1. WHAT IS THE BASIS FOR A CHAPTER 9? Discharge is based on alcohol or other drug abuse or substance abuse such as the illegal, wrongful, or improper use of any controlled substance.
Action will be taken to separate a member when it is clearly established that:
a. Despite attempts to rehabilitate the soldier while enrolled in the Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP), further efforts are unlikely to succeed; and
b. The commander determines that further rehabilitation efforts are not practical, thus declaring the soldier a rehab failure.
2. WHAT MUST THE COMMANDER DO BEFORE THEY CAN INITIATE A CHAPTER 9 FOR AN ASAP REHABILITATION FAILURE? The following must take place, unless waived under special circumstances.
a. The soldier must be formally enrolled in ASAP for substance abuse.
b. The soldier refuses to participate in the program.
c. The soldier doesn’t satisfactory complete the ASAP program.
d. The soldier lacks potential in the military due to an alcohol, drug, or other substance abuse problem.
e. If long-term rehabilitation is necessary at a civilian institute.
There is nothing in Chapter 9, AR 635-200, that prevents a separation under a different section if the case should arise.
3. PROCEDURES. The unit commander forwards the packet to the intermediate commander, who can either disapprove the unit commander’s discharge request and direct reassignment, or forward the packet recommending approval. If a soldier has six or more years in the service, the approving authority can convene a board of officers and enlisted to hear the case and make recommendations on retention and type of discharge. The approval authority has the discretion to suspend the discharge for up to six months to give the soldier a chance to rehabilitate himself/herself. Accrued leave at time of discharge is governed by AR 630-5.
4. WHAT ARE YOUR RIGHTS?
a. You have the right to consult with a military defense counsel within a reasonable time, or civilian counsel at your own expense.
b. You have a right to submit statements on your own behalf.
c. You have a right to obtain copies of documents which your commander will forward in support of his separation recommendation.
d. If you have six or more years in the active service you have a right to an Administrative separation Board.
e. You have a right to waive the above rights in writing. Failure to respond in seven days (not signing the form) means you give up all your rights.
5. TYPE OF DISCHARGE. Members separated under this program will normally be given either an Honorable or a General, Under Honorable Conditions Discharge Certificate (Para 9-4, AR 635-200).
a. Honorable: An honorable discharge will be given for proper military behavior and proficient performance of duty. If the soldier has served faithfully and performed to the best of his ability, and there is no derogatory information in his military record, he should receive an honorable discharge. If there are infractions of discipline, the seriousness and frequency will be evaluated. When there is a doubt, it should be resolved in favor of the honorable discharge. It is the pattern of behavior, not the isolated incident, that is important.
b. General: This is a discharge of separation under honorable conditions. A general discharge is given to a soldier whose record and performance is satisfactory. This is usually given to someone who had frequent non-judicial punishments but not for serious infractions. when this type of discharge is issued, the commander must state the specific basis for it.
6. EFFECT OF DIFFERENT KINDS OF DISCHARGES. At the present time, the only people eligible for educational benefits are those that are issued an Honorable Discharge Certificate and that serve on Active duty for a specified amount of time. For other veteran’s benefits and programs, the military gives the same entitlements for both an honorable discharge and a general discharge under honorable conditions. With either discharge, veteran’s benefits depend on the length of service and other factors. The eligibility for all other benefits are to be determined by the agency assigned to oversee such benefits.
7. TIMING OF SEPARATION: You will be separated as soon as possible. Note: Any misconduct committed after discharge is approved, but before separation (approximately 10 working days after approval by the separation authority), can still be prosecuted.
8. HOW TO FIGHT BACK IF YOU DID NOT WANT THE DISCHARGE OR IF YOU WANT AN HONORABLE INSTEAD OF A GENERAL DISCHARGE; The main way of opposing the discharge if you have less than six years of service is with statements. You may also request a personal interview with the separation authority, but he does not have to grant you one.
You can submit a statement that you write yourself, stating your side of the negative information that your commander has compiled, and respectfully stating why you want to stay in the Army or why you believe you should be given an honorable discharge. If you have requested a reassignment and been denied it, you should mention this too. You should include a positive statement about the Army.
Statements from supervisors and co-workers are also very important. If you are opposing the discharge, statements should address the negative items in your packet, and address the areas covered in paragraph 1, the basis for the action. The statements should specifically and directly comment on whether these factors are true of you. Hopefully, the supervisors will also recommend that you be retained on active duty or that you receive an honorable discharge if you are separated from the service. You should keep copies of all such letters you get because you can use them in an attempt to have your discharge upgraded, if necessary
If you are seeking an honorable discharge, the statements should specifically and directly comment on the factors listed in paragraph 5 regarding “types of discharges.” Also include copies of any good certificates, letters or awards. If your discharge is approved and you still wish to stay in the Army, you should write a letter to the Separation Authority requesting that the execution of the discharge be suspended for six (6) months so that you can prove your ability and commitment to soldier back into the Army.