10 U.S.C.
United States Code, 2011 Edition
Title 10 - ARMED FORCES
Subtitle A - General Military Law
PART II - PERSONNEL
CHAPTER 79 - CORRECTION OF MILITARY RECORDS
From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov

CHAPTER 79—CORRECTION OF MILITARY RECORDS

Sec.
1551.
Correction of name after separation from service under an assumed name.
1552.
Correction of military records: claims incident thereto.
1553.
Review of discharge or dismissal.
1554.
Review of retirement or separation without pay for physical disability.
1554a.
Review of separation with disability rating of 20 percent disabled or less.
1555.
Professional staff.
1556.
Ex parte communications prohibited.
1557.
Timeliness standards for disposition of applications before Corrections Boards.
1558.
Review of actions of selection boards: correction of military records by special boards; judicial review.
1559.
Personnel limitation.

        

Amendments

2008—Pub. L. 110–181, div. A, title XVI, §1643(a)(2), Jan. 28, 2008, 122 Stat. 467, added item 1554a.

2002—Pub. L. 107–314, div. A, title V, §552(b), Dec. 2, 2002, 116 Stat. 2552, added item 1559.

2001—Pub. L. 107–107, div. A, title V, §503(a)(2), Dec. 28, 2001, 115 Stat. 1083, added item 1558.

1998—Pub. L. 105–261, div. A, title V, §§542(a)(2), 543(a)(2), 544(b), Oct. 17, 1998, 112 Stat. 2020–2022, added items 1555 to 1557.

1962—Pub. L. 87–651, title I, §110(b), Sept. 7, 1962, 76 Stat. 510, substituted “discharge or dismissal” for “discharges or dismissals” in item 1553, and “retirement or separation without pay for physical disability” for “decisions of retiring boards and similar boards” in item 1554.

1958—Pub. L. 85–857, §13(v)(3), Sept. 2, 1958, 72 Stat. 1268, added items 1553 and 1554.

§1551. Correction of name after separation from service under an assumed name

The Secretary of the military department concerned shall issue a certificate of discharge or an order of acceptance of resignation in the true name of any person who was separated from the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps honorably or under honorable conditions after serving under an assumed name during a war with another nation or people, upon application by, or on behalf of, that person, and upon proof of his identity. However, a certificate or order may not be issued under this section if the name was assumed to conceal a crime or to avoid its consequences.

(Aug. 10, 1956, ch. 1041, 70A Stat. 116.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised sectionSource (U.S. Code)Source (Statutes at Large)
1551 5:200.

34:597.

Apr. 14, 1890, ch. 80; restated June 25, 1910, ch. 393, 36 Stat. 824.
  Aug. 22, 1912, ch. 329, 37 Stat. 324.

The word “shall” is substituted for the words “is authorized and required”. The word “separated” is substituted for the word “discharged”, since the revised section covers acceptances of resignations as well as certificates of discharge. The words “enlisted or” and “while minors or otherwise” are omitted as surplusage. The words “the War of the Rebellion” are omitted as obsolete. The word “with” is substituted for the words “between the United States and”. The words “honorably or under honorable conditions” are substituted for the word “honorably”.

Personnel Freeze for Service Review Agencies

Pub. L. 105–261, div. A, title V, §541, Oct. 17, 1998, 112 Stat. 2019, provided that, during fiscal years 1999, 2000, and 2001, the Secretary of a military department could not carry out any reduction in the number of military and civilian personnel assigned to duty with the service review agency for that military department below the baseline number for that agency until: (1) the Secretary had submitted to Congress a report that described the reduction to be made and the rationale for that reduction, and specified the number of such personnel that would be assigned to duty with that agency after the reduction; and (2) a period of 90 days had elapsed after the date on which such report had been submitted.

§1552. Correction of military records: claims incident thereto

(a)(1) The Secretary of a military department may correct any military record of the Secretary's department when the Secretary considers it necessary to correct an error or remove an injustice. Except as provided in paragraph (2), such corrections shall be made by the Secretary acting through boards of civilians of the executive part of that military department. The Secretary of Homeland Security may in the same manner correct any military record of the Coast Guard.

(2) The Secretary concerned is not required to act through a board in the case of the correction of a military record announcing a decision that a person is not eligible to enlist (or reenlist) or is not accepted for enlistment (or reenlistment) or announcing the promotion and appointment of an enlisted member to an initial or higher grade or the decision not to promote an enlisted member to a higher grade. Such a correction may be made only if the correction is favorable to the person concerned.

(3) Corrections under this section shall be made under procedures established by the Secretary concerned. In the case of the Secretary of a military department, those procedures must be approved by the Secretary of Defense.

(4) Except when procured by fraud, a correction under this section is final and conclusive on all officers of the United States.

(b) No correction may be made under subsection (a)(1) unless the claimant or his heir or legal representative files a request for the correction within three years after he discovers the error or injustice. However, a board established under subsection (a)(1) may excuse a failure to file within three years after discovery if it finds it to be in the interest of justice.

