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Judge Advocate Division

 

Judge Advocate Division

Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps

Officer Promotions Materials

The Marine Corps is required by statute and Department of Defense policy to only promote our “best and fully qualified” officers which conform to the exemplary conduct requirements of 10 U.S.C. Section 5947.  Selection boards utilize all information authorized by law in order to select and nominate those officers who best conform to the exemplary conduct standards.  However, potentially adverse information is not always available to promotion boards when they make their promotion recommendation.  Additionally, officers who are already selected and nominated but not yet promoted may commit acts that call into question their suitability for promotion.  In order to ensure that the officers we promote conform to the highest standards of conduct, the Military Law Branch, Judge Advocate Division, HQMC (CMC (JAM)) in coordination with Officer Promotions, Manpower Management, M&RA (MMPR-1) manages the officer promotion adverse information process for the Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC).

An Overview of the Post Board Process

The Post Board process begins once a Promotion Board is adjourned.  Upon adjournment of a Promotion Board, a review of investigative files is conducted for those officers selected for promotion for any potentially adverse and/or adverse information.  Officers with either potentially adverse or adverse information are screened for pending or completed administrative and/or disciplinary proceedings.

Pending Administrative and/or Disciplinary Proceedings

Officers with pending administrative and/or disciplinary proceedings will have their promotions withheld or delayed until completion of those proceedings and with receive formal notification of the withhold or delay.

Once the administrative and/or disciplinary proceedings are completed, the officer whose promotion has been withheld or delayed is notified that their promotion case is ripe for action.  At this time, most officers choose to submit matters in support of their promotion cases via their chain of command to JAM.  Once received by JAM, processing timelines vary on a case by case basis; however, JAM follows the same natural progression for most cases.  First, JAM compiles the promotion package.  Next, JAM drafts the allied documents.  Finally, JAM forwards the package to MMPR for routing through the Adverse Material Advisory Board (AMAB).

Completed Administrative and/or Disciplinary Proceedings

Officers with completed administrative and/or disciplinary proceedings will have their promotion case reviewed by the AMAB.  The AMAB will consider the adverse information, command endorsements, and, if submitted, the officer’s matters.  The AMAB will then make a recommendation to CMC to either promote the officer or remove the officer from the promotion list.

The ultimate promotion/removal authority is statutorily based upon the promotion grade and can range from CMC to the President of the United States (POTUS).  The requisite promotion authority will be responsible for making the promotion determination.  MMPR-1 is tasked with the responsibility of making the notification of the promotion determination to the officer’s chain of command

Command Initiated Delay of Promotions and Warrant Officer Appointments

MCO P1400.31C, SECNAVINST 1420.1B, SECNAVINST 1412.6L (for 1stLt Promotions), and SECNAVINST 1412.9B (for LDO and Warrant Officers) provide the authority and grounds for Commanding Officers (CO) to delay an officer’s promotion.  This authority is also outlined in every promotion MARADMIN.  The CO may initiate a delay if he believes that the officer selected for promotion is not mentally, morally, professionally, or physically qualified for promotion and/or when the officer is subject of alleged or recent misconduct not yet reported to HQMC.

The appointment of a noncommissioned officer (NCO) to the rank of Warrant Officer (WO) may also be delayed if the CO believes that the NCO selected for appointment is not mentally, morally, professionally, or physically qualified for appointment and/or when the NCO is subject of alleged or recent misconduct not yet reported to HQMC.

Unless impracticable to do, COs should give written notice to an officer or NCO outlining the grounds for the delay before the effective date of the appointment.  If extenuating circumstances exist, oral notification of the promotion delay will suffice as long as written notice is provided as soon as practicable.  This notice must give the officer or NCO the opportunity to make a statement regarding the promotion delay.

Examples of Command Initiated Delay Notifications to Officers

Command Delay Promotion Notification to:
Second Lieutenants                      First Lieutenants and above
Warrant Officers                           NCOs (for appoint to Warrant Officer)

Command Delay Promotion Notification to:                                                 

Command Notifications to CMC

It is critical that the CO notifies CMC (MMPR-1) and CMC (JAM) prior to the scheduled promotion date in order to ensure that the officer is not promoted in the Marine Corps Total Force System (MCTFS).  The notification should include at a minimum:

It is critical that the CO notifies CMC (MMPR-1) and CMC (JAM) prior to the scheduled promotion date in order to ensure that the officer is not promoted in the Marine Corps Total Force System (MCTFS).  The notification should include at a minimum:
  • Circumstances/justification for the delay;
  • All correspondence pertinent to decision to delay;
  • A copy of the notification to the officer of the delay;
  • Officer’s written statement in response to the delay;
  • Date officer was found not qualified; and,
  • Any recommendations in the case.
What is Potentially Adverse and/or Adverse Information?
Adverse information includes, but is not limited to the following:
  • Sworn charges against an officer received by an officer exercising general court-martial jurisdiction over the officer;
  • An investigation conducted to determine whether disciplinary action of any kind should be brought against the officer;
  • Processing for separation for cause has been initiated;
  • A criminal proceeding in a federal or state court is pending against the officer;
  • There is cause to believe that the officer is mentally, physically, morally, or professionally unqualified as defined by the references: MCO P1400.31C, SECNAVINST 1420.1B, SECNAVINST 1412.6L (for 1stLt Promotions), and SECNAVINST 1412.9B (for LDO and Warrant Officers);
  • A reserve officer who has not completed a baccalaureate degree by a qualifying educational institution;
  • Substandard performance;
  • Relief from Command.

What may be considered not adverse by CMC or the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV)?

Information that may be of an adverse nature but may be considered not adverse includes, but is not limited to the following:

Information that may be of an adverse nature but may be considered not adverse includes, but is not limited to the following:
  • Conduct prior to the officer’s commissioning;
  • Conduct which occurred 10 years prior to the convening date of the selection board (unless otherwise egregious);
  • Conduct which has been screened by a promotion board and the officer was previously selected for promotion;
  • A single DUI/DWI incident with no property damage or personal injury and is over five years old from the convening date of the selection board;
  • A single DUI/DWI incident with no property damage or personal injury, reviewed by a selection board, conclusive civil or command action was taken, and the member received alcohol screening and completed a recommended/required rehabilitation program;
  • A single detachment for cause for “unsatisfactory performance” before the convening date of the board, while SNO was in the grade of O-3 or below, reviewed by a selection board, and was not based in whole or in part on misconduct; and,
  • A single mishandling of classified material, that was adjudicated/resolved through command action, and where there was no documented finding that SNO attempted to compromise the material or resulted in potential compromise or compromise.
Withheld versus Delayed

What is the difference between a promotion that has been withheld and a promotion that has been delayed?

An officer’s promotion is considered “withheld” when the officer’s name, who the board recommended for promotion, is removed from the list prior to the promotion message being published.  Officers who are withheld from the promotion list must go through the AMAB process and be approved for promotion by the ultimate promotion/removal authority for that officer’s selected grade.

An officer’s promotion is considered “delayed” when the officer is the subject of adverse materials after a promotion message has been published.  Officers who are withheld from the promotion list must go through the AMAB process and be approved for promotion by the promotion delay/removal authority for that officer’s selected grade (usually CMC or SECNAV).

Practically speaking, promotion delays, once ripe for action, are typically resolved far quicker than a promotion withhold because getting approval to promote a promotion withhold requires that the officer’s name be vetted all the way through the process to the ultimate promotion/removal authority for that officer’s selected grade.

Notification of Withhold or Delay

An officer will be notified by his command or JAM that their promotion is withheld or delayed.  Officers are typically notified of a promotion withhold after the ALNAV is released.  This notice will provide the officer the opportunity to make a statement regarding the promotion withhold or delay.

Completed Administrative and/or Disciplinary Proceedings
What happens after an officer’s misconduct case is closed?

Once the administrative and/or disciplinary proceedings are completed, the officer whose promotion has been delayed or withheld is notified that their promotion case is ripe for action.  At this time, most officers choose to submit matters in support of their promotion cases.  Once JAM is informed of the officer’s intention to submit matters in support of their promotion case, JAM will hold the promotion case opening pending the receipt of the officer’s matters and chain of command endorsements.

The officer has ten (10) days to submit any matters in support of their promotion to their chain of command.  Officers may request additional time to compile their matters for submission.  Such a request should be routed via from the officer to their chain of command and local staff judge advocate.  The officer’s command will endorse the promotion matters submitted and forward the package through the first commanding general in the officer’s chain.  Once complete, the package will be forwarded to JAM.

What goes into a promotion case or promotion package?

Initially the matters relating to a promotion case consist of the notice and comment letters regarding the promotion withhold/delay, the officer’s matters, and chain of command endorsements.  Once JAM receives the package, they assemble the package in a format approved by CMC/SECNAV and produce the promotion package.  This package typically contains the officer’s matters, chain of command endorsements, matters not included previously which relate to the administrative and/or disciplinary action, the SJA to CMC comment on the promotion case, and the CMC to SECNAV memoranda.

Processing Timelines

Note: Timelines are grade and case dependant and can vary significantly from the normal timelines outlined below.  Additionally, all timelines start one JAM has received the officer’s matters and requisite chain of command endorsements.

