What You Need to Know About the New Discharge Appeal Review Board

What You Need to Know About the New Discharge Appeal Review Board
DoD photo

Some veterans who have exhausted all appeals with their service’s Discharge Review Board (DRB) will have one last chance at the DoD level to upgrade their discharge characterization, the Pentagon announced April 7.


The new Discharge Appeal Review Board (DARB) will be available to veterans with separation dates on or after Dec. 20, 2019, according to the DoD announcement.


Mandated by the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the DARB is the last level of administrative review. There are no provisions for further administrative appeal or reconsideration of recommendations by the DARB, or of the final action taken by the respective service secretary. The Air Force has been designated as lead agent to execute and operate the DARB process.


[RELATED: Army Reviewing Thousands of Discharges as Part of Lawsuit Settlement]


Individuals who believe their discharge or dismissal was unjust, erroneous, or warrants an upgrade are encouraged to apply for review. To learn more about the DARB and how to apply, visit the Air Force Review Board Agency Portal located at https://afrba-portal.cce.af.mil. Visit this link for a sample letter and other details.


The DARB is strictly a document review board. Any new evidence a petitioner wishes to introduce must first be reviewed and a determination made by the specific service review board.


If the DARB recommends the petitioner’s service characterization be upgraded, this recommendation will be sent to the secretary of the military department concerned for final action.


If a current or former servicemember is deceased or incapacitated, the surviving spouse, next of kin, or legal representative may apply on the servicemember’s behalf.


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About the Author

Capt. Paul J. Frost, AFC®, USN (Ret)
Capt. Paul J. Frost, AFC®, USN (Ret)

Frost co-leads MOAA's Financial and Benefits Education program and is also an accredited Veteran Service Officer (VSO), providing VA disability compensation claim and appeal information and advice to the military community.