(c)(1) The Secretary concerned may pay, from applicable current appropriations, a claim for the loss of pay, allowances, compensation, emoluments, or other pecuniary benefits, or for the repayment of a fine or forfeiture, if, as a result of correcting a record under this section, the amount is found to be due the claimant on account of his or another's service in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard, as the case may be, or on account of his or another's service as a civilian employee.

(2) If the claimant is dead, the money shall be paid, upon demand, to his legal representative. However, if no demand for payment is made by a legal representative, the money shall be paid—

(A) to the surviving spouse, heir, or beneficiaries, in the order prescribed by the law applicable to that kind of payment;

(B) if there is no such law covering order of payment, in the order set forth in section 2771 of this title; or

(C) as otherwise prescribed by the law applicable to that kind of payment.


(3) A claimant's acceptance of a settlement under this section fully satisfies the claim concerned. This section does not authorize the payment of any claim compensated by private law before October 25, 1951.

(4) If the correction of military records under this section involves setting aside a conviction by court-martial, the payment of a claim under this subsection in connection with the correction of the records shall include interest at a rate to be determined by the Secretary concerned, unless the Secretary determines that the payment of interest is inappropriate under the circumstances. If the payment of the claim is to include interest, the interest shall be calculated on an annual basis, and compounded, using the amount of the lost pay, allowances, compensation, emoluments, or other pecuniary benefits involved, and the amount of any fine or forfeiture paid, beginning from the date of the conviction through the date on which the payment is made.

(d) Applicable current appropriations are available to continue the pay, allowances, compensation, emoluments, and other pecuniary benefits of any person who was paid under subsection (c), and who, because of the correction of his military record, is entitled to those benefits, but for not longer than one year after the date when his record is corrected under this section if he is not reenlisted in, or appointed or reappointed to, the grade to which those payments relate. Without regard to qualifications for reenlistment, or appointment or reappointment, the Secretary concerned may reenlist a person in, or appoint or reappoint him to, the grade to which payments under this section relate.

(e) No payment may be made under this section for a benefit to which the claimant might later become entitled under the laws and regulations administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

(f) With respect to records of courts-martial and related administrative records pertaining to court-martial cases tried or reviewed under chapter 47 of this title (or under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (Public Law 506 of the 81st Congress)), action under subsection (a) may extend only to—

(1) correction of a record to reflect actions taken by reviewing authorities under chapter 47 of this title (or under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (Public Law 506 of the 81st Congress)); or

(2) action on the sentence of a court-martial for purposes of clemency.


(g) In this section, the term “military record” means a document or other record that pertains to (1) an individual member or former member of the armed forces, or (2) at the discretion of the Secretary of the military department concerned, any other military matter affecting a member or former member of the armed forces, an employee or former employee of that military department, or a dependent or current or former spouse of any such person. Such term does not include records pertaining to civilian employment matters (such as matters covered by title 5 and chapters 81, 83, 87, 108, 373, 605, 607, 643, and 873 of this title).

(Aug. 10, 1956, ch. 1041, 70A Stat. 116; Pub. L. 86–533, §1(4), June 29, 1960, 74 Stat. 246; Pub. L. 96–513, title V, §511(60), Dec. 12, 1980, 94 Stat. 2925; Pub. L. 98–209, §11(a), Dec. 6, 1983, 97 Stat. 1407; Pub. L. 100–456, div. A, title XII, §1233(a), Sept. 29, 1988, 102 Stat. 2057; Pub. L. 101–189, div. A, title V, §514, title XVI, §1621(a)(2), Nov. 29, 1989, 103 Stat. 1441, 1603; Pub. L. 102–484, div. A, title X, §1052(19), Oct. 23, 1992, 106 Stat. 2500; Pub. L. 105–261, div. A, title V, §545(a), (b), Oct. 17, 1998, 112 Stat. 2022; Pub. L. 107–296, title XVII, §1704(b)(1), Nov. 25, 2002, 116 Stat. 2314; Pub. L. 110–417, [div. A], title V, §592(a), (b), Oct. 14, 2008, 122 Stat. 4474, 4475.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised sectionSource (U.S. Code)Source (Statutes at Large)
1552(a) 5:191a(a) (less 2d and last provisos).

5:275(a) (less 2d and last provisos).

Aug. 2, 1946, ch. 753, §207; restated Oct. 25, 1951, ch. 588, 65 Stat. 655.
1552(b) 5:191a(a) (2d and last provisos).
  5:275(a) (2d and last provisos).
1552(c) 5:191a(b), (c).
  5:275(b), (c).
1552(d) 5:191a(d).
  5:275(d).
1552(e) 5:191a(f).
  5:275(f).
1552(f) 5:191a(e).
  5:275(e).

In subsection (a), the words “and approved by the Secretary of Defense” are substituted for 5:191a(a) (1st proviso). The words “when he considers it” are substituted for the words “where in their judgment such action is”, in 5:191a and 275. The words “officers or employees” and “means of”, in 5:191a and 275, are omitted as surplusage. The word “naval”, in 5:191a and 275, is omitted as covered by the word “military”.

In subsection (b), the words “before October 26, 1961” are substituted for the words “or within ten years after the date of enactment of this section”, in 5:191a and 275. The last sentence of the revised subsection is substituted for 5:191a(a) (last proviso) and 275(a) (last proviso).

In subsection (c), the words “if, as a result of correcting a record under this section * * * the amount is found to be due the claimant on account of his or another's service in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard, as the case may be” are substituted for the words “which are found to be due on account of military or naval service as a result of the action * * * hereafter taken pursuant to subsection (a) of this section”, in 5:191a and 275. The words “heretofore taken pursuant to this section”, in 5:191a and 275, are omitted as executed. The words “of any persons, their heirs at law or legal representative as hereinafter provided”, “(including retired or retirement pay)”, “as the case may be”, “duly appointed”, “otherwise due hereunder”, “decedent's”, “precedence or succession”, and “of precedence”, in 5:191a and 275, are omitted as surplusage. The last sentence is substituted for 5:191a(c) and 275(c).

In subsection (d), the word “but” is substituted for the words “That, continuing payments are authorized to be made to such personnel”, in 5:191a and 275. The words “if he is not reenlisted in, or appointed or reappointed to, the grade to which those payments relate” are substituted for the words “without the necessity for reenlistment, appointment, or reappointment to the grade, rank, or office to which such pay (including retired or retirement pay), allowances, compensation, emoluments, and other monetary benefits are attached”, in 5:191a and 275. The words “or one year following the date of enactment of this section”, in 5:191a and 275, are omitted as executed. The words “for payment of such sums as may be due for”, in 5:191a and 275, are omitted as surplusage. The words “(including retired or retirement pay)”, in 5:191a and 275, are omitted as covered by the definition of “pay” in section 101(27) of this title.

In subsection (e), the words “No payment may be made under this section” are substituted for the words “Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize the payment of any amount as compensation”, in 5:191a and 275.

References in Text

The Uniform Code of Military Justice (Public Law 506 of the 81st Congress), referred to in subsec. (f), is act May 5, 1950, ch. 169, §1, 64 Stat. 107, which was classified to chapter 22 (§551 et seq.) of Title 50, War and National Defense, and was repealed and reenacted as chapter 47 (§801 et seq.) of this title by act Aug. 10, 1956, ch. 1041, §53, 70A Stat. 641, the first section of which enacted this title.

Amendments

2008—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 110–417 designated existing provisions as pars. (1) to (3), redesignated former pars. (1) to (3) as subpars. (A) to (C), respectively, of par. (2), and added par. (4).

2002—Subsec. (a)(1). Pub. L. 107–296 substituted “Secretary of Homeland Security” for “Secretary of Transportation”.

1998—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 105–261, §545(a), inserted “, or on account of his or another's service as a civilian employee” before period at end of first sentence.

Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 105–261, §545(b), added subsec. (g).

1992—Subsec. (a)(2). Pub. L. 102–484 substituted “announcing the promotion and appointment of an enlisted member to an initial or higher grade or the decision not to promote an enlisted member to a higher grade” for “announcing a decision not to promote an enlisted member to a higher grade”.

1989—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 101–189, §514(a), amended subsec. (a) generally. Prior to amendment, subsec. (a) read as follows: “The Secretary of a military department, under procedures established by him and approved by the Secretary of Defense, and acting through boards of civilians of the executive part of that military department, may correct any military record of that department when he considers it necessary to correct an error or remove an injustice. Under procedures prescribed by him, the Secretary of Transportation may in the same manner correct any military record of the Coast Guard. Except when procured by fraud, a correction under this section is final and conclusive on all officers of the United States.”

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 101–189, §514(b), substituted “subsection (a)(1)” for “subsection (a)” in two places.

Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 101–189, §1621(a)(2), substituted “Secretary of Veterans Affairs” for “Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs”.

1988—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 100–456, §1233(a)(1), substituted “for the correction within three years after he discovers the error or injustice” for “therefor before October 26, 1961, or within three years after he discovers the error or injustice, whichever is later”.

Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 100–456, §1233(a)(2), substituted “The Secretary concerned” for “The department concerned”.

1983—Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 98–209 added subsec. (f).

1980—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 96–513 substituted “Secretary of Transportation” for “Secretary of the Treasury”.

1960—Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 86–533 repealed subsec. (f) which required reports to the Congress every six months with respect to claims paid under this section.

Effective Date of 2008 Amendment

Pub. L. 110–417, [div. A], title V, §592(c), Oct. 14, 2008, 122 Stat. 4475, provided that: “The amendment made by subsection (a) [amending this section] shall apply with respect to any sentence of a court-martial set aside by a Corrections Board on or after October 1, 2007, when the Corrections Board includes an order or recommendation for the payment of a claim for the loss of pay, allowances, compensation, emoluments, or other pecuniary benefits, or for the repayment of a fine or forfeiture, that arose as a result of the conviction. In this subsection, the term ‘Corrections Board’ has the meaning given that term in section 1557 of title 10, United States Code.”

Effective Date of 2002 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 107–296 effective on the date of transfer of the Coast Guard to the Department of Homeland Security, see section 1704(g) of Pub. L. 107–296, set out as a note under section 101 of this title.

Effective Date of 1980 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 96–513 effective Dec. 12, 1980, see section 701(b)(3) of Pub. L. 96–513, set out as a note under section 101 of this title.

