation, we strongly advise you to contact one of the military lawyers at the Law Office of Will M. Helixon. They will provide you with an immediate and complimentary consultation, ensuring that you fully comprehend your rights and responsibilities concerning the investigation.

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What are Army Regulation (AR 15-6 Investigations) or Command Directed Investigations?

An AR 15-6 Investigation is a fact-finding inquiry into questions posed by an appointing authority.  These questions usually involve issues of alleged Soldier misconduct, leadership style, toxic leadership, and command climate.  The typical areas of misconduct involve adultery, inappropriate relationships, fraternization, cruelty and maltreatment of subordinates, sexual harassment, violation of orders and regulations, misuse of government resources, hazing, and other military related misconduct.  Criminal offenses are typically not the question for AR 15-6 Investigations, such as sexual misconduct offenses, assault type offense, larceny and fraud offenses, and other crimes against persons and property.  They are typically investigated by law enforcement such as MPs, MPI, CID, or other MCIOs (Military Criminal Investigation Organizations).  There are certain regulatory AR 15-6 Investigations such as loss of aircraft, loss of property over $2,000,000, illness likely to result in death or disability, combat causalities, and friendly fire incidents, that must be appointed by the GCMCA.

What is the Standard or Burden of Proof in an AR 15-6 Investigation of Command Directed Investigation?

The standard of proof, or burden of proof, in an AR 15-6 Investigation is based on the principle of proving allegations “by the preponderance of the evidence.” This standard is commonly employed in civil lawsuits to determine the prevailing side and is also referred to as the “balance of probabilities” standard. It can be understood as a “more likely than not” standard or proof beyond a 50.1% threshold.

In the context of an AR 15-6 Investigation, the government, represented by the Investigating Officer and Approving Authority, carries the burden of proving adverse findings or misconduct through a preponderance of the evidence. This means they must present sufficient evidence to establish that, based on the information available, the investigated allegations are more likely to be true than not. The government’s objective is to demonstrate that their account of events is more probable than the subject Soldier’s version. It’s important to note that the preponderance of the evidence standard is less stringent than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard used in criminal trials and courts-martial. This distinction arises from the fact that the consequences of losing a civil case are typically less severe compared to criminal cases or courts-martial.

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What is the Purpose of AR 15-6 Investigations and Command Directed Investigation?

An AR 15-6 Investigation serves as a crucial process for gathering evidence, determining facts, and providing recommendations to the approval authority. Whether it’s a preliminary inquiry, collateral investigation, administrative investigation, or board of officers, the primary objective remains the same. The Investigating Officer’s responsibility is to thoroughly and impartially examine all relevant evidence, adhere to the appointing authority’s instructions, and issue findings and recommendations that are supported by the evidence.

In addition to addressing specific questions outlined in the appointment memorandum, the Investigating Officer should also consider broader issues such as policies, procedures, doctrine, training, resourcing, and leadership. These aspects are deemed relevant whenever the Investigating Officer determines their impact on the matters or conduct under investigation (refer to paragraph 3–9, AR 15-6).

During an AR 15-6 Investigation, the Investigating Officer plays a vital role in gathering facts, preserving evidence, making well-founded findings, and delivering impartial recommendations to the approval authority. The investigation encompasses various types, including preliminary inquiries, collateral investigations, administrative investigations, and boards of officers. Adhering to the instructions provided by the appointing authority, the Investigating Officer’s duty is to thoroughly analyze evidence from all perspectives. Findings and recommendations should align with the evidence and address not only specific inquiries but also broader issues such as policies, procedures, doctrine, training, resourcing, and leadership, whenever they bear relevance to the investigation. More details on the procedures can be found in paragraph 3–9 of AR 15-6.

Who can Appoint AR 15-6 Investigations to Conduct an Administrative Investigation or Board of Officers?

Authority to Appoint a Board of Officers.

In the context of an AR 15-6 Investigation, several individuals possess the authority to appoint boards of officers to investigate matters falling within their respective areas of responsibility. These individuals include:

  • General Court-Martial Convening Authority (GCMCA) or Special Court-Martial Convening Authority (SPCMCA): This encompasses those who exercise such authority for administrative purposes only.
  • General or Flag Officers: Individuals holding the rank of general or flag officer.
  • Commanders, Deputy Commanders, Special/Personal/Principal Staff Officers: Officers of the rank of colonel or above (with exceptions for lieutenant colonels assigned to authorized colonel slots) at HQDA, installation, activity, or unit levels.
  • State Adjutant General: The adjutant general of a state.
  • Civilian Supervisors: Civilian supervisors permanently assigned to positions graded as General Schedule (GS)-14 or above, serving as heads of agencies, activities, divisions, or directorates.
  • Principal Deputies, Assistant Deputy Chiefs of Staff, Assistant Secretaries of the Army: These individuals are authorized to act as appointing authorities at the HQDA level.

These appointing authorities hold the responsibility to assign boards of officers for conducting investigations as part of the AR 15-6 Investigation process.

Authority to Appoint an Administrative Investigation with an Investigating Officer (IO).

The following individuals may appoint an administrative investigation to inquire into matters within their areas of responsibility: 1) any officer or civilian employee authorized to appoint a board; 2) a commander at any level; and 3) a special, personal, or principal staff officer or supervisor in the grade of major or above.

Authority to Appoint Serious Incident Investigation.

When it comes to AR 15-6 Investigations, specific criteria determine the authorities responsible for appointing administrative investigations or boards of officers, particularly for Class A accidents. In cases where an incident results in property damage of $2 million or more, or the loss/destruction of an Army or unmanned aircraft system with a replacement/repair cost exceeding $2 million, only a General Court-Martial Convening Authority (GCMCA) or a general/flag officer assigned to a command billet with a servicing SJA typically holds the authority to make such appointments.

