Army OER Appeal Process and Tips

I truly believe that all Army Officers should educate themselves about the Army OER Appeal Process.  If you make a career out of the Army, there’s a small chance you could get a bad OER.  Of course, if you are truly a squared away officer this is highly unlikely.  But, sometimes mistakes do happen.  Or, one of your peers or subordinates might get a bad OER and come to you for advice about the appeal process.  In either case, you should know the rules and procedures for appealing an OER.

With close to 12 years as an Active Duty and Army National Guard Officer, I’d like to share a few tips of advice with you about the appeal process.

Tip # 1 Read AR 623-3, Chapter III

This is the official Army Regulation pertaining to the Army OER Appeal process.  Spend an hour or two reading through this document to see what you can appeal, what rights you have, and what the process is.  This should answer 95% of your questions about the process.  I consider it the “appeal bible.”  If you don’t have a copy of this regulation, just do an Internet search for “AR 623-3, Chapter 3” and you will find it.

Tip # 2 Contact JAG or a Trusted Peer

The next thing you can do is contact JAG or a trusted peer to get additional advice.  Sometimes it helps to get advice from a qualified individual who is on the outside looking in.  They will have less “emotions” attached to the event and should be able to give you constructive advice about whether you have a valid claim.

Tip # 3 Talk to Your Supervisor and Senior Rater

Before you begin the appeal process, you might consider sitting down with your rater and senior rater in private to talk with them.  If they do not have any supporting documentation to validate the bad OER, ask them how they arrived at their decision.  Try to see things from their perspective, if possible.

Tip # 4 Sleep on It

I’ve never personally met anyone who received a bad OER who thought they deserved it.  One of the best things you can do is be honest with yourself.  Take a day or two and sleep on it before you start with the process.  Ask yourself if what they wrote in the OER is true?  If it is, you might want to reconsider your appeal.  In addition, if your rater and senior rater have lots of supporting documentation (counseling) to support your OER, you should also reconsider.  In either case, wait a day or two until your emotions cool off and then make a logical decision.

Tip # 5 Make a Decision

The final tip is to make a decision as to whether or not your Army OER Appeal is worth it.  After you read the regulation, consult with JAG, talk with your supervisors, and sleep on it, you will know what the right course of action is.  If you decide to go ahead with the appeal, get started and follow through with it until it is done.

Final Thoughts

In summary, these are my best tips on the Army OER Appeal process.  I hope you find the information helpful.  And I hope you never get a bad OER, but if you do, you now know what you will need to do.

Is there any added tips you can provide? Have you ever appealed a bad OER? Tell us more if you feel comfortable doing so.  Thank you and have a great day.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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7 thoughts on “Army OER Appeal Process and Tips”

  1. I think this is a wonderful post and full of good tips. Recently, one of my peers had received an OER that he wanted to appeal. Needless to say, he did not do some in a professional manner and ended up making his situation worse than it was before (i.e. his relationship with the Commander). Too bad he did not read this article prior to putting pen to paper…

    1. You really need to have your act together when you try to appeal an OER. You need to educate yourself on the process and you have to decide whether or not it is worth the risk/reward factor. Like you said, it can backfire if you don’t go about it right. I’ve never met anyone who thought THEY deserved a bad OER, but the truth is there is normally a good reason that someone gets a bad report. Just my thoughts.

  2. The information above is helpful. However it does not give any assistance with writing appeal statements, supporting documents, or anything needed for the process. Actually helping with that would be better. Just as the S1 rep stated alot of people submit but never get approved because of the lack of guidance on the subject.

  3. Great post here Chuck. I can tell you that appealing an OER is very tough and time consuming. You need to have a good paper trail and be organized. I work in the S1 Shop and I’ve seen about 10 soldiers try to appeal an OER during my career. Not one of them won their case.

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