There are many actions that could result in a discharge from the military. Some of these actions are criminal in the civilian criminal codes, some fall under the Uniform Military Code of Justice (UCMJ) and some are simply behavior that jeopardizes a military member’s ability to do his or her job in a trustworthy fashion.
According to a recent article in USA Today online, the US Navy and the United States Marine Corps have been using administrative discharge procedures rather than courts martials to dismiss from duty service members involved in extremist activities.
Influencing the character of your discharge
Although the article seems to be citing these instances as a failure on the part of the military to properly punish racist and extremist activity, there are other important implications. If you have been charged with extremist activity, the administrative discharge could be a much more favorable approach for you than a court martial.
According to the USA Today article, a military branch would use administrative discharge over a court martial to expedite the process and minimize public exposure. These are valid reasons, and they could be tremendously helpful to you if you are facing a similar situation.
Being discharged under other than honorable (OTH) conditions, the harshest form of administrative discharge, would still be much better for you than a discharge resulting from a court martial. Not only is the process quicker, but you also will have much less of a negative report on your permanent record. This will allow you to still pursue post-military career opportunities more easily.
In many cases, a military branch will not pursue a court martial because a court martial involves a violation of the UCMJ, and not all extremist group involvement would rise to the level of a crime under the UCMJ. An administrative discharge is a much easier bar to clear, making the entire process simpler, cleaner and more efficient.
While it is important to fight against any type of discharge, it is also critical to influence the process whenever possible in the most advantageous way. If there is ample evidence of your involvement in extremist activity, you are probably going to be discharged one way or another. If possible, you will have a significant long-term advantage in the administrative discharge process.