The Office of Legal Policy is a matrixed office with both
policy and legal advisory responsibilities. For policy matters, the office reports to the Office of Under
Secretary of Defense, Personnel and Readiness, Office of the Executive Director. For legal issues, the office
reports to the Department of Defense’s Deputy General Counsel for Personnel and Health Policy.
Correction of Military/Naval Records
The Department of Defense encourages all Veterans who
believe they have suffered an error or injustice to request relief from their Military Department’s Board for
Correction of Military /Naval Records (BCM/NR) or Discharge Review Board (DRB).
past several years, the Department issued supplemental guidance for the correction of military records that
may involve post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), sexual assault, sexual
harassment, intimate partner violence, and spousal abuse that enhances the ability to correct past errors or
To request an upgrade
to your discharge or correction of your military/naval record:
believe they have suffered an error or injustice warranting a correction to their service record or who
believe their discharge was unjust, erroneous, or warrants an upgrade, are encouraged to apply to the review
For discharge upgrades, if the discharge was less than 15 years ago, the Veteran
should complete the DD Form 293 (https://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/DD/forms/dd/dd0293.pdf) and send it to
their Military Department DRB (the address is on the form).
For discharges over 15 years
ago or in cases already considered for upgrade and denied by the Military Department DRB, the veteran should
complete the DD Form 149 (https://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/DD/forms/dd/dd0149.pdf) and send it to
their Military Department’s BCM/NR (the address is on the form). For other corrections of records, veterans
should complete the DD Form 149 and submit their request to their Military Department’s BCM/NR (the address is
on the form).
If a veteran is unsure of how or where to apply for a discharge upgrade or
correction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, in partnership with the Department of Defense, provides
resources veterans can use to help with applications as well as provide personalized instructions in response
to a few simple questions on a publicly available website. (https://www.va.gov/resources/request-a-discharge-upgrade-or-correction/)
If you require additional assistance and qualify as a veteran, there are several
veterans’ service organizations and military service organizations that provide free representation in
Military Service review board cases, such as the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, the Order of
Purple Heart, or your local county Veteran Service Officer (https://www.va.gov/vso/VSO-Directory.pdf). These non-Federal advocacy groups require
advanced notice to prepare for your hearings so you should contact them as early in the process as possible to
to include in requests:
There are three keys to successful applications for
upgrade of discharge service characterization or correction of records. First, it is very important to explain
why your discharge or other record was unjust or erroneous. For example, how it is connected to or resulted
from, unjust policies, a physical or mental health condition related to military service, or some other
explainable or justifiable circumstance. Second, it is important to provide support, where applicable, for key
facts. If you have a relevant medical diagnosis, for example, it would be very helpful to include medical
records that reflect that diagnosis. Third, it is helpful, but not always required, to submit copies of your
applicable service records. The more information you provide, the better the Boards can understand the
circumstances of your discharge.
BCM/NRs are also authorized to grant relief on the
basis of clemency. Veterans who believe their post-service conduct and contributions to society support an
upgrade or correction should describe their post-service activity and provide any appropriate letters or other
documentation of support.
Personnel records for veterans who served after 1997 should be
accessible online and are usually retrievable within hours of a request through the Defense Personnel Records
Information Retrieval System (DPRIS). To obtain one’s personnel records from DPRIS, go to https://www.dpris.dod.mil/, then select “Individual
Veteran Access” on the left side of the website and follow the instructions. Veterans will need to register
for access and verify their current mailing address before requesting records. Those who served prior to 1997
or for whom electronic records are not available from DPRIS, can request their records from the National
Personnel Records Center using the eVetRecs website at: http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/.
For other information or assistance:
Military Whistleblower Reprisal Claims
The Military Whistleblower Protection Act (10 U.S.C. §
1034) prohibits retaliation against a member of the Armed Forces who makes, or is perceived as making, a
protected disclosure within the scope of the law to an authorized government recipient. It also prohibits
restricting a Service member from lawfully communicating with an Inspector General or a Member of Congress.
More information on what constitutes a whistleblower reprisal complaint and how to file
an initial whistleblower reprisal claim can be found at the Department of Defense’s Office of Inspector
General: Department of Defense Office of Inspector General > Components > Administrative Investigations >
Whistleblower Reprisal Investigations > Whisteblower Reprisal (dodig.mil)
member whose claim is found not to be substantiated by the Inspector General may file an appeal with the
relevant Board for Correction of Military Records or Board for Correction of Naval Records (BCM/NR) to
challenge an unfavorable outcome.
More information on the BCM/NR process can be found at:
If the relevant BCM/NR declines to provide relief on
the basis of the Service member’s whistleblower reprisal complaint, a final administrative appeal may be
made to the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness who acts on behalf of the Secretary of
The Office of Legal Policy accepts and reviews these appeals on behalf of the
Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.
No particular form is required
but the applicant’s request for relief should be sent to:
of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness
ATTENTION TO OFFICE OF LEGAL POLICY
4000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-4000
The request should include as
much documentation as possible, including any documents submitted to the IG and/or the relevant BCM/NR.