For Class A training accidents that lead to the permanent total disability or death of one or more individuals, or combat-related deaths involving non-DOD personnel or an insider (green on blue) attack, the administrative investigation or board of officers must be appointed by the next superior authority to the GCMCA or authorized general/flag officer.

Regarding friendly fire incidents, as per DODI 6055.07, the combatant commander bears the responsibility of convening an investigation to inquire into such occurrences. Additionally, in situations involving the death(s) of deployed U.S. forces due to suspected hostile fire, the GCMCA or general/flag officer commander can delegate their appointing/approval authority in writing to a Special Court-Martial Convening Authority (SPCMCA) or a subordinate general/flag officer.

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What if there is a Conflict of Interest with an Appointing Authority Appointing an IO for an AR 15-6 Investigation? 

When it comes to AR 15-6 Investigations, the appointing authority must adhere to certain guidelines to ensure objectivity and fairness. An individual who is reasonably likely to become a witness to an inquiry, investigation, or board should not be the appointing authority. Likewise, if an individual possesses an actual or perceived bias towards or against the potential subject of the investigation, or if there is an actual or perceived conflict of interest regarding the investigation’s outcome, they should refrain from appointing an inquiry, investigation, or board.

In such cases, it is the responsibility of the potential appointing authority to forward the matter to the next superior commander or appointing authority. It is the latter’s duty to determine whether further investigation is warranted and, if so, which proceeding—whether an inquiry, administrative investigation, or board—should be employed.

An actual or perceived bias can arise if the subject is part of the potential appointing authority’s principal, special, or personal staff. Similarly, an actual or perceived conflict of interest can arise if the investigation scrutinizes the potential appointing authority’s policies or decisions. By following these procedures, the integrity and impartiality of the AR 15-6 Investigation process can be upheld.

What type of AR 15-6 Investigations can be Appointed?

There are (4) different types of AR 15-6 Investigations the Army: 1) a preliminary inquiry; 2) an administrative investigation; 3) a collateral investigation; or 4) a board of officers.  Each will be described below:

What is a Preliminary Inquiry?

A preliminary inquiry is an informal investigation designed to achieve specific objectives. These include assessing the scale of a problem, interviewing and documenting witness testimonies, and determining the need for a more comprehensive investigation. While a preliminary inquiry may lead to the appointment of an administrative AR 15-6 investigation, it does not require adherence to the procedural requirements of an administrative investigation or board. In some cases, a preliminary inquiry can satisfy the preliminary inquiry requirement, also known as the “commander’s inquiry,” as outlined in RCM 303, MCM. If adverse information emerges during the preliminary inquiry involving officers of the rank O1 and above, a preliminary investigation or board must be appointed.

What is an Administrative Investigation?

An administrative investigation is a more formal process than a preliminary inquiry but less formal than a board of officers. Its purpose is to examine allegations made against subject Soldiers, encompassing aspects such as leadership style, command climate, or alleged misconduct. These investigations are typically conducted by a single Investigating Officer (IO) or an investigation team comprising an IO and one or more assistant Investigating Officers assigned by the appointing authority. The IO retains the authority to make relevant findings or recommendations, including those adverse to individuals, except for officers below the rank of O1 who are not entitled to the rights of a respondent upon adverse information.

What is a Collateral Investigation?

Collateral investigations are performed concurrently with other types of investigations, such as death or safety investigations, and serve specific purposes. Regulations generally outline when a collateral investigation must be conducted, its scope, and which investigation takes priority. Unless specified otherwise in the regulations, collateral investigations adhere to the procedures established for administrative investigations as specified in AR 15-6. The appointing authority has the discretion to determine the priority of investigations unless otherwise provided by regulation.

What is a Board of Officers Investigation? 

A Board of Officers is a formal investigation primarily focused on allegations of misconduct against a respondent Soldier. These boards are commonly used for administrative separation boards and Boards of Inquiry. The appointing authority assembles a three-person board, all of whom outrank the named respondent. The board consists of the “government trial counsel” acting as a recorder and a legal advisor. The respondent is provided with notice regarding the board’s purpose and is guaranteed several rights, including the right to counsel (including civilian counsel at no cost to the government), the right to request the excusal of biased board members, the right to present evidence and witnesses, the right to cross-examine witnesses called by the government, the right to be present at all board hearing phases, and the right to make arguments to the board members. Following the proceedings, board members deliberate in a closed session and render findings based on the evidence presented during the board hearing.Army Regulation 15-6, AR 15-6 Investigations, administrative investigations, collateral investigations, board of officers, preliminary investigations, commander’s inquiry, RCM 303 investigations, investigating officers, command directed investigations, military investigations, appointing authority, approval authority, serious incident investigations, board members, report of investigation

Who can be Appointed an Investigating Officer or Board Member in an AR 15-6 Investigation?

Investigating Officers and Board Members Must be Best Qualified.

In the realm of AR 15-6 Investigations, it is crucial to ensure that Investigating Officers and board members possess the necessary qualifications to carry out their duties effectively. The appointing authority selects these individuals based on their education, training, experience, length of service, and demonstrated sound judgment and temperament. The key qualities expected of Investigating Officers and board members include impartiality, lack of bias, objectivity, and the ability to complete the investigation within a reasonable timeframe.

In situations where the appointing authority determines that suitable individuals with the required experience and expertise are not available within their organization, they have the option to seek assistance from a superior in their chain of command or supervision. They may also coordinate with a counterpart to secure the services of an Investigating Officer or board member who possesses the necessary education, training, experience, and expertise to conduct the investigation or board effectively. This approach ensures that the investigation or board is carried out by competent individuals who can maintain the highest standards of professionalism and fairness throughout the process.

Investigating Officers Usually Must be Commissioned or Warrant Officers, or DA Civilians in the Grade of GS 11 or Above.

