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Washington D.C. Command Directed Investigations Attorneys

What are Command Directed Investigations?

Command Directed Investigations (CDIs) are exactly that. CDIs are investigations ordered by commanders to look into issues arising within the command. Each service has its own rules for when and how CDIs will be used, for example in the Army such investigations are controlled by Army Regulation 15-6. Despite the differences, CDIs have many common features. The authority to order an investigation is inherent to command. Commanders have the broad authority and discretion to order investigations concerning matters under their command. This can involve issues from missing or damaged government property to allegations of favoritism.

How are CDIs conducted?

Commanders or other authority appoints an investigating officer (IO) tasked with investigating specific issues or allegations. The IO must be of equal or higher rank than the person (subject) being investigated. The IO usually is someone who works for the commander but could be from another command. IOs are usually not experienced investigators. Instead, they will likely be from the same military occupation as the commander such as a pilot, infantry officer or medical officer for example. The IO does receive some training and advice from the legal office but will still likely be a novice investigator.

The IO will interview witnesses including the subject of the investigation and examine and collect other evidence. The IO should access the credibility of witnesses, but unlike experienced criminal investigators, they will often have difficulty doing so. Based on the investigation the IO will make findings and recommendations. The findings should determine by a preponderance of the evidence whether an allegation is substantiated or not. These findings will be reviewed by the legal office and provided to the commander who ordered the investigation. The commander is not bound by the findings or recommendations and has vast discretion on how to proceed.

Are there any limits on what CDIs can investigate?

There are limits on what CDIs can be used to investigate. Again, each service has different guidance on the use of CDIs. The Air Force has fairly specific criteria for what subjects are proper for a CDI:

  • CDI should be used when another investigative channel does not exist or is not suitable.
  • CDI should not be used for allegations that likely would result in a court-martial.
  • CDIs cannot be used for allegations of reprisal or restricting access to the IG or Congress.
  • CDIs should not be used to resolve complaints made to the IG.
  • CDIs should not be used for allegations of Privacy Act violations.
  • CDIs cannot be used to investigate allegations of official misconduct by senior officials (O-7 and above or SES)
  • CDIs cannot be used to investigate allegations of sexual assault or domestic abuse.

What if I am notified that I am a witness or subject of investigation?

If a subject of an investigation, you should contact an attorney before answering any questions. Results of CDIs and AR 15-6s are often used in career ending adverse actions. The consequences of an adverse investigation can be severe. Both witnesses and subjects have a right to consult with an attorney before meeting with an IO. If either are advised they are suspected of an offense and read their rights, they have a right to have their attorney present during any questioning. In certain cases, union members may have their representative present during any questioning.

Do I have to testify if an IO asks to interview me?

Active duty members can be forced to answer questions from an IO as can DoD employees. Retirees cannot be forced to unless recalled to active duty, nor can civilians. Members of the Guard and Reserve can only be forced to cooperate if in an active status.

The results of CDIs can and are used frequently to deny promotions, downgrade performance reports, administer nonjudicial punishment and reprimands, serve as a basis for involuntary discharge, make grade determinations at retirement and in some cases for bringing charges at a court-martial. Because of the serious potential consequences, it is usually in a person’s best interest to speak with an experience attorney before speaking with an IO.

Solomon Law Firm, PLLC - Helping You Navigate Through Command Directives Investigations

Are you facing a challenging command-directed investigation case in the military? Don't navigate the legal complexities alone. It's time to take action and secure the expertise of Solomon Law Firm, PLLC. Our dedicated team of experienced attorneys is ready to vigorously defend your rights and fight for you. With our profound understanding of military law and unwavering commitment to our clients, we will craft a strategic defense tailored to your specific situation. CallSolomon Law Firm, PLLC today and let us be your staunch advocates in this challenging time.

Send us a message or call (866) 833-3529 and let us fight for you in your military case.


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