Board for Correction of Military Records

Pub. L. 101–225, title II, §212, Dec. 12, 1989, 103 Stat. 1914, provided that: “Not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act [Dec. 12, 1989], the Secretary of Transportation shall—

“(1) amend part 52 of title 33, Code of Federal Regulations, governing the proceedings of the board established by the Secretary under section 1552 of title 10, United States Code, to ensure that a complete application for correction of military records is processed expeditiously and that final action on the application is taken within 10 months of its receipt; and

“(2) appoint and maintain a permanent staff, and a panel of civilian officers or employees to serve as members of the board, which are adequate to ensure compliance with paragraph (1) of this subsection.”

§1553. Review of discharge or dismissal

(a) The Secretary concerned shall, after consulting the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, establish a board of review, consisting of five members, to review the discharge or dismissal (other than a discharge or dismissal by sentence of a general court-martial) of any former member of an armed force under the jurisdiction of his department upon its own motion or upon the request of the former member or, if he is dead, his surviving spouse, next of kin, or legal representative. A motion or request for review must be made within 15 years after the date of the discharge or dismissal. With respect to a discharge or dismissal adjudged by a court-martial case tried or reviewed under chapter 47 of this title (or under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (Public Law 506 of the 81st Congress)), action under this subsection may extend only to a change in the discharge or dismissal or issuance of a new discharge for purposes of clemency.

(b) A board established under this section may, subject to review by the Secretary concerned, change a discharge or dismissal, or issue a new discharge, to reflect its findings.

(c) A review by a board established under this section shall be based on the records of the armed forces concerned and such other evidence as may be presented to the board. A witness may present evidence to the board in person or by affidavit. A person who requests a review under this section may appear before the board in person or by counsel or an accredited representative of an organization recognized by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs under chapter 59 of title 38.

(d)(1) In the case of a former member of the armed forces who, while serving on active duty as a member of the armed forces, was deployed in support of a contingency operation and who, at any time after such deployment, was diagnosed by a physician, clinical psychologist, or psychiatrist as experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury as a consequence of that deployment, a board established under this section to review the former member's discharge or dismissal shall include a member who is a physician, clinical psychologist, or psychiatrist.

(2) In the case of a former member described in paragraph (1) or a former member whose application for relief is based in whole or in part on matters relating to post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury as supporting rationale or as justification for priority consideration, the Secretary concerned shall expedite a final decision and shall accord such cases sufficient priority to achieve an expedited resolution. In determining the priority of cases, the Secretary concerned shall weigh the medical and humanitarian circumstances of all cases and accord higher priority to cases not involving post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury only when the individual cases are considered more compelling.

(Added Pub. L. 85–857, §13(v)(2), Sept. 2, 1958, 72 Stat. 1266; amended Pub. L. 87–651, title I, §110(a), Sept. 7, 1962, 76 Stat. 509; Pub. L. 98–209, §11(b), Dec. 6, 1983, 97 Stat. 1407; Pub. L. 101–189, div. A, title XVI, §1621(a)(2), Nov. 29, 1989, 103 Stat. 1603; Pub. L. 111–84, div. A, title V, §512(b), Oct. 28, 2009, 123 Stat. 2281.)

Historical and Revision Notes

Sections 1553 and 1554 are restated, without substantive change, to conform to the style adopted for title 10.

References in Text

The Uniform Code of Military Justice (Public Law 506 of the 81st Congress), referred to in subsec. (a), is act May 5, 1950, ch. 169, §1, 64 Stat. 107, which was classified to chapter 22 (§551 et seq.) of Title 50, War and National Defense, and was repealed and reenacted as chapter 47 (§801 et seq.) of this title by act Aug. 10, 1956, ch. 1041, §53, 70A Stat. 641, the first section of which enacted this title.

Amendments

2009—Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 111–84 added subsec. (d).

1989—Subsecs. (a), (c). Pub. L. 101–189 substituted “Secretary of Veterans Affairs” for “Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs”.

1983—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 98–209 inserted provision that with respect to a discharge or dismissal adjudged by a court-martial case tried or reviewed under chapter 47 of this title (or under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (Public Law 506 of the 81st Congress)), action under this subsection may extend only to a change in the discharge or dismissal or issuance of a new discharge for purposes of clemency.

1962—Pub. L. 87–651 amended section generally without substantive change to conform to the style adopted for the revision of this title.

Effective Date

Section effective Jan. 1, 1959, see section 2 of Pub. L. 85–857, set out as a note preceding Part I of Title 38, Veterans’ Benefits.

§1554. Review of retirement or separation without pay for physical disability

(a) The Secretary concerned shall from time to time establish boards of review, each consisting of five commissioned officers, two of whom shall be selected from officers of the Army Medical Corps, officers of the Navy Medical Corps, Air Force officers designated as medical officers, or officers of the Public Health Service, as the case may be, to review, upon the request of a member or former member of the uniformed services retired or released from active duty without pay for physical disability, the findings and decisions of the retiring board, board of medical survey, or disposition board in the member's case. A request for review must be made within 15 years after the date of the retirement or separation.