In the context of AR 15-6 Investigations, the appointment of Investigating Officers and board members is subject to specific eligibility criteria. Typically, commissioned officers, warrant officers, and Department of the Army civilian employees holding positions graded as GS-11 or above are eligible to serve as Investigating Officers. These individuals possess the necessary qualifications and expertise to carry out the responsibilities effectively.

In exceptional circumstances where military exigencies arise and no commissioned officers, warrant officers, or qualified Department of the Army civilian employees are readily available, non-commissioned officers in the grade of E-7 or above may be appointed as Investigating Officers. This allows for flexibility in the selection process while ensuring that competent personnel are chosen to conduct the investigations.

When it comes to the composition of boards, the voting members may include commissioned officers, warrant officers, non-commissioned officers in the rank of E-7 or above, or Department of the Army civilian employees permanently assigned to a position graded as GS-11 or above (or equivalent). This diverse representation ensures a comprehensive and well-rounded assessment of the matters under investigation, drawing from the expertise and perspectives of different roles within the military structure.

By adhering to these guidelines, AR 15-6 Investigations can be conducted by qualified individuals who possess the necessary skills and knowledge to carry out their responsibilities effectively and maintain the integrity of the investigative process.

Investigating Officers and Board Member Must be Senior in Rank to the Soldier Investigated.

When it comes to AR 15-6 Investigations, it is essential to ensure the appropriate hierarchy and qualifications of the Investigating Officer or voting member of a board. Generally, these individuals should hold a higher rank than the person whose conduct or performance of duty is being investigated, or against whom adverse findings or recommendations may be made. This hierarchical structure helps maintain impartiality and prevent any potential conflicts of interest. However, in rare instances, exceptions to this rule may apply, but they are uncommon.

During the course of an investigation, if it becomes evident that an adverse finding may be made against a person who holds a higher rank than the Investigating Officer, immediate reporting of this discovery to the appointing authority is necessary. The appointing authority can then take appropriate action to address the situation. This reporting requirement ensures transparency and allows for the necessary steps to maintain the integrity of the investigative process.

Additionally, the appointing authority must adhere to specific regulatory requirements concerning the qualifications of Investigating Officers or board members. These requirements may include being military officers, possessing professional certification, or holding an appropriate security clearance. By complying with these regulations, the appointing authority ensures that the individuals entrusted with conducting the investigation or serving on the board possess the necessary qualifications and credentials to carry out their responsibilities effectively.

By upholding these principles, AR 15-6 Investigations can be conducted with integrity, professionalism, and adherence to the regulatory standards that govern them.

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What are the Duties of the IO in an AR 15-6 Investigation or Command Directed Investigation?

Conduct a Thorough and Impartial Investigation.

The Investigating Officer plays a crucial role in an AR 15-6 Investigation, carrying out their duties with thoroughness and impartiality. These responsibilities include conducting a comprehensive and unbiased investigation into the matters outlined in the appointing memorandum. The Investigating Officer is tasked with gathering relevant evidence, conducting interviews with involved parties, and drawing well-founded conclusions based on the evidence presented.

In fulfilling their duties, the Investigating Officer must address the specific matters outlined in the appointment memorandum, ensuring that all relevant questions are answered. They are also responsible for making recommendations based on the evidence and findings derived from the investigation. These findings and recommendations are then documented in a comprehensive Report of Investigation, which serves as an official record of the investigation’s outcomes.

It is essential that all documentary evidence gathered during the investigation is attached to the Report of Investigation as exhibits. This ensures transparency and provides a comprehensive reference for the appointing authority when reviewing the report. The Report of Investigation serves as a crucial document that informs the appointing authority’s review and subsequent actions. In cases where adverse information, such as instances of misconduct by the subject Soldier, is discovered, the Report of Investigation may serve as the basis for follow-on adverse administrative actions.

By diligently fulfilling their duties and documenting the investigation’s findings and recommendations in a thorough Report of Investigation, the Investigating Officer contributes to a fair and well-documented AR 15-6 Investigation process.

The Investigating Officer has Flexibility in Conducting the Administrative Investigation.

In order to fulfill their duties, an Investigating Officer in AR 15-6 Investigations has the flexibility to choose the most efficient and effective methods for gathering information. This allows them to tailor their approach to suit the unique circumstances of each investigation. For instance, an Investigating Officer may opt to divide the witnesses, issues, or evidentiary aspects of the investigation among assistant Investigating Officers, if they have been appointed. Each assistant Investigating Officer can then conduct individual investigations and gather relevant information pertaining to their assigned areas.

It is important to note that no collective meeting should take place until the Investigating Officer has reviewed all the information collected by the assistants. This ensures that the Investigating Officer has a comprehensive understanding of the investigation’s findings before conducting any collective discussions.

Regardless of the chosen method, the Investigating Officer must diligently develop the evidence in a manner that accurately reflects the facts and circumstances surrounding the questions and issues presented in the appointment memorandum. This comprehensive development of evidence is crucial for providing a clear and detailed account of the investigation’s findings.

By allowing flexibility in information gathering methods and emphasizing the importance of evidence development, AR 15-6 Investigations can be conducted with efficiency, effectiveness, and a commitment to uncovering the truth in a thorough and impartial manner.

Multiple Methods to Obtain Witness Statements.

In the process of conducting an AR 15-6 Investigation, the Investigating Officer has the authority to obtain witness statements through various methods, ensuring the most appropriate approach is employed to elicit and document evidence. The Investigating Officer may choose to conduct informal sessions with witnesses, using techniques that are deemed suitable for the situation. In some cases, a tape recorder may be utilized to aid in the accurate preparation of statements, but it is essential to inform the witness before recording begins.

The gathering of information for witness statements can be accomplished through personal interviews, correspondence, telephone inquiries, e-mail exchanges, video conferences using platforms like Zoom or MS Teams, or any other informal means that are appropriate and convenient. Once the necessary information has been gathered and needs to be formalized into a statement, the Investigating Officer can assist the witness in preparing a written statement to ensure its relevance and accuracy. However, it is crucial to ensure that the statement reflects the witness’s own words and perspective.

