BCNR timeline after docket number received

leeiswhoibe

Registered Member
#21
I am on the same timeline, submitted late January 2016. I will probably wait until the 18 months is up and then ask the ABCMR for an explanation for delay. If I don't receive a satisfactory explanation, I'll take eps17 advice and get a congress critter involved.
Well, one of the analysts finally wrote me back to a status inquiry I posted 2 months ago. 1 Feb 2016 was when the ABCMR first acknowledged receipt of all my documents. He let me know that my case has been sent to an analyst for "boarding" which he explained means my case is in the final stages. No mention of how much longer it will take, but it is now just a little over the 18 month mark.

Keeping my fingers crossed. I will let everyone here know the results.
 

FISTorDIE

Registered Member
#22
Well, one of the analysts finally wrote me back to a status inquiry I posted 2 months ago. 1 Feb 2016 was when the ABCMR first acknowledged receipt of all my documents. He let me know that my case has been sent to an analyst for "boarding" which he explained means my case is in the final stages. No mention of how much longer it will take, but it is now just a little over the 18 month mark.

Keeping my fingers crossed. I will let everyone here know the results.

Did you speak with someone on the phone or did they give you an email that was more than just generic?
 

leeiswhoibe

Registered Member
#23
Well, originally I emailed [email protected] to ask about the status. I did this at the 6,7, and 8 month mark only to get a generic reply. Finally after the 4th time, one of the analysts reviewing my case responded and told me it could take up to a year. He mentioned my case was well presented and wished me luck in the decision. So, I thanked him and waited till 13 months before replying to follow-up. Just now (at the 18th month mark), he responded apologizing for the time it took and let me know my case was sent up for "boarding". Not sure if that helps or not.
 

eps17

PEB Forum Veteran
#25
Print out a copy of that email and have an elected official have them decode it for you.

Go to house.gov or senate.gov and find your local officials, print out the privacy release on their page, sign it, scan it, and fax it to them and include a copy of that letter and your struggle.

They'll inquire on your behalf and it'll magically get prioritized.
 

leeiswhoibe

Registered Member
#26
Well, I am going to wait a few more weeks. The issues I see with going to your Congress person are:

1. It takes time and effort. In my case, there is a lot of information and it can not just easily be explained in a couple pages (my packet was over 100 pages including attachments). Trying to summarize it or explain it to a disinterested party is a pain.
2. NOONE in the Army likes it when a Congressional Inquiry comes in. I am speaking from personal experience here being in the Army 12+ years. It detracts time and resources from the mission and is an overall "pain" for the unit being investigated, for whatever the issue is. From what I have seen, most Commander's wont bend a knee to nosey legislators getting up in their business; in fact, they most likely get annoyed by it. As such, I don't see that necessarily "helping" my case. Sure it might speed up the process, but who is not to say that the analysts/board members/decision makers wont take offense to being hurried, investigated(usually the unit will have an investigative officer put in charge of the inquiry and question persons of interest), and called out for not doing their jobs and take it out on the person who was responsible for making them look bad(e.g. the person who contacted the Congressman who they will infer is inevitably the person the whose case they are trying to speed up)? I don't have a ton of faith in a lot of the GS Civ's (I know because I am a contractor and they are all around me and I see a sweeping generalized worth ethic and mentality in their words and actions.), so NOT ticking them off is the general rule of thumb, especially when it comes to matters of your career or money. You might think this would be illegal, but unspoken reprisal DOES happen in the Army; it's just masked or justified in one way or another.

The best I can figure is that the DASEB and ARBA boards are lawfully subjective at best. You can present your best case, but from the hundreds of cases I have read, the genuine care and attention to detail is not always there and truthfully, they can rule on their decisions any way they want because they know the process is painfully time-consuming and most do not have the tenacity or means to want to do an appeal or take it to a higher court. So leaving my Congressman out is the way to go for me. He has enough problems already to fix in my home state.
 

Kontum6870

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#27
Had I received an indication mine was anything but one of the 22,000 they receive each year, I would probably not have contacted both a member of the House and Senate. I did this yesterday and am not too concerned with retaliation. They can't even answer courteously presented questions, how could they possibly coordinate retaliation efforts? Bring it ABCMR, you are not the final say.
 

eps17

PEB Forum Veteran
#28
Well as a retired NCO and former Congressional Staffer for the US House I can tell you that your misconceptions about "noisy legislators" and commanders not "bending a knee" to a sitting member of the US House or Senate are special. And by special I mean made up, unfounded, and totally wrong.

What I suggested is how problems get identified and how things get the attention they need. AND any commander who has the ignorance to tread against the very fabric of our democracy and "retaliate" against someone for contacting them will NOT be retaining their commission very long. I have to date NEVER seen anything but the utmost professionalism and courtesy rendered by each branch of service in their dealings with those who set their budgets, enact our laws, and determines who make what bird or what star and when.

Its not as simple as contacting a unit directly. Oh no, no, any inquiry goes to DC to the branch of service congressional liaison who in turn forwards it through the Secretary of the concerned branch and it goes down the chain from there. The response goes back up the chain and then comes back across gift wrapped with a nice bow with extra customs and courtesy and more times than not a solution.