(b) A board established under this section has the same powers as the board whose findings and decision are being reviewed. The findings of the board shall be sent to the Secretary concerned, who shall submit them to the President for approval.

(c) A review by a board established under this section shall be based upon the records of the armed forces concerned and such other evidence as may be presented to the board. A witness may present evidence to the board in person or by affidavit. A person who requests a review under this section may appear before the board in person or by counsel or an accredited representative of an organization recognized by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs under chapter 59 of title 38.

(Added Pub. L. 85–857, §13(v)(2), Sept. 2, 1958, 72 Stat. 1267; amended Pub. L. 87–651, title I, §110(a), Sept. 7, 1962, 76 Stat. 510; Pub. L. 101–189, div. A, title XVI, §1621(a)(2), Nov. 29, 1989, 103 Stat. 1603; Pub. L. 111–383, div. A, title V, §533(a), Jan. 7, 2011, 124 Stat. 4216.)

Historical and Revision Notes

Sections 1553 and 1554 are restated, without substantive change, to conform to the style adopted for title 10.

Amendments

2011—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 111–383 substituted “a member or former member of the uniformed services” for “an officer” and “the member's case” for “his case”.

1989—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 101–189 substituted “Secretary of Veterans Affairs” for “Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs”.

1962—Pub. L. 87–651 amended section generally without substantive change to conform to the style adopted for the revision of this title.

Effective Date

Section effective Jan. 1, 1959, see section 2 of Pub. L. 85–857, set out as a note preceding Part I of Title 38, Veterans’ Benefits.

Transfer of Functions

For transfer of functions of Public Health Service, see note set out under section 802 of this title.

§1554a. Review of separation with disability rating of 20 percent disabled or less

(a) In General.—(1) The Secretary of Defense shall establish within the Office of the Secretary of Defense a board of review to review the disability determinations of covered individuals by Physical Evaluation Boards. The board shall be known as the “Physical Disability Board of Review”.

(2) The Physical Disability Board of Review shall consist of not less than three members appointed by the Secretary.

(b) Covered Individuals.—For purposes of this section, covered individuals are members and former members of the armed forces who, during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, and ending on December 31, 2009—

(1) are separated from the armed forces due to unfitness for duty due to a medical condition with a disability rating of 20 percent disabled or less; and

(2) are found to be not eligible for retirement.


(c) Review.—(1) Upon the request of a covered individual, or a surviving spouse, next of kin, or legal representative of a covered individual, the Physical Disability Board of Review shall review the findings and decisions of the Physical Evaluation Board with respect to such covered individual. Subject to paragraph (3), upon its own motion, the Physical Disability Board of Review may review the findings and decisions of the Physical Evaluation Board with respect to a covered individual.

(2) The review by the Physical Disability Board of Review under paragraph (1) shall be based on the records of the armed force concerned and such other evidence as may be presented to the Physical Disability Board of Review. A witness may present evidence to the Board by affidavit or by any other means considered acceptable by the Secretary of Defense.

(3) If the Physical Disability Board of Review proposes to review, upon its own motion, the findings and decisions of the Physical Evaluation Board with respect to a covered individual, the Physical Disability Board of Review shall notify the covered individual, or a surviving spouse, next of kin, or legal representative of the covered individual, of the proposed review and obtain the consent of the covered individual or a surviving spouse, next of kin, or legal representative of the covered individual before proceeding with the review.

(4) With respect to any review by the Physical Disability Board of Review of the findings and decisions of the Physical Evaluation Board with respect to a covered individual, whether initiated at the request of the covered individual or a surviving spouse, next of kin, or legal representative of the covered individual or initiated by the Physical Disability Board of Review, the Physical Disability Board of Review shall notify the covered individual or a surviving spouse, next of kin, or legal representative of the covered individual that, as a result of the request or consent, the covered individual or a surviving spouse, next of kin, or legal representative of the covered individual may not seek relief from the Board for Correction of Military Records operated by the Secretary concerned.

(d) Authorized Recommendations.—The Physical Disability Board of Review may, as a result of its findings under a review under subsection (c), recommend to the Secretary concerned the following (as applicable) with respect to a covered individual:

(1) No recharacterization of the separation of such individual or modification of the disability rating previously assigned such individual.

(2) The recharacterization of the separation of such individual to retirement for disability.

(3) The modification of the disability rating previously assigned such individual by the Physical Evaluation Board concerned, which modified disability rating may not be a reduction of the disability rating previously assigned such individual by that Physical Evaluation Board.

(4) The issuance of a new disability rating for such individual.


(e) Correction of Military Records.—(1) The Secretary concerned may correct the military records of a covered individual in accordance with a recommendation made by the Physical Disability Board of Review under subsection (d). Any such correction may be made effective as of the effective date of the action taken on the report of the Physical Evaluation Board to which such recommendation relates.

(2) In the case of a member previously separated pursuant to the findings and decision of a Physical Evaluation Board together with a lump-sum or other payment of back pay and allowances at separation, the amount of pay or other monetary benefits to which such member would be entitled based on the member's military record as corrected shall be reduced to take into account receipt of such lump-sum or other payment in such manner as the Secretary of Defense considers appropriate.

