An overview of the various types of military investigations
What to expect
Military members can be investigated in a variety of ways. While civilian authorities can investigate military members just like ordinary citizens, the military also has a number of ways to conduct its own unique investigations.
Law Enforcement Investigations
Every military branch has their own law enforcement organizations. They all have their own military police/security forces that handle day-to-day base security; these entities often investigate minor offenses that are similar to civilian misdemeanors (e.g., traffic offenses and minor drug offenses). Every branch also has a law enforcement organization devoted to investigating serious criminal offenses, e.g., sexual assault. These organizations include Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID), Coast Guard or Naval Criminal Investigative Service (CGIS or NCIS), and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI). All of these organizations can and do frequently investigate military members.
Command / Administrative Investigations
The command also has the ability to investigate military members, independent of law enforcement involvement. These are often referred to interchangeably as “command” or “administrative” investigations. An example of this is the common “15-6” in the Army, which is conducted pursuant to Army Regulation 15-6, Procedures for Administrative Investigations and Boards of Officers. All the services have an equivalent. These investigations tend to be limited in subject matter, as certain conduct is excluded from their jurisdiction. But the investigations can still be extremely stressful to a military member, wide-reaching within the workplace, and oftentimes lacking in procedural due process. Make no mistake—these types of investigations can be career ending.
Facing any investigation can be overwhelming. Sometimes things move extremely fast and it’s like a blur. Other times, things move painfully slow and foster crippling anxiety. No matter what, it is important to have someone in your corner who you can trust. Someone who can advocate for you. And someone who isn’t afraid to stand-up against long odds.
As a former active duty JAG officer and two-time defense counsel in the Air Force, Ross Brennan at Cronauer Law is a seasoned advocate in defending military members in investigations. Contact Cronauer Law today for a free consultation with an experienced military criminal defense attorney.
To learn more, see these related links: