Resignation in Lieu of EliminationNovember 23, 2020
A resignation is lieu of elimination, or RILOE, is an option available to Officers who are pending involuntary separation from the Service. Essentially, after a Command or Service initiates elimination against an Officer, he/she has several options. One of those options is to submit a RILOE.
Submitting such a request allows an Officer to "resign" from the Service as opposed to being "eliminated." The general theory is that outside employers will look more favorably upon an Officer who resigned as opposed to one who was eliminated. Something that is important to remember is that if an Officer submits a resignation in lieu of elimination, he/she can still receive a General, under Honorable Conditions, or Other than Honorable Discharge.
A common misconception is that if an Officer submits a resignation in lieu of elimination, he/she will have a completely normal DD214. This is incorrect. The Officer's DD214 will still cite the underlying reasons for elimination for the narrative reason for separation and will have the same separation code as if the Officer was "eliminated" as opposed to "resigning." Typically, an Officer who is facing elimination for misconduct will receive a narrative reason for separation of "unacceptable conduct" and a separation code of "BNC." This is regardless of whether the Officer had an approved RILOE or whether the officer was eliminated through the normal process.
This begs the question, why would any Officer ever submit a resignation in lieu of elimination? One reason is that an Officer can agree to waive their board of inquiry (therefore saving the Government a lot of time and effort), conditional on him/her receiving a certain characterization of discharge. This is called a conditional resignation in lieu of elimination. For example, an Officer facing elimination can submit a resignation (therefore waiving their board of inquiry) only if they receive an Honorable Discharge. If the approving authority wants the officer to receive something less than an Honorable Discharge, then a Board of Inquiry would have to occur, assuming the Officer is entitled to one.
Another reason could be that an Officer is simply ready to move on and does not want to linger in the Military anymore. Typically, resignation in lieu of elimination is a much faster process.
It is a rare situation where a resignation in lieu of elimination is actually beneficial to the Officer in question. Before an Officer submits one, he/she should consult an experienced military lawyer.
To learn more about the Officer Elimination Process for each specific service, click the links below:
This article was written by Attorney Matthew Barry.