(3) If the Physical Disability Board of Review makes a recommendation not to correct the military records of a covered individual, the action taken on the report of the Physical Evaluation Board to which such recommendation relates shall be treated as final as of the date of such action.

(f) Regulations.—(1) This section shall be carried out in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense.

(2) The regulations under paragraph (1) shall specify reasonable deadlines for the performance of reviews required by this section.

(3) The regulations under paragraph (1) shall specify the effect of a determination or pending determination of a Physical Evaluation Board on considerations by boards for correction of military records under section 1552 of this title.

(Added Pub. L. 110–181, div. A, title XVI, §1643(a)(1), Jan. 28, 2008, 122 Stat. 465.)

Implementation

Pub. L. 110–181, div. A, title XVI, §1643(b), Jan. 28, 2008, 122 Stat. 467, provided that: “The Secretary of Defense shall establish the board of review required by section 1554a of title 10, United States Code (as added by subsection (a)), and prescribe the regulations required by such section, not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act [Jan. 28, 2008].”

§1555. Professional staff

(a) The Secretary of each military department shall assign to the staff of the service review agency of that military department at least one attorney and at least one physician. Such assignments shall be made on a permanent, full-time basis and may be made from members of the armed forces or civilian employees.

(b) Personnel assigned pursuant to subsection (a)—

(1) shall work under the supervision of the director or executive director (as the case may be) of the service review agency; and

(2) shall be assigned duties as advisers to the director or executive director or other staff members on legal and medical matters, respectively, that are being considered by the agency.


(c) In this section, the term “service review agency” means—

(1) with respect to the Department of the Army, the Army Review Boards Agency;

(2) with respect to the Department of the Navy, the Navy Council of Personnel Boards and the Board for Correction of Naval Records; and

(3) with respect to the Department of the Air Force, the Air Force Review Boards Agency.

(Added Pub. L. 105–261, div. A, title V, §542(a)(1), Oct. 17, 1998, 112 Stat. 2020; amended Pub. L. 106–65, div. A, title V, §582, Oct. 5, 1999, 113 Stat. 634.)

Amendments

1999—Subsec. (c)(2). Pub. L. 106–65 inserted “the Navy Council of Personnel Boards and” after “Department of the Navy,”.

Effective Date

Pub. L. 105–261, div. A, title V, §542(b), Oct. 17, 1998, 112 Stat. 2020, provided that: “Section 1555 of title 10, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), shall take effect 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act [Oct. 17, 1998].”

§1556. Ex parte communications prohibited

(a) In General.—The Secretary of each military department shall ensure that an applicant seeking corrective action by the Army Review Boards Agency, the Air Force Review Boards Agency, or the Board for Correction of Naval Records, as the case may be, is provided a copy of all correspondence and communications (including summaries of verbal communications) to or from the agency or board, or a member of the staff of the agency or board, with an entity or person outside the agency or board that pertain directly to the applicant's case or have a material effect on the applicant's case.

(b) Exceptions.—Subsection (a) does not apply to the following:

(1) Classified information.

(2) Information the release of which is otherwise prohibited by law or regulation.

(3) Any record previously provided to the applicant or known to be possessed by the applicant.

(4) Any correspondence that is purely administrative in nature.

(5) Any military record that is (or may be) provided to the applicant by the Secretary of the military department or other source.

(Added Pub. L. 105–261, div. A, title V, §543(a)(1), Oct. 17, 1998, 112 Stat. 2020.)

Effective Date

Pub. L. 105–261, div. A, title V, §543(b), Oct. 17, 1998, 112 Stat. 2021, provided that: “Section 1556 of title 10, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), shall apply with respect to correspondence and communications made 60 days or more after the date of the enactment of this Act [Oct. 17, 1998].”

§1557. Timeliness standards for disposition of applications before Corrections Boards

(a) Ten-Month Clearance Percentage.—Of the applications received by a Corrections Board during a period specified in the following table, the percentage on which final action by the Corrections Board must be completed within 10 months of receipt (other than for those applications considered suitable for administrative correction) is as follows:


 
The percentage on which final 
 For applications
Correction Board action   
 received during—
must be completed within  
 
10 months of receipt is—   
  the  period  of  fiscal  years  2001  and  2002
50  
  the  period  of  fiscal  years  2003  and  2004
60  
  the period of fiscal years 2005, 2006, and     2007
70  
  the period of fiscal years 2008, 2009, and     2010
80  
  the period of any fiscal year after fiscal     year 2010
90.

        

(b) Clearance Deadline for All Applications.—Final action by a Corrections Board on all applications received by the Corrections Board (other than those applications considered suitable for administrative correction) shall be completed within 18 months of receipt.

(c) Waiver Authority.—The Secretary of the military department concerned may exclude an individual application from the timeliness standards prescribed in subsections (a) and (b) if the Secretary determines that the application warrants a longer period of consideration. The authority of the Secretary of a military department under this subsection may not be delegated.

(d) Failure To Meet Timeliness Standards Not To Affect Any Individual Application.—Failure of a Corrections Board to meet the applicable timeliness standard for any period of time under subsection (a) or (b) does not confer any presumption or advantage with respect to consideration by the board of any application.