First Lieutenants and Above
Promotion Delay (Approximately 13-19 weeks):
1-2 weeks for the drafting of the executive summary and signing by the SJA to CMC; 4-5 weeks for CMC to sign; 4-5 weeks for Navy JAG to sign; 2-3 weeks for SECNAV to decide; 2-4 weeks for the Deputy Secretary of Defense (DEPSECDEF) to approve SECNAV’s determination.

Promotion Withhold (Approximately 19-31 weeks):
1-2 weeks for the drafting of the executive summary and signing by the SJA to CMC; 4-5 weeks for CMC to sign; 4-5 weeks for Navy JAG to sign; 2-3 weeks for SECNAV to decide; 2-4 months for routing through OSD, POTUS, and SASC.

Second Lieutenants and Probationary Warrant Officers
Promotion Delay (Approximately 5-15 weeks):
1-2 weeks for the drafting of the executive summary and signing by the SJA to CMC; 4-5 weeks for CMC to sign.  If CMC finds the officer unqualified for promotion and requests that SECNAV discharge the officer, then it must be forwarded to Navy JAG (4-5 weeks to sign) and SECNAV (2-3 weeks to decide).

Promotion Withhold (Approximately 13-19 weeks):
1-2 weeks for the drafting of the executive summary and signing by the SJA to CMC; 4-5 weeks for CMC to sign; 4-5 weeks for Navy JAG to sign; 2-3 weeks for SECNAV to decide; 2-4 weeks for DEPSECDEF to approve SECNAV’s determination.

Adverse Materials Advisory Board (AMAB)

What is the AMAB?

The AMAB is composed of the Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant of the Marine Corps (SJA to CMC), the Director, Personnel Management Division (Dir, PMD), Deputy Commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs (DC M&RA), Director, Marine Corps Staff (DMCS), and the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps (ACMC).  The AMAB makes recommendations to CMC on whether or not an officer selected for promotion, but found to have adverse information, should be promoted.

What is the AMAB process?

The SJA to CMC prepares a synopsis of the adverse materials found in each selected officer's record, matters submitted by the officer (if any), command endorsements, and his own recommendation and forwards this information to the remaining members of the AMAB for their recommendations.  Each member of the AMAB makes a recommendation to CMC on whether to promote the officer.

Unless CMC is the promotion/removal authority for that grade, CMC makes a recommendation to the ultimate promotion/removal authority (UPRA) for that officer’s selected grade.

Promotion Determinations

The person making the promotion determination is determined by the rank of the Marine.


First Lieutenants and Above

CMC makes recommendation to the UPRA to remove or promote from the promotion list and a date or rank in all other cases.

The UPRA may either find the officer qualified for promotion (and may promote the officer in accordance with the officer’s projected promotion date), or the UPRA may find the officer qualified for promotion (and may adjust the officer’s DOR for any period that the UPRA determines that the officer was not qualified for promotion); or, SECNAV may find the officer unqualified for promotion and remove the officer from the promotion list.

Second Lieutenants being promoted to First Lieutenant and Warrant Officers being promoted to Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CWO2)

CMC makes promotion determinations in those officers’ case which involve a time in grade promotion. CMC may find the officer qualified or unqualified for promotion.

If qualified for promotion, CMC may:

  • Adjust the officer’s date of rank to the date DC M&RA closed the officer’s misconduct case;
  • Adjust the officer’s DOR for any period CMC determines the officer was not qualified for promotion; or,
  • Assign the officer their original scheduled DOR.

If unqualified for promotion, CMC may:

  • Request that SECNAV discharge the officer effective immediately if retention is inconsistent with good order and discipline; or,
  • Retain the officer, if determined to be in the best interest of the Marine Corps, for the period that ends 18-months from the date the officer was found unqualified for promotion.  If the officer is not promoted by the end of the 18-month period, the officer would be discharged.
Notification of the Promotion Determination

How does the officer find out what the promotion determination is and what their promotion date will be?

Captain and Above:
Should the UPRA decide to promote the officer, the CMC to SECNAV memorandum will determine their promotion date (which may be backdated to the officer’s original projected promotion date).  Typically, MMPR-1 provides electronic notice to the officer’s chain of command via the officer’s Chief of Staff.

Second Lieutenants being promoted to First Lieutenant and Warrant Officers being promoted to Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CWO2):
Should CMC decide to promote the officer, CMC's letter to the officer will determine the officer’s promotion date (which may be backdated to the officer’s original projected promotion date).  The CMC letter will then be forwarded via the officer’s chain of command back to the officer via MMPR.  Typically, MMPR-1 provides electronic notice to the officer’s chain of command via the officer’s Chief of Staff