During this process, it is of utmost importance for the Investigating Officer to avoid coaching the witness or suggesting the presence or absence of specific facts. The Investigating Officer should remain impartial and refrain from influencing the witness’s account. Whenever possible, it is recommended that the witness reads, reviews, makes necessary corrections, and signs the final statement, further enhancing its accuracy and credibility.

By utilizing these procedures, the Investigating Officer can effectively collect witness statements, maintaining the integrity of the investigation while respecting the autonomy and authenticity of each witness’s testimony in AR 15-6 Investigations.

How Should an IO Conduct an AR 15-6 Investigation or Command Directed Investigation?

In the context of AR 15-6 Investigations, it is essential for the Investigating Officer to follow a systematic approach. Upon receiving the appointment memorandum, the Investigating Officer should thoroughly review its contents, including the attached evidence and exhibits. By gaining a comprehensive understanding of the appointment memorandum, the Investigating Officer should then seek a briefing from the legal advisor to discuss the raised issues and formulate an appropriate investigation strategy.

Subsequently, the Investigating Officer should develop an investigative plan, identifying the specific evidence to be collected. This may include relevant regulations, guidelines, policies, command policy letters, DOD Instructions, and other applicable laws pertaining to the matters addressed in the administrative investigation. Moreover, the Investigating Officer must identify potential witnesses, schedule interviews, and devise an interview plan encompassing relevant questions or areas of inquiry.

During the interview process, witnesses with direct knowledge of pertinent facts should be prioritized, and their testimony should be used to corroborate or refute information provided by previously interviewed witnesses (without disclosing specific details). The Investigating Officer should inquire whether the witnesses possess any documentary evidence that supports their testimonies and if there are additional witnesses with potentially relevant information who should be interviewed. To maintain the integrity of the investigation, witnesses should be instructed not to discuss their testimonies with one another.

Once all relevant witnesses have been interviewed, their testimonies should be documented in writing alongside the gathered documentary evidence. The Investigating Officer should then draft the Report of Investigation, which involves formulating findings based on the collected evidence and subsequently providing recommendations based on those findings. Before submitting the final Report of Investigation to the appointing authority for approval and final action, it is advisable to seek a final review from the legal advisor to ensure its completeness and accuracy.

By adhering to this structured approach, the Investigating Officer can effectively conduct AR 15-6 Investigations, ensuring thoroughness, fairness, and compliance with regulatory requirements.

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What should the IO Consider when Drafting Findings Based on the Administrative Investigation or Command Directed Investigation?

When conducting AR 15-6 Investigations, it is crucial for the Investigating Officer to provide clear and concise findings based on the evidence in the record. Findings should either be directly established by the evidence or be a well-supported conclusion drawn from the evidence. It is important to note that negative findings, which indicate the absence of a particular fact, can also be appropriate if supported by the evidence.

The number and nature of findings required will vary depending on the purpose of the investigation and the instructions given by the appointing authority. The Investigating Officer should adhere to the scope of the investigation authorized by the appointing authority unless granted approval to exceed it. However, the Investigating Officer should address any issues encountered during the investigation that are related to policies, procedures, resources, or leadership if they are deemed relevant to the matters under investigation.

In certain cases, the Investigating Officer may find it appropriate to recommend additional inquiries into issues that fall outside the defined scope of the investigation. This may be necessary to ensure a comprehensive examination of all pertinent aspects related to the matters under investigation.

By carefully considering the evidence, adhering to the authorized scope, and providing well-supported findings, the Investigating Officer can effectively fulfill their role in AR 15-6 Investigations, contributing to a thorough and accurate assessment of the issues at hand.

What Should the IO Consider when Drafting Proposed Recommendations Based on the Findings in the ROI?

When conducting AR 15-6 Investigations, the recommendations provided by the Investigating Officer play a crucial role and should be carefully considered. The nature and extent of these recommendations will vary depending on the purpose of the investigation and the specific instructions given by the appointing authority.

It is important that each recommendation, including negative ones suggesting no further action, aligns logically with and is based on the findings established. Investigating Officers should make their recommendations in accordance with the rules, regulations, policies, and customs of the service while maintaining fairness to both the Government and the individuals involved.

Furthermore, recommendations should be clearly written and meet certain criteria to be effective. Feasibility is an essential factor, meaning that the recommendation should be capable of being implemented. Additionally, the recommendation must be executable, adhering to legal requirements and acceptable levels of risk. Suitability is another key aspect, ensuring that the recommendation addresses the identified problem or initiates a process to further assess and identify a solution.

Recommendations that do not meet these criteria may result in negative recommendations or be disregarded entirely. In some cases, they may be referred through appropriate channels to another organization for further consideration.

By carefully formulating recommendations that are consistent, feasible, executable, and suitable, the Investigating Officer can contribute to the effectiveness and integrity of the AR 15-6 Investigation process.

What is the Role of the Legal Advisors in an AR 15-6 Investigation or Command Directed Investigation?

During the Conducting of the Investigation.

In every AR 15-6 Investigation, it is essential to appoint a designated legal advisor who plays a vital role in ensuring the integrity and adherence to legal requirements. The appointment of a legal advisor should be done in consultation with the servicing SJA or legal advisor, and it is advisable to include this designation in the appointment memorandum.

The presence of a legal advisor serves several important purposes throughout the investigation process. Firstly, the legal advisor provides valuable advice and guidance to the Investigating Officer, addressing any questions or concerns that may arise. They collaborate with the Investigating Officer in developing an effective investigative plan, which includes identifying necessary witnesses and formulating appropriate questions.

Moreover, the legal advisor has a crucial responsibility in safeguarding the rights of the subjects involved in the investigation. They ensure that all the requirements outlined in the appointment memorandum are fulfilled and that the evidence collected supports the findings made during the investigation. Additionally, the legal advisor plays a key role in ensuring that the recommendations provided by the Investigating Officer are logically connected to the established findings.