(e) Reports on Failure To Meet Timeliness Standards.—The Secretary of the military department concerned shall submit to the Committee on Armed Services of the Senate and the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives a report not later than June 1 following any fiscal year during which the Corrections Board of that Secretary's military department was unable to meet the applicable timeliness standard for that fiscal year under subsections (a) and (b). The report shall specify the reasons why the standard could not be met and the corrective actions initiated to ensure compliance in the future. The report shall also specify the number of waivers granted under subsection (c) during that fiscal year.

(f) Corrections Board Defined.—In this section, the term “Corrections Board” means—

(1) with respect to the Department of the Army, the Army Board for Correction of Military Records;

(2) with respect to the Department of the Navy, the Board for Correction of Naval Records; and

(3) with respect to the Department of the Air Force, the Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records.

(Added Pub. L. 105–261, div. A, title V, §544(a), Oct. 17, 1998, 112 Stat. 2021; amended Pub. L. 106–65, div. A, title X, §1067(1), Oct. 5, 1999, 113 Stat. 774; Pub. L. 108–375, div. A, title X, §1084(d)(12), Oct. 28, 2004, 118 Stat. 2062.)

Amendments

2004—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 108–375 substituted “Final” for “Effective October 1, 2002, final”.

1999—Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 106–65 substituted “and the Committee on Armed Services” for “and the Committee on National Security”.

§1558. Review of actions of selection boards: correction of military records by special boards; judicial review

(a) Correction of Military Records.—The Secretary of a military department may correct a person's military records in accordance with a recommendation made by a special board. Any such correction may be made effective as of the effective date of the action taken on a report of a previous selection board that resulted in the action corrected in the person's military records.

(b) Definitions.—In this section:

(1) Special board.—(A) The term “special board” means a board that the Secretary of a military department convenes under any authority to consider whether to recommend a person for appointment, enlistment, reenlistment, assignment, promotion, retention, separation, retirement, or transfer to inactive status in a reserve component instead of referring the records of that person for consideration by a previously convened selection board which considered or should have considered that person.

(B) Such term includes a board for the correction of military records convened under section 1552 of this title, if designated as a special board by the Secretary concerned.

(C) Such term does not include a promotion special selection board convened under section 628 or 14502 of this title.

(2) Selection board.—(A) The term “selection board” means a selection board convened under section 573(c), 580, 580a, 581, 611(b), 637, 638, 638a, 14101(b), 14701, 14704, or 14705 of this title, and any other board convened by the Secretary of a military department under any authority to recommend persons for appointment, enlistment, reenlistment, assignment, promotion, or retention in the armed forces or for separation, retirement, or transfer to inactive status in a reserve component for the purpose of reducing the number of persons serving in the armed forces.

(B) Such term does not include any of the following:

(i) A promotion board convened under section 573(a), 611(a), or 14101(a) of this title.

(ii) A special board.

(iii) A special selection board convened under section 628 of this title.

(iv) A board for the correction of military records convened under section 1552 of this title.


(3) Involuntarily board-separated.—The term “involuntarily board-separated” means separated or retired from an armed force, or transferred to the Retired Reserve or to inactive status in a reserve component, as a result of a recommendation of a selection board.


(c) Relief Associated With Correction of Certain Actions.—(1) The Secretary of the military department concerned shall ensure that an involuntarily board-separated person receives relief under paragraph (2) or under paragraph (3) if the person, as a result of a correction of the person's military records under subsection (a), becomes entitled to retention on or restoration to active duty or to active status in a reserve component.

(2)(A) A person referred to in paragraph (1) shall, with that person's consent, be restored to the same status, rights, and entitlements (less appropriate offsets against back pay and allowances) in that person's armed force as the person would have had if the person had not been selected to be involuntarily board-separated as a result of an action the record of which is corrected under subsection (a). An action under this subparagraph is subject to subparagraph (B).

(B) Nothing in subparagraph (A) may be construed to permit a person to be on active duty or in an active status in a reserve component after the date on which the person would have been separated, retired, or transferred to the Retired Reserve or to inactive status in a reserve component if the person had not been selected to be involuntarily board-separated in an action of a selection board the record of which is corrected under subsection (a).

(3) If an involuntarily board-separated person referred to in paragraph (1) does not consent to a restoration of status, rights, and entitlements under paragraph (2), the Secretary concerned shall pay that person back pay and allowances (less appropriate offsets), and shall provide that person service credit, for the period—

(A) beginning on the date of the person's separation, retirement, or transfer to the Retired Reserve or to inactive status in a reserve component, as the case may be; and

(B) ending on the earlier of—

(i) the date on which the person would have been so restored under paragraph (2), as determined by the Secretary concerned; or

(ii) the date on which the person would otherwise have been separated, retired, or transferred to the Retired Reserve or to inactive status in a reserve component, as the case may be.


(d) Finality of Unfavorable Action.—If a special board makes a recommendation not to correct the military records of a person regarding action taken in the case of that person on the basis of a previous report of a selection board, the action previously taken on that report shall be considered as final as of the date of the action taken on that report.

(e) Regulations.—(1) The Secretary of each military department shall prescribe regulations to carry out this section. Regulations under this subsection may not apply to subsection (f), other than to paragraph (4)(C) of that subsection.

