DU Legal Authorities
The “Kurta Memo,” issued by the Under Secretary of Defense on August 25, 2017, expands protections for veterans whose adverse discharges were a result of the “invisible wounds” of mental illness and/or sexual trauma. The memo is the latest effort by DoD leaders to achieve uniformity across the various Discharge Review Boards (DRBs) and Boards for Correction of Military/Naval Records (BCM/NRs). It advises the Boards to “afford each veteran a reasonable opportunity for relief…” when the veteran’s misconduct was prompted by mental illness and/or sexual trauma. This memo is good news for our clients because it enhances the protections afforded by recent DoD memos and Congressional Acts.
The “Carson Memo” (Feb. 24, 2016) – The memo encouraged BCM/NRs to “renew and re-double [their] efforts” on behalf of veterans with PTSD. The memo afforded veterans two new protections: 1. a complete waiver of the statute of limitations when “…applicable and bars consideration” of the DU application, and 2. de novo review of cases previously considered by BCMRs or DRBs without the benefit of the Hagel memo guidance.
The National Defense Authorization Act of 2017 (Dec. 23, 2016) – The Act placed new requirements on BCM/NRs and DRBs, and afforded veterans several new protections, including: 1. BCMRs and DRBs must make DU claim and disposition data available each quarter [Sec. 533], and 2. DRBs must accept VA/civilian medical evidence and afford veterans with PTSD “liberal consideration” [Sec. 535].