By working closely with the Investigating Officer, the legal advisor helps to maintain compliance with legal standards, fairness, and the overall integrity of the AR 15-6 Investigation process. Their expertise and guidance contribute to a thorough, unbiased, and legally sound investigation.

Legal Review Upon the Conclusion of the Investigation.

In AR 15-6 Investigations, it is crucial for the approval authority to seek a comprehensive legal review from their servicing SJA or legal advisor. The legal review should only take place after the investigating officer’s legal advisor has thoroughly reviewed the Report of Investigation. Its purpose is to ensure that the investigation addresses all relevant questions, considers future applications of the findings, resolves any internal inconsistencies, and provides appropriate and feasible recommendations.

During the legal review, the designated legal advisor will assess several key aspects. Firstly, they will determine whether the investigation complied with all legal requirements, including those specified in the appointing memorandum. They will also identify any errors that may have occurred and evaluate their significance, assessing their impact on the proceedings. If necessary, the legal advisor will recommend actions to rectify these errors.

Moreover, the legal advisor will scrutinize the findings of the investigation, or any substituted or added findings by the approval authority, ensuring they are supported by a preponderance of evidence and not contrary to the available facts. Additionally, the legal review will assess the consistency of the recommendations with the established findings.

Furthermore, the legal review may identify the need for additional relevant findings based on the evidence or recommend further investigation to address additional concerns that may arise. This review will be conducted in writing and included as part of the investigative report, clearly marked as attorney work product and/or client advice, benefiting from legal privilege and exempt from release under FOIA.

Whenever possible, it is preferable to assign a legal advisor separate from the one supporting the investigation to conduct the legal review, ensuring an objective and unbiased evaluation. This process contributes to the overall integrity and legal compliance of the AR 15-6 Investigation.

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What are the Rights of a Soldier who is the Subject of an AR 15-6 Investigation or Command Directed Investigation During the Investigation?

In AR 15-6 Investigations, it is important to understand the rights and limitations of Soldiers who are the subjects of an administrative investigation. While they are not entitled to military-appointed counsel, they do have the right to retain a civilian lawyer at their own expense. If the Soldier is suspected of violating the UCMJ, they have the right to refuse to answer questions and the right to have an attorney present during questioning.

It is essential to note that military attorneys do not establish an attorney-client relationship with the Soldier for the investigation. Instead, they advise the Soldier of their rights as a suspect. Military attorneys do not collaborate with the Investigating Officer or assist the soldier in formulating answers to written questions. They also do not attend in-person interviews with the Investigating Officer.

During the investigation, the Soldier under investigation is not entitled to know the identities of other witnesses being interviewed or the evidence that has been collected. Their rights are primarily focused on providing a statement and submitting evidence to the Investigating Officer.

It is crucial to ensure that Soldiers are aware of their limited rights and the specific parameters of their involvement in an AR 15-6 administrative investigation.

Why Should I Hire the Law Office of Will M. Helixon for Assistance DURING the AR 15-6 Investigation?

Extensive Background Advising Commanders, Investigating Officers, and Reviewing Reports of Investigations.

At the Law Office of Will M. Helixon, our team of military lawyers brings over 45 years of combined military experience, providing expert guidance to both appointing authorities and Investigating Officers conducting AR 15-6 Investigations. With extensive knowledge gained from reviewing numerous Report of Investigations for legal sufficiency during their tenure in the U.S. Army, our military lawyers possess a deep understanding of the intricacies involved.

Will M. Helixon, in particular, has firsthand experience serving as an Investigating Officer in multiple cases involving alleged Soldier misconduct, making him intimately familiar with the investigation process from both a legal advisor and investigator perspective. Throughout their careers, the military lawyers at the Law Office of Will M. Helixon have provided valuable counsel to commanders on potential administrative, nonjudicial, and judicial actions resulting from adverse findings in AR 15-6 Investigations.

Furthermore, both John Caulwell and Will M. Helixon have actively assisted clients during ongoing AR 15-6 Investigations, offering guidance on whether to provide a statement and the preferred format (written, audiotape, or videotape). They have acted as liaisons between their clients and the Investigating Officer, reviewed documentary and physical evidence to be submitted, and facilitated constructive and open discussions with the Investigating Officer to ensure a positive and effective investigation process.

By choosing the Law Office of Will M. Helixon, you benefit from the expertise of military lawyers with extensive experience in AR 15-6 Investigations. Our team is dedicated to guiding you through every step of the process, providing comprehensive support and strategic advice to achieve the best possible outcome.

Cooperation and Collaboration on Providing a Subject Statement with the Investigating Officer is Usually the Best Course of Action.

In the realm of AR 15-6 Investigations, our collective experience has consistently shown that a meticulously crafted written statement or an interview accompanied by counsel can significantly benefit clients seeking to avoid adverse findings. This approach empowers the subject Soldier to directly challenge the allegations and present a compelling counter-narrative. Moreover, we have witnessed the most favorable outcomes when clients wholeheartedly cooperate with the AR 15-6 Investigation and foster an open and constructive dialogue with the Investigating Officer.

Nonetheless, it is crucial for subject Soldiers under investigation to proactively engage the services of seasoned and dedicated military lawyers who can offer candid and context-specific guidance. Seeking such expertise is imperative before consenting to an interview with an Investigating Officer. Our team of experienced military lawyers possesses the necessary knowledge and insight to provide precise, fact-based advice tailored to the unique circumstances of each case. By partnering with us, you can navigate the intricate landscape of AR 15-6 Investigations with confidence, knowing that you have a trusted ally dedicated to safeguarding your interests.

Avoid Unintentional Exposure to Additional Adverse Findings and Unintended Admissions.

