The Chapman University of Military Law and its associated AMVETS Legal Clinic are blowing the whistle on what they say is an injustice set to be perpetrated on 157 Air Force majors on the last day of November.
“The Obama administration has ordered massive reductions in forces, resulting in many officers who are near retirement being involuntarily separated without retirement or medical benefits,” explained institute director Maj. Kyndra Rotunda.
The Department of Defense specifies that service members within six years of retirement normally would be retained and allowed to retire on time with benefits, unless extenuating circumstances exist such as disciplinary issues.
According to lawyers at Chapman and the AMVETS Legal Clinic, the Air Force has deviated from the six-year protection “without any legal authority.”
“At the heart of the matter, is whether the Secretary of the Air Force [Michael Donley] can ignore protections that exist in governing regulations,” Rotunda told The Daily Caller. “The Air Force position is that yes, he may. Our position is that nobody is above the law.”
According to an Air Force spokesman, officers who fail to get a promotion two times in a row are subject to involuntary discharge — unless they are within two years of qualifying for retirement. Officers subject to discharge under what the Air Force calls “selective continuation” are almost always retained until retirement if they appeal for continuation to a selection board, are within six years or less from retirement and have no disciplinary issues or negative information on their records.
However, according to the spokesman Air Force Secretary Donley can deviate from the Department of Defense policy provided he notifies the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.
Maj. Rotunda disagrees:
Despite the Air Forces’ assertion that the dismissals have been kosher, Rotunda noted that based on the Defense Department’s Instruction 1320.08, “derogatory information” is the only reason officers should be terminated, and that budget shortfalls are not one of the instances.
“The Air Force cites budgetary short falls as the reason to terminate them. But that rationale is nowhere mentioned in the regulation,” Rotunda told TheDC. “In this instant, the officers being separated are within six years of retirement and their records do not contain derogatory information. Thus, they should be allowed to remain in service and retire. The defense department’s own regulation does not authorize what the defense department is doing. The Airmen relied on the law when they entered service and now the Secretary wants to change that law, without authority.”
According to the Air Force Times, this kind of termination without disciplinary infractions or other derogatory information is almost unheard of even in peacetime, let alone when the country is involved in hostilities.
The DC Caller article cites the case of one of the officers in question,Major Kale Mosley, a combat pilot who is just six months shy of getting his 20 years in. He served in 13 combat zones and was recently deployed in Libya with only 30 hours notice, after which he was sent to Iraq.
Major Mosley received notice of his dismissal from the Air Force the same day he arrived in Iraq.
Had this happened to someone working for a private company, does anyone doubt that the Obama Administration's Department of Justice would be filing a lawsuit in record time?
( H/T American Thinker)