Note: This handout only provides basic information and is not intended to serve as a
substitute for personal consultation with an attorney.
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Army Chapter 18
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This is not a government sponsored website any information contained here is for reference only and
should not be taken as legal advice always consult an attorney before making any legal decisions
This handout will provide you with general information concerning Chapter 18, AR
635-200, Failure to Meet Body Fat Standards. You can find further information in AR
635-200 or you may consult with your Trial Defense Service (TDS) attorney.

I. Basis. The initiation of separation action is mandatory if one of the criteria below is met.
"Initiation of separation action" means a separation action must be started and presented
to the separation authority, however separation itself is not mandatory. Each level of
command below the separation authority are free to make a recommendation they deem
appropriate, to include retention. The separation authority makes the final decision.
Separation action must be initiated if no medical condition exists that a soldier from
participating in the weight control program and one of the following is met:

1. The soldier fails to make satisfactory progress in the weight control program after a
period of 6 months.

2. The soldier fails to meet table weight and body fat standards during the 12 month
period following the removal from the weight control program.

3. Between 12 and 36 months after being removed from the program, the soldier fails to
meet body fat standards. If so, the soldier has 90 days to meet body fat standards.

II. Command Requirements before Separation. The commander must show that the
soldier has failed to meet the weight control standards contained in AR 600-9. A soldier
must be given reasonable opportunity to comply with and meet weight reduction goals.

III. Relation to other Separations. A chapter 18 separation action will only be used if the
failure to meet weight control standards is the sole basis for separation. If the soldier has
another basis for separation in addition to not meeting weight standards (such as
misconduct), then the soldier will be separated under the other type of separation action
(such as Chapter 13 or 14).

IV. Soldier Rights. Soldiers have the right to consult with a TDS attorney or with private
counsel at no expense to the government. Soldiers can also submit matters for the
separation authority to consider before the separation authority makes a final decision
regarding separation. Additionally, soldiers with at least 6 years of service are entitled to
an administrative separation board. All soldiers pending Chapter 18 separation should
consult with an attorney before making any decisions concerning the Chapter 18

V. Separation Authority. If the soldier has less than 6 years of total service, the
separation authority is normally the first lieutenant colonel in the chain of command. If the
soldier has 6 or more years of total service, the separation authority is normally the
Special Court-Martial Convening Authority, who is typically the first colonel in the chain of

VI. Characterization of Service. Soldiers separated under Chapter 18 must receive an
honorable discharge. (Soldiers with less than 180 days active duty may receive an entry
level status discharge, which is uncharacterized.)

VII. Separation Pay. Soldiers with at least 6 years of active duty service who have
completed their initial term of enlistment or obligation may be eligible for separation pay.
Soldiers should confirm their eligibility for separation pay and the amount of pay with the
transition section at Personnel.
Army Chapter 18, fat soldiers
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