When it comes to AR 15-6 Investigations, it is crucial for subjects to recognize the potential risks they face without legal counsel. Providing what may seem like an innocuous statement to the Investigating Officer could inadvertently expose them to additional criminal liability and trigger further investigation. It is important to note that military-appointed counsel, such as TDS, do not establish an attorney-client relationship with Soldiers prior to facing adverse actions. Furthermore, they seldom assist soldiers during the pendency of an AR 15-6 Investigation.

For Soldiers who find themselves under investigation, it is highly advisable not to provide a statement to an Investigating Officer without first seeking the guidance of a military lawyer and obtaining representation. This ensures that soldiers are shielded from the inherent risks associated with providing statements to an Investigating Officer. It is essential to understand that even if an Investigating Officer claims that there is no suspicion of UCMJ violations, unadvised incriminating statements can still be used as the basis for non-judicial actions such as GOMORs, NJP, security clearance revocations, administrative separations, and adverse findings within the AR 15-6 Investigation itself.

Soldiers suspected of committing offenses under the UCMJ have the right to have their rights explained to them under Article 31a UCMJ. Before their statement can be used against them at a court-martial, they must execute a Rights Warning Waiver. However, it is crucial not to be deceived into providing a statement by an Investigating Officer claiming the absence of UCMJ suspicions. It is important to remember that unadvised statements can still be utilized for non-judicial actions and adverse findings within the AR 15-6 Investigation process.

To protect their rights and interests throughout the investigation, Soldiers should seek the counsel of a qualified military lawyer who can provide them with comprehensive advice and representation. By doing so, they can navigate the complexities of AR 15-6 Investigations with confidence and minimize the potential negative consequences that may arise.

Speak with a Military Lawyer from the Law Office of Will M. Helixon BEFORE Giving a Statement to the IO.

For comprehensive guidance and expert representation in AR 15-6 Investigations, look no further than the military lawyers at the Law Office of Will M. Helixon. We possess extensive knowledge and years of experience in assisting clients throughout the investigation process. Before making any decisions regarding providing a statement or submitting documentary evidence to an Investigating Officer, it is crucial to consult with us.

At our law office, we understand the importance of safeguarding your rights and interests. We have successfully worked alongside Investigating Officers to secure advance question lists for our clients and have been present during interviews to ensure their rights are protected. Our goal is to equip you with the necessary information to effectively refute misconduct allegations while minimizing the potential negative consequences that may arise from cooperating with the AR 15-6 Investigation.

By choosing the Law Office of Will M. Helixon, you can count on our dedicated team to provide you with personalized and reliable legal support. We are committed to guiding you through the intricacies of the investigation, advocating for your rights, and achieving the best possible outcome. Contact us today to benefit from our depth of knowledge and vast experience in AR 15-6 Investigations.

What Are the Possible Findings in an AR 15-6 Investigation or Command Directed Investigation?

In AR 15-6 Investigations, it is essential to recognize that each case is distinct, and the findings can vary significantly based on the investigation’s scope. The outcomes generally fall into three categories: substantiating the alleged misconduct by a preponderance of the evidence, concluding that the alleged misconduct did not occur, or recommending an expansion of the investigation to explore additional misconduct.

The findings of an AR 15-6 Investigation are dependent on the specific circumstances and evidence presented. By carefully assessing the available information, the Investigating Officer aims to establish a clear understanding of the situation at hand. This comprehensive approach allows for a thorough evaluation of the allegations and ensures that the investigation remains focused on the truth.

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What Rights Does a Soldier Have to Respond or Rebut an AR 15-6 Investigation or Command Directed Investigation?

In AR 15-6 Investigations, it is crucial to understand the rights of subject Soldiers when adverse findings are made. Adverse findings trigger the inclusion of the investigation in the Army Adverse Information Database (AAIP). Subject Soldiers who hold the rank of O1 or above have the right to respond or rebut adverse findings during the investigation process.

The right to respond or rebut exists before the Report of Investigation is forwarded to the approval authority for review, modification, or disapproval. To facilitate their response, the subject of the AR 15-6 Investigation will receive a copy of the investigation report and supporting documents. Furthermore, if the Investigating Officer intends to issue findings of adverse information, the subject must be given the opportunity to provide a statement to address and challenge those findings.

Ensuring a fair and transparent process, these rights enable subject Soldiers to effectively address adverse findings and present their perspective before the final decision is made. By availing themselves of these rights, subject Soldiers can contribute to a comprehensive and balanced assessment of the investigation’s outcomes.

What Information Should be Included in a Response or Rebuttal to Findings of Adverse Information in an AR 15-6 Investigation or Command Directed Investigation?

Analyze the AR 15-6 Investigation and its Findings.

In responding to and rebutting findings of adverse information in an AR 15-6 Investigation, it is essential for the subject Soldier to approach the process systematically and meticulously. The first step is to thoroughly analyze the investigation itself. This entails identifying the specific questions and issues that the investigation is designed to address, as outlined in the memorandum appointing the Investigating Officer.

Once the scope of the investigation is established, the subject Soldier should carefully review the actual findings and examine the supporting evidence for each finding. It is advisable to compile a comprehensive list of all the evidence that bolsters each finding. In particular, if the evidence consists of witness statements, a critical assessment should be made regarding their completeness, any contradictory statements, contextual factors, and internal inconsistencies.

Furthermore, it is crucial to generate a list of additional questions that may need to be posed to the witnesses. This step should be performed for each statement that supports the adverse findings. By following this methodical approach, the subject Soldier can effectively identify strengths, weaknesses, and potential areas of challenge within the investigation’s findings, enabling them to prepare a robust response and rebuttal.

Engaging in this detailed analysis and preparation process empowers the subject Soldier to present a thorough and well-supported argument countering the adverse findings in the AR 15-6 Investigation.

List Additional Evidence and Witnesses that Should have been Examined.

