What is a GOMOR?April 9, 2023
What is a GOMOR?
A GOMOR (commonly misspelled as GOMAR) is an acronym for for General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand. Essentially, it is just a one page document signed by a General Officer. The GOMOR will have one paragraph (sometimes two) devoted to listing the conduct that the individual is reprimanded for (DUI, assault, counterproductive leadership, sexual harassment etc.) Most of the paragraphs are standard language. For example, the second paragraph usually describes how disappointed the General is and the third paragraph states that the reprimand is imposed under the provisions of AR 600-37. Furthermore, the third paragraph typically states that the General is considering filing the GOMOR in the Soldier's/NCO's/Officer's AMHRR (official military record); however, that he/she will consider not doing so after the Soldier/NCO/Officer submits a rebuttal. Finally, the GOMOR will be accompanied by all of the evidence supporting the allegations.
What Regulation Governs GOMORs?
The issuing and filing of a GOMOR is governed by AR 600-37, available at this link.
Who can issue a GOMOR?
Any General Officer, no matter the unit of the recipient can issue one.
Who decides where to file the GOMOR?
Although not required by AR 600-37, typically, after a Rebuttal is submitted, the Soldier's/NCO's/Officer's chain of command will make recommendations on where the GOMOR should be filed.
Furthermore, the recipient's General Court-Martial Convening Authority (GCMCA) makes the final decision on where to file the GOMOR. A GCMCA is the Officer with the authority to convene General Courts-Martial, the highest level of Court-Martial. Typically the GCMCA is the Commanding General of where the recipient is assigned. The GCMCA can also delegate the authority to another General to make the filing decision.
Additionally, any General Officer in "over" the recipient can make the filing decision. There are other individuals who can file a GOMOR, such as a losing Command in certain situations (should be discussed with a Military Lawyer), as well as higher level leaders in the Army (i.e. Chief of Staff, Vice Chief of Staff, State Adjutant General).
Can a COL or below issue a GOMOR?
The answer is no, because what makes a GOMOR different from other letters of reprimand is who issues it (a General Officer). Typically, a letter of reprimand issued by another Officer is called a letter of concern.
A letter of concern, or letter of reprimand issued by an Officer that isn't a General, CAN still be filed in a Soldier's/NCO's/Officer's AMHRR. In order to do this, the recipient needs to be afforded the opportunity to submit a rebuttal. After this is accomplished, if the issuing authority still wants to file the reprimand in the recipient's AMHRR, he/she has to forward it to the appropriate General. The General can then decide to file the letter of reprimand in a Soldier's/NCO's/Officer's AMHRR.
What does it mean to be locally filed?
A "local file" is the same as a counseling packet. This is commonly confused with the "restricted" section of a Soldier's/NCO's/Officer's AMHRR. The restricted section of a Soldier's/NCO's/Officer's AMHRR is not the same as the their counseling packet. A counseling packet is kept at the unit level.
If a GOMOR is filed locally, it will be destroyed after 18 months (max, could be destroyed sooner) or after the recipient PCS's to a new GCMCA, whichever is sooner.
Can a GOMOR be withdrawn or rescinded?
A GOMOR can be withdrawn and rescinded after a rebuttal is submitted. This is uncommon; however, it can be done with a very strong rebuttal. This is typically done when the recipient produces substantial evidence demonstrating that the GOMOR was inaccurate and never should have been administered in the first place.
What is a suspended filing?
Recently, General Officers have started to "suspend" filing decisions for a set period of time (typically a year). At the end of the suspended time period, if the recipient commits no further misconduct, the GOMOR will be filed locally.
Suspending a filing decision is not referenced in AR 600-37, and is therefore completely made up. That said, it will often result in a local filing, so the recipient should probably not complain.
One factor to be concerned about is if the recipient is flagged during the suspended time period. The Army's flagging regulation, AR 600-8-2, does not reference what to do, because suspending a filing decision is a recent invention by General Officers. Therefore, recipients of a GOMOR that resulted in a suspended filing decision may be flagged for a long period of time.
