Is an Article 15 Permanent? Understanding Military Record Impacts

by | Uncategorized | 1 comment

Facing an Article 15 can be a stressful experience, and you’re likely concerned about its long-term impact on your military career. It’s crucial to understand how non-judicial punishments like these are recorded and what that means for your future.

You might be wondering if an Article 15 is a permanent mark against you or if it’s something that can fade with time. In the coming sections, we’ll dive into the details of how Article 15s are documented and the steps you can take to minimize their effects.

How is an Article 15 recorded?

When you’re facing an Article 15, it’s crucial to know exactly how these records are kept. The recording process for an Article 15 varies based on the severity of the offense and the commanding officer’s discretion.

For minor infractions, an Article 15 may be filed in your local service record, which means it’s not visible to other units if you transfer. This type of recording is often referred to as a local filing.

In contrast, more serious offenses may result in a permanent filing in your Official Military Personnel File (OMPF). Your OMPF is accessible across the Department of Defense and can impact future assignments, promotions, and even transitions into civilian life.

  • Local Filing: Typically removed after a certain period, usually one to two years, assuming good conduct following the incident.
  • Permanent Filing: Remains in your OMPF and is considered during reviews for security clearances and promotions.

It’s important to note that the decision for a local or permanent filing rests with your unit’s commander and is often made based on your history and the offense’s nature.

Records management in the military is a process governed by strict regulations. Your right to privacy is balanced with the military’s need to maintain good order and discipline. All records of non-judicial punishments like Article 15s are subject to these regulations.

If you’re concerned about an Article 15 in your record, being proactive about your military career is advisable. Seeking guidance from your superior or a legal advisor within the military can give you insights into the recording process and help you navigate the potential outcomes. Understanding and mitigating the impacts of an Article 15 require awareness of how these infractions are documented and managed over time, ensuring you’re prepared for any hurdles that might come your way.

Is an Article 15 permanent?

When you’re navigating the complexities of military documentation, understanding the permanence of an Article 15 is crucial. It’s not always a straightforward answer, as the duration an Article 15 stays on your record can vary significantly. Typically, the permanence of this action hinges on the severity of the offense and the commander’s discretion in filing it.

In the case of minor offenses, commanders often opt for a local filing. These local files are essentially a way for the unit to keep track of behavior without marking your record permanently. If you transfer to a new unit, the documentation doesn’t usually follow. However, local filings aren’t entirely out of sight. They can be referenced for up to two years, should similar infractions occur.

For more serious offenses, commanders may go a step further with a permanent filing. This type of filing enters your Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) and can follow you throughout your military career. The implications of a permanent record mean that it may be visible during promotion boards, affecting your advancement opportunities. It’s important to note, however, even a permanent Article 15 is not necessarily a life sentence on your record.

  • At the 15-year mark, your record is subject to a review process through the Military Services Records Review Boards.
  • You have the opportunity to request removal of the Article 15 from your permanent file, provided significant time has passed and your conduct has been exemplary.
  • The boards evaluate the request on a case-by-case basis, emphasizing fairness and the importance of maintaining high standards within the ranks.

Understanding your rights and resources when faced with an Article 15 is paramount. Legal counsel can offer guidance through the Military Justice system, helping you to appeal a permanent filing or request its eventual removal. Meanwhile, maintaining a clean record post-incident can benefit your request for review and prove your commitment to upholding military standards. Always seek professional advice and be proactive in managing your military career to mitigate any potential long-term impacts of an Article 15.

How long does an Article 15 stay on your record?

When you’re facing an Article 15, it’s essential to know the specifics of the duration it will remain on your military record. This varies and is contingent on several factors, including the type of filing that is determined in your case.

For minor offenses, a local filing is most common. A local filing means the Article 15 will be retained at your unit and will not follow you if you transfer. However, it is accessible for reference for a period of up to two years. It’s possible after this period for the file to be destroyed, given that no further incidents occur.

When dealing with more serious offenses, the Article 15 becomes part of your OMPF. This can significantly impact your military career, as the OMPF is a central repository of your service record and is accessible by military personnel management. An entry in the OMPF may lead to repercussions such as reduced promotion prospects and can be particularly detrimental if you’re seeking positions of higher responsibility or clearances.

However, there’s a silver lining even with permanent filings. After 15 years, you can request a review of your OMPF, at which point the Article 15 may be removed from your record, especially if your service has been incident-free since the infraction.

For those meticulous about their career, understanding the longevity of an Article 15 can be key to future planning. Be proactive and consult with a military legal expert to explore the possibilities of reducing the offense’s period on your record. Legal counsel could also provide guidance on how to ensure your record accurately reflects your service and conduct.

Remember, your military career doesn’t have to be defined by a single misstep. With the right information and advocacy, you can influence how an Article 15 affects your professional future.

Can an Article 15 be removed from your record?

Understanding the options for removing an Article 15 from your record is crucial if you’re seeking to clear your military history. The good news is that removal is possible, but it hinges upon certain conditions and the nature of the offense.

For an Article 15 that’s filed locally, you have the advantage of its automatic removal after two years, provided no further misconduct occurs. This period allows you to demonstrate good conduct and can be seen as a second chance to maintain a clean slate.

If your Article 15 is filed in the OMPF, the path to removal is more complex. You can apply for removal via board review, which typically happens at the 15-year mark. To improve your chances during this review, showing continuous good behavior and obtaining a spotless record post-infraction is essential.

Initiating an appeal for removal before the 15-year review involves submitting a request to the Army Board for Correction of Military Records (ABCMR) or the equivalent for other service branches. When lodging your appeal, consider these key factors to enhance your case:

  • Consistent and excellent service record
  • Performance evaluations demonstrating rehabilitation
  • Statements from commanding officers
  • Any evidence of post-service good character

While each case is reviewed on its merits, significant effort toward rehabilitation and positive contributions to your unit could sway the decision in your favor. However, remember that the removal process is at the discretion of the board, and there are no guarantees.

Active duty service members or veterans attempting to expunge an Article 15 should gather all relevant documentation and testimony to build a convincing appeal. Seeking legal counsel experienced with military law is also a wise step to navigate the intricacies involved.


Navigating the complexities of an Article 15 on your record requires understanding its potential longevity and the pathways to removal. You’ve got options, whether it’s waiting out the automatic removal period for minor infractions or proactively seeking expungement for more serious ones. Remember, demonstrating a pattern of good conduct and securing a clean record post-incident are key to a successful appeal. Don’t hesitate to seek expert legal advice to bolster your case. Your military career doesn’t have to be defined by a past mistake if you take the right steps toward clearing your record.


post page form.


Next Steps: Sync an Email Add-On

To get the most out of your form, we suggest that you sync this form with an email add-on. To learn more about your email add-on options, visit the following page ( Important: Delete this tip before you publish the form.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.