Following a comprehensive analysis of the evidence supporting the adverse findings in the AR 15-6 Investigation, it is essential for the subject Soldier to compile a well-structured list of witnesses and evidence that would counteract these findings. This process requires the subject Soldier to approach the task with objectivity, carefully considering the additional evidence that should be examined to challenge the adverse findings effectively.

To ensure a robust response and rebuttal, it is highly recommended that the subject Soldier shares both the analysis of evidence supporting the adverse findings and the list of additional evidence with a knowledgeable military lawyer. By collaborating with a military lawyer, the subject Soldier can benefit from their expertise in recreating the investigation, identifying the strengths and weaknesses within the case, and conducting a thorough legal review. The military lawyer will assess whether there are legal arguments that can be presented in the response and rebuttal, further enhancing the subject Soldier’s position.

In addition to addressing the primary findings of adverse information, there are several other crucial matters that a competent military lawyer should consider including in the response and rebuttal to the adverse findings of the AR 15-6 Investigation. These may encompass, but are not limited to:

Direct Responses to the Finding of Adverse Information.

To effectively respond to adverse findings in an AR 15-6 Investigation, it is crucial to provide a clear and concise label for each specific piece of adverse information that forms the basis of the finding. This ensures that there is a comprehensive understanding of the allegations or unfavorable evidence against the subject Soldier.

To construct a robust response, it is imperative to meticulously counter the specific allegations outlined in the findings and present compelling contrary evidence. Each adverse finding should be addressed individually, allowing for a focused and thorough examination of the evidence and arguments associated with each one.

By addressing each adverse finding individually and offering a comprehensive rebuttal, the subject Soldier can present a well-structured and persuasive response that effectively challenges the basis of the adverse information. This approach strengthens the overall response and helps to mitigate the impact of the adverse findings in the AR 15-6 Investigation.

Evaluate the Accuracy and Context of the Adverse Findings.

To effectively respond to adverse information in an AR 15-6 Investigation, it is crucial to thoroughly assess the veracity and circumstances surrounding the adverse findings. Carefully examine the reasoning behind the conclusions and identify any flaws, misunderstandings, illogical analysis, internal conflicts, or irregularities that may be present.

To successfully rebut the adverse findings, provide detailed evidence that refutes and challenges the flawed aspects of the investigation. Present a well-supported and reasonable point of view that offers a broader context for understanding the adverse conclusions. It is important to demonstrate the improbability of the adverse findings by considering the entirety of the evidence presented in the AR 15-6 Investigation.

By critically analyzing the adverse information and offering compelling evidence to counter it, you can strengthen your response and demonstrate the flaws in the adverse findings. This approach allows you to present a comprehensive and persuasive argument that challenges the validity of the adverse information in the context of the overall investigation.

Create Rebuttal Arguments to the AR 15-6 Investigation.

To develop a strong rebuttal in response to adverse findings, it is essential to approach the task with rationality and coherence. Construct a well-structured argument that addresses each individual allegation or finding. Support your rebuttal with concrete facts, evidence, and objective data that undermine the adverse information.

Include any relevant documentation that can disprove the adverse findings, such as performance evaluations, commendations, testimonials, and witness statements. These supporting materials serve to contradict the adverse information and strengthen your rebuttal.

If the Investigating Officer based their findings on an incomplete investigation, it is important to request an enlargement of the investigation to include the evidence that was not considered in the adverse findings. By highlighting the missing evidence, you can shed new light on the situation and challenge the validity of the adverse findings.

In cases where the subject Soldier has not yet addressed the primary misconduct or allegations that form the basis of the adverse findings, consider providing a statement specifically addressing those allegations. This statement should directly rebut the Investigating Officer’s findings by presenting examples that contradict the findings, providing a clear refutation, and presenting additional evidence that reframes the conclusions.

By following these guidelines, you can craft a compelling and well-supported rebuttal that effectively challenges the adverse findings in the AR 15-6 Investigation.

Offer Explanations and Mitigating Factors.

When addressing adverse facts found in the findings of adverse information during an AR 15-6 Investigation, it is crucial to offer reasonable justifications for their existence. If there are alternative perspectives or interpretations that could shed a different light on the evidence presented, make sure to present those differing viewpoints.

Additionally, if there were extenuating circumstances or mitigating factors that played a role in the underlying facts supporting the adverse findings, provide a detailed description of these factors. Emphasize any aspects that significantly impact the fundamental assumptions supporting the adverse findings, as this can help reshape the understanding of the situation.

By providing reasonable justifications, alternative interpretations, and highlighting extenuating circumstances or mitigating factors, you can present a comprehensive and nuanced response that challenges the adverse findings in the AR 15-6 Investigation.

Describe and Document any Extraordinary Circumstances.

When addressing the adverse findings in an AR 15-6 Investigation, it is essential to highlight any exceptional circumstances that may have influenced the conclusions. These circumstances can include personal hardships, health issues, family emergencies, or any other factors that had an impact on the circumstances surrounding the findings.

To strengthen your case, provide relevant supporting documentation, such as medical records or official statements, that verify and substantiate your claims. These documents serve as tangible evidence to support the exceptional circumstances you are presenting.

By effectively presenting the exceptional circumstances and providing supporting documentation, you can demonstrate how these factors influenced the adverse findings, offering a more comprehensive and compelling response in the AR 15-6 Investigation.

Provide Letters of Support and Recommendations.

In an AR 15-6 Investigation, it is crucial to include recommendations and support from individuals who can provide evidence of your character, capabilities, and actions that contradict the adverse findings. Seek endorsements from bosses, peers, subordinates, or other relevant individuals who can speak to your character and behavior.

When gathering recommendations and support, ensure that they specifically address the issues outlined in the adverse findings. Emphasize how your overall character, behaviors, and actions are inconsistent with the conclusions noted in the adverse findings. Highlight instances where your actions align with the highest standards and showcase your positive attributes that directly challenge the adverse findings.

