Monday, April 12, 2021
New Review Board for Discharge Upgrades to Serve All Branches -- by Jennifer R. Morrell (Widener University Delaware Law School)
For attorneys who handle discharge upgrades, there's a new kid on the block: The Discharge Appeal Review Board (DARB). The DARB was created by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020, which was signed into law by Donald Trump on December 20, 2019, and is considered the final level of administrative review before the Department of Defense (DOD). Although the DARB is open to appeals from members of any branch of service, the United States Navy has been designated the branch that will oversee the new entity.
According to the DOD's press release, the DARB is an option to any service member who was discharged on or after December 20, 2019, to provide final review of discharge or dismissal characterization upgrade requests. Petitioners must have exhausted all available remedies before the discharge review boards and boards for correction of military records.
The new Board is considered a document review board without any opportunity for a personal appearance by service members. Additionally, the Board's review is limited to whatever documents were in the file at the board below. If a petitioner wishes to present new evidence, they must submit a reconsideration request to, and receive a decision from, the board for correction of military records before any such evidence will be considered by the DARB.
According to her LinkedIn profile, Martha "Martie" Soper has been appointed the first Deputy/Director of Operations for the new Board.
For more information, you can read the DOD press release here: https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Releases/Release/Article/2564345/dod-announces-new-discharge-appeal-review-board-option/