My dear (Congressman/Congresswoman):
This is in reply to your letter of (date) concerning the alleged indebtedness of (rate, name), United States
Navy personnel are well indoctrinated in the Department of the Navys policy of expecting all members
of the naval service to discharge their acknowledged debts and just obligations. The Department desires
to cooperate and be of assistance to persons who are experiencing difficulty in collecting from naval
personnel acknowledged personal debts. There is no legal authority to exercise control or direction over
Federal pay in matters of personal indebtedness. Cooperation is restricted to bringing the matter of
delinquency in indebtedness to the attention of the member concerned, with the request that they
communicate with the creditor regarding their intentions in the matter.
Department of Defense directives require that as a condition precedent to forwarding complaints of
indebtedness to a service member the enclosed forms must be completed and the Standards of Fairness
complied with. Your constituent should be advised to send the forms to the Commanding Officer, (fill in).
Encl: (1) Standards of Fairness and forms for a Statement of Full Disclosure and a Certificate of
Figure 14-5.-Sample letter to answer congressional inquiry.
allowances, and a bad-conduct discharge.
function on a command scale. Although you are not a
willful evasion, false promise, or other circumstances
showing deliberate nonpayment or gross indifference
must be proved to establish the offense. Nonjudicial
punishment or court-martial action may be initiated
under Article 134, UCMJ, at the discretion of the
Remember, however, that disciplinary
action is never an appropriate vehicle for assisting
creditors in the collection of debts. Moreover,
disciplinary action not resulting in discharge is likely to
produce financial hardship in the form of reduction or
forfeiture, an end not likely to rehabilitate the debtor.
Accordingly, it must be decided in each case whether
administrative actions, rather than disciplinary
measures, may offer better solutions to aggravated
Earlier in this chapter we discussed that the primary
purpose of the Naval Legal Service Command and its
subordinate offices is to provide necessary legal services
to commands and personnel in specified geographical
areas. It is possible that you maybe supervising one of
the legal offices that is tasked with providing those legal
services to Navy commands and their personnel in your
area. This is nothing more than a customer service
lawyer, many customers will look to you as the senior
LN for the legal advice and service they require.
Therefore, it is essential that you establish a well-run
liaison with those commands.
Although each command that you service will have
similar, and often the same, legal problems that need
attention, the problems and the urgency with which they
are attended could vary greatly depending on the size of
the command and its primary mission. For instance, a
ship about to get underway would need court-martial
services done much more quickly than a naval station
whose accused and other interested parties are stationed
ashore and will be readily available for some time to
come. As the office supervisor, you should recognize
the differences in the needs of the commands you
service and assign your personnel accordingly.
Coordination between your office and the
commands you service will run more smoothly if you
establish reliable contacts at each command. Although
the point of contact will usually be the person who
handles the commands legal work, that person may be
junior to most of the people he or she may be dealing with
in the command. Therefore, you may need to develop a
point of contact with a more senior person who has the
power to make sure things you need the command to do