Conscientious Objector Part D

WarningTo be sure that you understand the regulations correctly, call the GI Rights Hotline or contact a GI Rights Network branch.

Chapter 1

1-5. Policy

a. Personnel who qualify as conscientious objectors under this regulation will be classified as such, consistent with the effectiveness and efficiency of the Army. However, requests by personnel for qualification as a conscientious objector after entering military service will not be favorably considered when these requests are

(1) Based on a claim of conscientious objection that existed and satisfied the requirements for classification as a conscientious objector according to section 6(j) of the Military Selective Service Act, as amended (50 USC, App 456(j)), and other provisions of law when such a claim was not presented before dispatch of the notice of induction, enlistment, or appointment. Claims based on conscientious objection growing out of experiences before entering military service, however, which did not become fixed until after the persons entry into the service, will be considered.

(2) Based solely on conscientious objection claimed and denied on their merits by the Selective Service System before induction when application under this regulation is based on substantially the same grounds, or supported by substantially the same evidence, as the request that was denied under the Selective Service System. …

(3) Based solely upon policy, pragmatism, or expediency. Applicants who are otherwise eligible for conscientious objector status may not be denied that status simply because of their views on the nations domestic or foreign policies.

(4) Based on objection to a certain war.

(5) Based upon insincerity.

(a) The most important consideration is not whether applicants are sincere in wanting to be designated as a conscientious objector, but whether their asserted convictions are sincerely held. Sincerity is determined by an impartial evaluation of each persons thinking and living in totality, past and present. The conduct of persons, in particular their outward manifestation of the beliefs asserted, will be carefully examined and given substantial weight in evaluating their application.

(b) Relevant factors that should be considered in determining a persons claim of conscientious objection include training in the home and church; general demeanor and pattern of conduct; participation in religious activities; whether ethical or moral convictions were gained through training, study, contemplation, or other activity comparable in rigor and dedication to the processes by which traditional religious convictions are formulated; credibility of persons supporting the claim.

(c) Applicants may have sought release from the Army through several means simultaneously, or in rapid succession (medical or hardship discharge, and so forth). They may have some major commitments during the time their beliefs were developing that are inconsistent with their claim. They may have applied for conscientious objector status shortly after becoming aware of the prospect of undesirable or hazardous duty or having been rejected for a special program. The timing of their application alone, however, is never enough to furnish a basis in fact to support a disapproval. These examples serve merely as indicators that further inquiry as to the persons sincerity is warranted. Recommendations for disapproval should be supported by additional evidence beyond these indicators.

b. Care must be exercised not to deny the existence of beliefs simply because those beliefs are incompatible with ones own. Church membership or adherence to certain theological tenets are not required to warrant separation or assignment to noncombatant training and service. Mere affiliation with a church or other group that advocates conscientious objection as a tenet of its creed does not necessarily determine a persons position or belief. Conversely, affiliation with a church group that does not teach conscientious objection does not necessarily rule out adherence to conscientious objection beliefs. Applicants may be or may have been a member of a church, religious organization, or religious sect; and the claim of conscientious objection may be related to such membership. If so, inquiry may be made as to their membership, the teaching of their church, religious organization or sect, as well as their religious activity. However, the fact that these persons may disagree with, or not subscribe to, some of the tenets of their church does not necessarily discredit their claim. The personal convictions of each person will dominate so long as they derive from the persons moral, ethical, or religious beliefs. The task is to decide whether the beliefs professed are sincerely held and whether they govern the claimant’s actions in word and deed.

c. The burden of establishing a claim of conscientious objection as grounds for separation or assignment to noncombatant training and service is on the applicant. To this end, applicants must establish, by clear and convincing evidence, that the nature or basis of the claim comes within the definition of criteria prescribed in this regulation for conscientious objection and that their beliefs are sincere. Applicants have the burden of determining and setting forth the exact nature of the request; that is, whether they request separation based on conscientious objection (1-0) or reassignment to noncombatant training and service based on conscientious objection (1-A-0).

d. An applicant claiming (1-0) status will not be granted (1-A-0) status as a compromise. Similarly, discharge will not be recommended for those who apply for classification as a noncombatant.

Chapter 2
Applying for Conscientious Objector Status

2-1. Application

a. Military personnel who seek either discharge or assignment to noncombatant duties because of conscientious objection will submit an application on DA Form 4187 (Personnel Action) to their immediate commanding officer. Personnel will indicate whether they are seeking discharge or assignment to noncombatant duties. Applications must also include all of the personal information required by appendix B, and any other information personnel desire to submit. …

2-3. Interviewing applicants

a. The interviewing chaplain may be from any component of the Armed Forces but not assigned to an Active or Inactive Control Group.

(1) Before interviewing applicants, the chaplain will advise them that any communication between the applicant and the chaplain will not be privileged since a detailed report of the interview will become a part of the application for consideration in the adjudication process. Thus, if the applicant has established a relationship of confidentiality (counseling) with a chaplain, a different chaplain will conduct the interview. This provision does not prevent an applicant from soliciting a letter to support the claim from anyone he or she chooses.

(2) The interviewing chaplain will submit a detailed report of the interview to the commander. This report will include comments on the following:

(a) Nature and basis of the persons claim.

(b) Opinion on the source of the beliefs.

(c) Sincerity and depth or lack of conviction.

(d) Appropriate comments of the persons demeanor and lifestyle as they bear on the claim.

(e) Specific reasons for the chaplains conclusions.

(f) If it is felt that the applicant is insincere in his or her beliefs or his or her lifestyle is incongruent with the claim, statements to this effect should be documented in this report.

(g) If the applicant refuses to be interviewed by a chaplain, the chaplain will submit a report explaining the circumstances. Appropriate comments on the applicant’s demeanor as it bears on the claim will be included.

(h) No recommendation for approval or disapproval of the application will be made by the chaplain.

b. The applicant will also be interviewed by a psychiatrist (or other medical officer if a psychiatrist is not available) who may be from any component of the Armed Forces. The psychiatrist will submit a mental status examination report indicating the presence or absence of any psychiatric disorder that would warrant treatment or disposition through medical channels, or such a personality disorder as to warrant recommendation for appropriate administrative action. No information obtained from the applicant, during the evaluation, or any matter derived from the evaluation, will be made available outside medical channels except as needed for processing the person for further mental evaluation or discharge for medical reasons. …

2-5. Conducting investigations

a. The investigating officer will conduct a hearing on the application. The person will be notified in writing as to the time and place the hearing will be held. The persons receipt of the notice should be acknowledged by his or her signature and the date of the receipt on the letter of notification. A copy of the notification will be attached to the hearing record.

b. The hearing may be delayed for good cause at the persons request. However, if the person fails to appear at the stated time and place for the hearing, the person will be deemed to have waived his or her appearance and the investigating officer may proceed in the persons absence. If the person fails to appear through no fault of his or her own, the hearing will be rescheduled.

c. The person may not wish a hearing on his or her application. If so, the person may waive his or her right to a hearing by executing a statement to the effect at figure 2-4.

d. The execution of a waiver of a hearing does not waive the requirement for an investigating officer. Regardless of the desires of the person, an investigating officer will be appointed to comply with the requirements described in this regulation.


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