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Areas of Practice » Military Law » Command Criminal Investigations » Command and AR 15-6 Invetigations

COMMAND AND CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS

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Command Investigations (CIs) are also known as informal investigations because they do not require a hearing for the investigative process. They are designed to search out, develop, analyze and record all available information related to and regarding the incident under scrutiny. CIs are the most frequently used of any military investigation and the concluding report must include Findings of Fact, Opinions, and Recommendations. They are not intended for any major incident, but rather smaller incidents. The conclusions of the report made by the investigator can be used to determine later legal actions.

When are Command Investigations used?

The goal of a Command Investigation is to find out who, what, where, when, how, and why an incident occurred. They are often used for many different reasons and generally take about a month from the date the investigation began. Only one member of the military is responsible for handling these types of investigations. Here is a list of things that Command Investigations handle:

  • Aircraft mishaps
  • Explosions
  • Issues related to ships
  • Fires
  • Loss of government funds
  • Firearm accidents
  • Security issues
  • Injury to service members

Command Investigations are not to handle what the military deems as "major" incidents. These types of incidents occur during the course of official duties. They are incidents where individuals may not maintain the expected level of judgment and leadership that they would have been accountable for if the situation permitted. CIs do not look into major events because of their complexity and the expansiveness of the events. Here are a few examples of things a CI would not handle:

  • Multiple deaths
  • Substantial property loss
  • Substantial harm to the environment

Should I be worried about a Command Investigation?

CIs are more or less a preliminary investigation into a particular event. They are not meant to act as legal action, but criminal litigation often arises as a result. Criminal investigations often occur due to the findings in a CI. If you know that you are the focus of a command investigation, you should seek the help of a defense attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you do so, the sooner you can prepare a defense if charges are brought against you. The CI of any unfavorable act by a member of the military may lead to an exposure of a criminal act. This could quickly spiral out of your control when you face a hearing and trial. A conviction of a military crime is serious, and remains with you for the rest of your life. Military penalties can have lasting effects in terms of career viability, both inside and outside of the military.