What to Expect When Facing a Board of Inquiry (BOI)
Facing a board of inquiry may raise a lot of questions. Everything you need to know about what exactly a board of inquiry is, what happens during the process and what actions you might need to take if you are facing a board of inquiry yourself can be found in this article.
What is a Board of Inquiry?A board of inquiry is a involuntary separation board for commissioned officers. Members are entitled to such a board if they are on notice of an “other than honorable discharge” or if they have served several years (non probationary status) since their commission. The board is also sometimes called a “show-cause board.” It is the duty of the board to assess events, allegations, and duty performance.
Boards of inquiry are not considered to be as severe as court-martials. Nonetheless, they do require a good military defense team if you are subject to one. This will improve your chances of protecting yourself and your military career.
Options When Facing a Notification of Elimination and/or "Show Cause" BoardHaving received a "show cause" notification of elimination action against them, an officer has a few options regarding his or her next steps in dealing with the situation.
One option is for the officer to submit a resignation in advance of the board of inquiry. Another option available to the officer is to respond formally in writing, addressing the allegations to request that an elimination be retroactively modified. Finally, the officer can request to make a personal appearance along with their counsel’s representation at the board of inquiry if the original written request is not approved.
It is often the case that the officer in question will only have thirty days to respond to the initial notification of elimination letter. Once confirmed that a board of inquiry will take place, the board will typically occur within ninety days.
A board of inquiry is comprised of officers with a senior grade to the officer under investigation. As with a court-martial trial, both sides are allowed to present evidence in favor of their side. The government is represented by an experienced military attorney known as a “Recorder”.
The subject of the board of inquiry is known as the “Respondent”. This officer has the right to a legal defense team. They may choose the composition of this team, including a military defense attorney and a civilian defense attorney. These attorneys will review the evidence presented against their client and build a defense. They may also present their own evidence to reinforce the officer’s value as a military member in the future.