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Feb 22, 2012



The above should have been in two bullets:

- Submitting a case: Writing an application is time-consuming. ...[see rest of above]

- Winning a case: Even when you are in the right, the applicant can lose on technicalities (or by the organization simply introducing confusion into the case). The Advisory Opinion can misstate the facts, such as a date-change in their description of the facts that is actually completely wrong yet is used to interpret policy in a way to cause a Disapproval recommendation. Advisory Opinions don't use citations; none of their own attachments and without citations to the original. Why do they get to be so sloppy? Yet, they are probably given automatic creditabity.


“Officials from DODIG, the service IGs, and the BCMRs indicated that they did not know the exact reason why so few servicemembers with substantiated reprisal allegations apply for relief.”

Likely reason is the under-manning of Area Defense Council offices. Wright-Patt is a HUGH installation, yet an extremely small staff to assist with a BCMR. Further, they PCS (or in one case, go on maternity leave) without transferring the case to continued action.

To write an effective BCMR application can be a challenge. Especially true for any rank below FGO. Consider that the applicant, writing it themself without legal training nor with Command-level training, has to figure out both format and content. Then, a Service agency gets to write a Advisory Opinion, that will be signed by at least an upper FGO. That is an intimidating prospect. Meanwhile, if the time taken to write a BCMR, that takes away time for other needed career-enhancement activities: e.g. SOS/ACSC/etc.

- Submitting a case: Writing an application is time-consuming. Difficult and intimidating to do so without assistance. ADC too busy since under-staffed; BCMRs are low priority. (Defending clients is, appropriately, higher priority). Solution: Enable augmentation of the ADC, yet at no increase to Service AD billets, by allowing payment of attorney fees to winning cases. The added costs of the attorney fee payments would be neutralized compared to the higher costs of (i) time-delayed winning cases that cause retroactive payments with interest and (ii) court judgements, for these few who can afford to take a BCMR loss to Federal Court and then you CAN get attorney fee payments.

b) Especially when sophistry can be used to confuse the facts, winning a BCMR is a high hurdle. If/When the case is later won, the cost to the Service and Taxpayer are unnecessarily high.

Sharon Nicodemus

Full protection for whistleblowers is at the heart of what democracy is.

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