(2) The Secretary may prescribe in the regulations under paragraph (1) the circumstances under which consideration by a special board may be provided for under this section, including the following:

(A) The circumstances under which consideration of a person's case by a special board is contingent upon application by or for that person.

(B) Any time limits applicable to the filing of an application for such consideration.


(3) Regulations prescribed by the Secretary of a military department under this subsection may not take effect until approved by the Secretary of Defense.

(f) Judicial Review.—(1) A person seeking to challenge an action or recommendation of a selection board, or an action taken by the Secretary of the military department concerned on the report of a selection board, is not entitled to relief in any judicial proceeding unless the action or recommendation has first been considered by a special board under this section or the Secretary concerned has denied the convening of such a board for such consideration.

(2)(A) A court of the United States may review a determination by the Secretary of a military department not to convene a special board in the case of any person. In any such case, the court may set aside the Secretary's determination only if the court finds the determination to be—

(i) arbitrary or capricious;

(ii) not based on substantial evidence;

(iii) a result of material error of fact or material administrative error; or

(iv) otherwise contrary to law.


(B) If a court sets aside a determination by the Secretary of a military department not to convene a special board, it shall remand the case to the Secretary concerned, who shall provide for consideration by a special board.

(3) A court of the United States may review a recommendation of a special board or an action of the Secretary of the military department concerned on the report of a special board. In any such case, a court may set aside the action only if the court finds that the recommendation or action was—

(A) arbitrary or capricious;

(B) not based on substantial evidence;

(C) a result of material error of fact or material administrative error; or

(D) otherwise contrary to law.


(4)(A) If, six months after receiving a complete application for consideration by a special board in any case, the Secretary concerned has not convened a special board and has not denied consideration by a special board in that case, the Secretary shall be deemed for the purposes of this subsection to have denied consideration of the case by a special board.

(B) If, six months after the convening of a special board in any case, the Secretary concerned has not taken final action on the report of the special board, the Secretary shall be deemed for the purposes of this subsection to have denied relief in such case.

(C) Under regulations prescribed under subsection (e), the Secretary of a military department may waive the applicability of subparagraph (A) or (B) in a case if the Secretary determines that a longer period for consideration of the case is warranted. Such a waiver may be for an additional period of not more than six months. The Secretary concerned may not delegate authority to make a determination under this subparagraph.

(g) Existing Jurisdiction.—Nothing in this section limits—

(1) the jurisdiction of any court of the United States under any provision of law to determine the validity of any law, regulation, or policy relating to selection boards; or

(2) the authority of the Secretary of a military department to correct a military record under section 1552 of this title.

(Added Pub. L. 107–107, div. A, title V, §503(a)(1), Dec. 28, 2001, 115 Stat. 1080.)

Effective Date

Section applicable with respect to any proceeding pending on or after Dec. 28, 2001, without regard to whether a challenge to an action of a selection board of any of the Armed Forces being considered in the proceeding was initiated before, on, or after that date, but not applicable with respect to any action commenced in a court of the United States before Dec. 28, 2001, see section 503(c) of Pub. L. 107–107, set out as an Effective Date of 2001 Amendment note under section 628 of this title.

§1559. Personnel limitation

(a) Limitation.—Before December 31, 2013, the Secretary of a military department may not carry out any reduction in the number of military and civilian personnel assigned to duty with the service review agency for that military department below the baseline number for that agency until—

(1) the Secretary submits to Congress a report that—

(A) describes the reduction proposed to be made;

(B) provides the Secretary's rationale for that reduction; and

(C) specifies the number of such personnel that would be assigned to duty with that agency after the reduction; and


(2) a period of 90 days has elapsed after the date on which the report is submitted.


(b) Baseline Number.—The baseline number for a service review agency under this section is—

(1) for purposes of the first report with respect to a service review agency under this section, the number of military and civilian personnel assigned to duty with that agency as of January 1, 2002; and

(2) for purposes of any subsequent report with respect to a service review agency under this section, the number of such personnel specified in the most recent report with respect to that agency under this section.


(c) Service Review Agency Defined.—In this section, the term “service review agency” means—

(1) with respect to the Department of the Army, the Army Review Boards Agency;

(2) with respect to the Department of the Navy, the Board for Correction of Naval Records; and

(3) with respect to the Department of the Air Force, the Air Force Review Boards Agency.

(Added Pub. L. 107–314, div. A, title V, §552(a), Dec. 2, 2002, 116 Stat. 2552; amended Pub. L. 108–375, div. A, title V, §581, Oct. 28, 2004, 118 Stat. 1928; Pub. L. 110–417, [div. A], title V, §593, Oct. 14, 2008, 122 Stat. 4475; Pub. L. 111–383, div. A, title V, §533(b), Jan. 7, 2011, 124 Stat. 4216.)

Amendments

2011—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 111–383 substituted “December 31, 2013” for “December 31, 2010” in introductory provisions.

2008—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 110–417 substituted “December 31, 2010” for “October 1, 2008” in introductory provisions.

2004—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 108–375 substituted “Before October 1, 2008,” for “During fiscal years 2003, 2004, and 2005,”.