Take offense, hurried, bend a knee, all of this is pure speculatory commentary from someone who truly doesn't know.

Send the congressional. No harm will come from it; believe me. The squeaky wheel gets the grease and if it wasn't for the massive engagements of veterans organizations, constituents, and offices such as the BCMR constantly getting poked in the eye we wouldn't have things such as the IDES, the PDBR, DRB, and the latest relaxed criteria handed out by congress for all due consideration of Vietnam veterans with bad paper discharges getting and upgrade due to PTSD, etc.

If you're that worried about it; have a sitting member of the Armed Services Committee do the inquiry on your behalf. Congressional courtesy dictates them to do so and I promise you they'll respond so quickly it'll make your head spin going that route.
 

Ocean

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#30
Had I received an indication mine was anything but one of the 22,000 they receive each year, I would probably not have contacted both a member of the House and Senate. I did this yesterday and am not too concerned with retaliation. They can't even answer courteously presented questions, how could they possibly coordinate retaliation efforts? Bring it ABCMR, you are not the final.
 

leeiswhoibe

Registered Member
#31
Well as a retired NCO and former Congressional Staffer for the US House I can tell you that your misconceptions about "noisy legislators" and commanders not "bending a knee" to a sitting member of the US House or Senate are special. And by special I mean made up, unfounded, and totally wrong.

What I suggested is how problems get identified and how things get the attention they need. AND any commander who has the ignorance to tread against the very fabric of our democracy and "retaliate" against someone for contacting them will NOT be retaining their commission very long. I have to date NEVER seen anything but the utmost professionalism and courtesy rendered by each branch of service in their dealings with those who set their budgets, enact our laws, and determines who make what bird or what star and when.

Its not as simple as contacting a unit directly. Oh no, no, any inquiry goes to DC to the branch of service congressional liaison who in turn forwards it through the Secretary of the concerned branch and it goes down the chain from there. The response goes back up the chain and then comes back across gift wrapped with a nice bow with extra customs and courtesy and more times than not a solution.

Take offense, hurried, bend a knee, all of this is pure speculatory commentary from someone who truly doesn't know.

Send the congressional. No harm will come from it; believe me. The squeaky wheel gets the grease and if it wasn't for the massive engagements of veterans organizations, constituents, and offices such as the BCMR constantly getting poked in the eye we wouldn't have things such as the IDES, the PDBR, DRB, and the latest relaxed criteria handed out by congress for all due consideration of Vietnam veterans with bad paper discharges getting and upgrade due to PTSD, etc.

If you're that worried about it; have a sitting member of the Armed Services Committee do the inquiry on your behalf. Congressional courtesy dictates them to do so and I promise you they'll respond so quickly it'll make your head spin going that route.
 

leeiswhoibe

Registered Member
#32
Wow. Okay. So first, thank you for your service eps17. I also was a Soldier, NCO, and Officer during my time in the Army.

What I suggested was that in MY experience, Congressional Inquiries did not generally benefit the person who they were in reference to. I am not sure if maybe you were in outstanding units where the entire organization and leadership personnel were always moral, adhered to every regulation to the letter, and were always fair and impartial in all their decisions and the handling of Congressional Inquiries. If so, that is great.

However, one's experience may vary. I find it mildly naïve to think that you believe there is no human error, flaws, or personal discrepancies in how some units and leadership deal with Congressional Inquiries in the military. I am not saying you are not entitled to your viewpoint and I am sure in YOUR experience you may not have ever seen reprisal, but my experience is not "unfounded" or "totally wrong"; it actually happened. I have nothing to gain in speaking the truth during my time in the Army.

Right or wrong, there are sometimes behind-the-door discussions between leadership, unspoken/unwritten directives or guidance given when a unit gets a Congressional Inquiry. There is typically a short timeline given to respond. I have been assigned as an investigative officer several times for Congressional Inquiries. I was always been by the book in my investigations and weeded out hearsay versus legitimate evidence. And even when I sent up my findings and final report saying that something was or wasn't founded, regardless what the final outcome was (and it was 50/50 as far as being in favor or against the SM listed in the Inquiry), that Soldier was often chastised as a result of it. The worst part is, there was nothing really the SM could do except tough it out until they PCS'ed. Sure we have these great organizations like EO and the IG, but commands have a lot of power to do things that are technically legal, but may not always be fair, just, or in the best interests of a particular Soldier and there is little that can be done. And I have known many senior officers (field grade and above), who shared in the belief that Congressional's were a distraction, were irked by them, thought they made the unit (from the top down) look bad, and generally blamed the person whose name was in the Congressional (I am not saying that I believe in that practice, eps17. I am only saying that there is/was leadership in the Army that feels that way, seriously). I say it again, unspoken reprisal DOES happen in the Army; maybe not common, maybe not the majority of times, and definitely not in every case...but it certainly does.

I am a firm believer in the integrity and fair standards our military organizations are built on. The intent is good in nature if the purpose and standards are lived up to. But I am not going to say they are all or always perfect or that SOMETIMES the human-factor wont come into play. I am not going to offer over-reaching recommendations on what ANYONE should do, nor am I the type to tell you that your viewpoints are "wrong" based on your experience. I only know mine. As I stated in my previous post, going the Congressional route was not the option for ME. Everything in life is DOTS: Depends on the situation.
 

eps17

PEB Forum Veteran
#33
Well, thank you for your service. I don't think it is mildly naive to think there is no human error, flaws, or personal discrepancies despite the presumption of regularity inherently afforded to the military. I have never seen or heard of any service member contacting an elected official, which is a protected communication I might add, to complain about amazing leadership or military efficiency. I think its naive to not recognize these types of inquiries are always in the form of complaints.

Given your vast descriptive experiences with investigating complaints and making determinations you should also share in these higher ranking officers feelings of being irked and distracted. That goes both ways and elected officials don't like having to devote their time and resources towards military leadership who sometimes fail in their responsibilities or dance in the gray area of the spirit and intent of the regulations to suppress someone under their command. Military leadership is NOT what it is cracked up to be and military officers are NOT attorneys yet they are charged with making legal determinations based purely on their own interpretation and judgment with advice from those who do have the necessary legal training and experience. They are not bound by the recommendations of the legal office. These types of officers are the same exact ones who motivated congress to seriously start questioning their authority OR ability to prefer charges in cases of sexual assault and from last I saw military officers have lost a lot of their autonomy in this realm and have been completely removed from the process after complaints of cronyism, corruption, or inability to effectively weight evidence and make determinations of fact based. Same with any SNCO charged with doing an ROI or being appointed for any type of other investigation.

Bringing this back around to the relevancy of my initial suggestion and its applicability to the circumstances we are dealing with an administrative board that has been in the limelight for a very long time with the decisions or lack there of which have been rendered. Congress is fully aware. These boards do not involve people who are in command but rather an entire small army of GS civilians shuffling the paperwork around with a few select SES and military officers who have been charged with reviewing, interpreting, and rendering decisions in order to correct errors or injustices. Congress knows the system is broke. If the Legacy MEB process hadn't been so broken than the IDES wouldn't of had to be created, the BCMRs wouldn't be so backlogged, and Congress along with the President wouldn't of had to create the PDBR or DRBs in an attempt to clean it up.

The squeaky well gets the grease. Congress needs to hear about how these boards are complying or not complying with congressional mandated timelines. Sometimes paperwork gets lost. Sometimes people are inefficient or something gets put on the back burner. Having a congressional inquiry in these situations is not a reprisal risk especially after having been so patient and approaching mandated deadlines. Also, the recourse beyond a BCMR is filing a federal lawsuit and making a claim in court and having a judge review it. The BCMRs are also aware of this and can be held accountable if they do not follow the law and applicable regulations. The last thing a BCMR wants is a remand from a federal judge and more attention to a very inefficient process they are trying desperately to fix and do right by.

Everything I've said in my prior comments is applicable 100%. Congress needs to know, improvements have been made, and every congressman or senator wants to help a veteran with these issues. They see it as the right thing to do. They know the VA is broken. They have implemented reforms and protections to the MEB processes. And they are ultimately charged with controlling the military with the setting of laws, regulations, giving out the money, declaring wars, etc. They want to do right by veterans and in this situation the benefit and risk is tilted 110% in favor of the veteran when compared to possible reprisal and other stuff not involving military disability issues, etc.
 

Ocean

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#34
Regarding timelines, ABCMR, 21 months and waiting....Congressional interest in this case simply ignored.
Not sure about Navy or Airforce timelines.
 

Kontum6870

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#35
Regarding timelines, ABCMR, 21 months and waiting....Congressional interest in this case simply ignored.
Not sure about Navy or Airforce timelines.
That's discouraging. Do you have both Senators and your Congressman involved and are you continually reminding them that you're still waiting?
 

Ocean

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#36
That's discouraging. Do you have both Senators and your Congressman involved and are you continually reminding them that you're still waiting?
Hi thank you for responding, like others on this site adding my Congressman into the mix seems to have made things more difficult. However I like you, felt that by reaching out to our representatives would make a difference. Many in leadership roles in the military have no respect for our representatives. Congress is aware of this, but until someone in Congress holds leadership accountable things will remain status quo....I am glad you have had better experiences, it gives me hope.
 

jeeperrs

Registered Member
#37
Hi thank you for responding, like others on this site adding my Congressman into the mix seems to have made things more difficult. However I like you, felt that by reaching out to our representatives would make a difference. Many in leadership roles in the military have no respect for our representatives. Congress is aware of this, but until someone in Congress holds leadership accountable things will remain status quo....I am glad you have had better experiences, it gives me hope.
How complicated is your case Ocean? Are you addressing a single issue or multiple?
 

Ocean

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#38
How complicated is your case Ocean? Are you addressing a single issue or multiple?[/QUOTE

My initial case was submitted Nov 2015 and I am addressing multiple issues. Each issue is related to the primary. The issues are straight forward...such as regulations not followed in my case.
 

eps17

PEB Forum Veteran
#39
Many in leadership roles in the military have no respect for our representatives? Please provide some proof.

Congressional interest simply ignored? What did you do to engage them?
 
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