Letters of Concern in the ArmyJanuary 27, 2020
Often times, Commanders will issue a Soldier a “letter of concern.” While it sounds official and can be scary for those receiving it, it really is nothing to worry about.
A letter of concern is a written reprimand issued to a Soldier stating that a Commander is concerned about their conduct. Any level of Commander can write a letter of concern. The language is often very harsh and can make the Soldier receiving it seem very bad.
The only way a letter of concern can be placed in a Soldier’s official file (OMPF) is if a General Officer approves it. In order for this to happen, a Soldier will be given official notice that the reprimand might be placed in their OMPF and they will be afforded the opportunity to respond/make an argument that they should not have received it and/or it shouldn’t be placed in their OMPF.
Most of the time, if a Command wanted to place a reprimand in a Soldier’s OMPF, they would have referred to the reprimand as a General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand (GOMOR) and not a letter of concern. Therefore, 99 percent of the time, letters of concern only go in a Soldier’s counseling packet and are not uploaded into their OMPF. After a Soldier changes duty stations, the letter of concern is destroyed. Unless given a bad evaluation report because of said letter of concern (or the underlying conduct), it will have no effect on their future career.
Soldiers often get upset about receiving letters of concern; however, I always explain to them that they shouldn't worry about it. I used to take out a sticky note and write “I am concerned, from Attorney Barry.” I would tell them that my sticky note had the same effect on their life as the letter of concern they received from their Commander. Generally, if a Soldier is receiving a letter of concern, they have won. The Command tried to punish them, realized they were wrong, but still wanted to do something.
If a Soldier does receive a letter of concern, they should still consult with a military lawyer just to make sure they are ok.
This article was written by Attorney Matthew Barry