Release
Immediate Release

DOD Announces New Discharge Appeal Review Board Option

April 7, 2021

Today, the Department of Defense (DOD) announced a new board of appeals for Service members with separation dates on or after December 20, 2019. The Discharge Appeal Review Board (DARB) will provide final review of discharge or dismissal characterization upgrade requests when petitioners have exhausted all available administrative remedies.

Any DOD Service member separated on or after December 20, 2019, who has exhausted all available appeals with the appropriate Service Discharge Review Board (DRB) and Board for Correction of Military/Naval Records (BCM/NR), may apply to the DARB. If a current or former Service member is deceased or incapacitated, the surviving spouse, next of kin, or legal representative may apply on their behalf. The DARB is a document review board with no provision for personal appearances. Only records from the Service BCM/NR case file will be reviewed. Any petitioner wishing to present new evidence must first submit a reconsideration request to, and receive a decision from, their Service BCM/NR before that new evidence may be considered. If the DARB recommends that the petitioner’s service characterization be upgraded, this recommendation will be transmitted to the Secretary of the Military Department concerned for final action.

The DARB was created by Congress in the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, and is the final level of administrative review provided by the Department. There are no provisions for further administrative appeal or reconsideration of recommendations by the DARB, or of the Secretaries’ final action. The DOD has designated the Air Force as lead agent to execute and operate the DARB process. 

The DOD has sent information about the DARB, including guidance for members who wish to apply for reconsideration, to Veterans Service Organizations and Military Service Organizations in order to reach as many potential applicants as possible. 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 for review, visit the Air Force Review Board Agency Portal located at https://afrba-portal.cce.af.mil.