What are the consequences of a GOMOR being filed in a Soldier's/NCO's/Officer's AMHRR?
Most obviously, a GOMOR in a Soldier's/NCO's/Officer's AMHRR will likely result in promotion stagnation. Currently, promotions are so competitive, especially to the ranks to and above SFC and all Officer/Warrant Officer promotions, that a GOMOR in anyone's AMHRR will likely result in no future promotions.
Furthermore, for active duty and AGR enlisted personnel, a GOMOR filed in their AMHRR will result in review under the Army QMP, which is explained further at this link. Additionally, for enlisted personnel, a GOMOR and the conduct mentioned in it can form the basis for administrative separation at the local Command level, explained more at this link.
For Officers, if already selected for promotion when the GOMOR was issued, it will result in promotion review under either the promotion review board or the special selection review board. Furthermore, if a GOMOR is filed in an Officer's AMHRR, it could result in the initiation of elimination locally or by HRC. This process is explained further at this link.
Overall, a GOMOR is career threatening. It can result in a lack of promotion or separation from the Army.
How do you write a good GOMOR Rebuttal?
Typically, a good GOMOR rebuttal addresses and confronts the allegations head on. A common mistake is not mentioning the conduct itself and only talking about good character. Furthermore, a good GOMOR rebuttal includes additional evidence (i.e. statements, text messages, videos, photos). It is these types of GOMOR Rebuttals (addressing the factual allegations and including additional evidence) that most often result in a GOMOR being either rescinded or locally filed. A lawyer should assist the recipient in writing the rebuttal and collecting additional evidence.
A rebuttal can focus on the recipient's good character; however, this is usually not dispositive on how the it is filed (locally or not). That said, good character evidence in the form of letters of support and NCOERs/OERs never hurts.
Proper legal representation for the recipient of a GOMOR is very important. Legal Assistance Attorneys (who are available to all Soldiers for free) will typically provide a template and offer to review whatever the recipient drafts. Typically, they do not even review the evidence packet in depth. This type of assistance is not very helpful. Furthermore, it is common for legal assistance attorneys to advise the recipient to keep their rebuttal short. This is terrible advice; a recipient of a GOMOR is typically submitting a rebuttal to a packet that is over 50 pages. Most of the time, it is impossible to adequately rebut all allegations in 1-2 pages, which is what Legal Assistance Attorneys usually advise. A good rebuttal is as long as it needs to be. As long as it is well-written and organized, length should not be a factor. Finally, Legal Assistance Attorneys rarely help a recipient of a GOMOR collect additional evidence. As described above, this is crucial to submitting a good rebuttal.
Recipient's of a GOMOR can hire a Civilian Attorney to assist him/her with a rebuttal. This will allow the recipient to chose his/her counsel after review their previous results and client testimonials, as opposed to a Legal Assistance Attorney who is chosen for you and does not publish his/her results or client testimonials.
Once GOMOR is filed in a Soldier's/NCO's/Officer's AMHRR, can it be further appealed?
Yes, it can, through a process explained further at this link.
It is important to note that once a GOMOR is filed in a Soldier's/NCO's/Officer's AMHRR, no one can remove it (including the Officer that directed the filing), except upon the order of the Department of the Army Suitability Evaluation Board (DASEB). Furthermore, based on Attorney Barry's experience, the DASEB almost never removes a GOMOR from a Soldier's AMHRR. Essentially, the odds are incredibly low. This make the initial GOMOR filing decision, and submitting a good GOMOR Rebuttal, even more important.
GOMOR's can also be transferred from the performance section of a NCO's/Officer's AMHRR to the restricted section. This process should be discussed with an experienced Military Lawyer.
Once a GOMOR is issued to a Soldier/NCO/Officer, his/her career is immediately threatened. Anyone in such a situation should immediately contact an experienced Military Lawyer.
This Article was written by Attorney Matthew Barry. Contact him today for a free consultation.