By including well-documented and relevant testimonials, you can effectively demonstrate the implausibility of the adverse findings and present a compelling case that counters the conclusions drawn. These endorsements provide additional perspectives and evidence to challenge the adverse information, bolstering your position in the AR 15-6 Investigation.

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What are the Reporting Requirements for Substantiated Findings of Adverse Information in an AR 15-6 Investigation?

All findings of adverse information resulting from an approved AR 15-6 Investigation hold significant implications for an individual’s future career prospects. Once approved by the authority, these adverse findings are promptly entered into the Army Adverse Information Program (AIPP) database, which serves as a vital resource for promotion and selection boards,

To ensure the integrity and longevity of this information, the AIPP database meticulously maintains adverse findings for a minimum of 10 years for all officers holding the rank of O1 and above. It is the responsibility of the local legal office to diligently catalog substantiated adverse findings into the AAIP database, guaranteeing accurate and accessible records.

Moreover, appointing authorities bear the obligation of retaining copies of the AR 15-6 Investigation for a period of 10 years. This archival practice ensures the availability of crucial documentation pertaining to the investigation and its outcomes.

Understanding the enduring impact of these adverse findings and the meticulous procedures surrounding their documentation underscores the significance of obtaining sound legal guidance and representation throughout the AR 15-6 Investigation process.

Can a Soldier Request Reconsideration of the Findings of Adverse Information in an AR 15-6 Investigation?

Officers possess the important right to seek reconsideration of adverse information findings documented in approved AR 15-6 Investigations. In the event that a subject, suspect, or respondent (including an officer subject to an adverse finding) discovers new evidence, identifies a mistake of law or fact, or identifies an administrative error within one (1) year of the inquiry or investigation’s findings, they may request reconsideration.

It’s important to note that new evidence refers to information that was not previously considered during the initial investigation and was not reasonably available for consideration at that time. However, it’s crucial to understand that character letters or information that the subject Soldier could have provided during the original investigation, but did not, do not qualify as new evidence.

It is essential to recognize that the showing of “new evidence” is subject to a rigorous standard and is unlikely to be granted by the approval authority unless extraordinary circumstances exist. However, with proper legal counsel and a compelling case, officers can navigate the process effectively and potentially secure the reconsideration they seek.

Can a Soldier Appeal the Ultimate Substantiated Findings of Adverse Information in an AR 15-6 Investigation to the Service Component Board of Correction for Military Records (BCMR)?

Indeed, the subject Soldier retains the right to appeal the determinations made by the Investigating Officer and the Approval Authority regarding the findings of the AR 15-6 Investigation. This appeal can be directed to the appropriate service component Board of Correction for Military Records (BCMR). The BCMR holds significant authority to review various aspects, including the filing of adverse information findings in the Army Adverse Information Program (AAIP), the denial of reconsideration for adverse findings in a command-directed investigation (AR 15-6 Investigation), and the questioning of adverse findings derived from the investigation.

Under the provisions of 10 USC 1552, the jurisdiction of the Army BCMR extends to the examination of any military record within the Department of the Army. This broad jurisdiction empowers the BCMR to thoroughly evaluate the subject Soldier’s case, providing an avenue for potential redress and reevaluation of the adverse findings.

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What can the Law Office of Will M. Helixon do to Assist a Subject Soldier Facing Findings of Adverse Information in an AR 15-6 Investigation and Resulting Consequences?

Leveraging our extensive experience in supporting officers in addressing adverse information, the military lawyers at the Law Office of Will M. Helixon are well-equipped to guide subject Soldiers facing findings of adverse information in an AR 15-6 Investigation. Our tailored approach aims to maximize the potential for reversing the adverse findings and preventing their filing in the Army Adverse Information Program (AAIP).

Through a specific strategy, we assist our clients in effectively addressing the adverse information before it reaches the appointing and approving authority for action. This strategy encompasses developing a comprehensive response that highlights the flaws in the original adverse findings and advocating for the inclusion of additional favorable information through an expanded investigation.

At the Law Office of Will M. Helixon, we take pride in reconstructing the investigation and building a strong response to the adverse findings of the AR 15-6 Investigation. Given the time-sensitive nature of responding to adverse information in a command-directed investigation, it is crucial to act swiftly and efficiently. Contacting our military lawyers will enable us to discuss the best course of action for addressing the adverse findings and initiating the development of a high-quality response.

Take the first step today by reaching out to us, and let us work together on crafting a compelling response to the adverse information discovered in the command-directed AR 15-6 Investigation.

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More about the Law Office of Will M. Helixon.

Will M. Helixon established the Law Office of Will M. Helixon in February of 2016.  Originally headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, the firm’s original mission was to defend members of the military in courts-martialadverse administrative proceedings and other criminal proceedings. Today, the firm has worked as military lawyers in multiple complex and high-profile military cases.  The firm now handles most military matters, including medical issues involving the MEB/PEB processadverse administrative matters, military justice matters including Nonjudicial PunishmentAdministrative Separation Boards, and Boards of Inquiry, and legal assistance matters, including rebutting GOMORs and the correction of military records.  The firm also assists officers navigate the minefield of findings of adverse information (AAIP) in AR 15-6 Investigations (command directed investigations), Selection Boards (Promotion Boards), Special Selection Boards, and Special Selection Review Boards (SSRB).  No longer in Kansas City, the firm now has a European office physically located in Vilseck, Germany and in Wiesbaden, Germany.  Call us today to assist with your legal issue in Germany or the United States.  All military lawyers at the Law Office of Will M. Helixon maintain licenses to practice before all military trial courts.

Vilseck:  Law Office of Will M. Helixon – Vilseck – Germany, Hans-Ohorn-Platz 7, First Floor, 92249, Vilseck, Germany.

Wiesbaden:  Law Office of Will M. Helixon – Wiesbaden – Germany, Walking Platz, 65183, Wiesbaden, Germany.

Germany +49 (0) 9662-293-8047

United States (913) 353-6466