Army Discipline Counseling or Negative Counseling Statement
Counseling soldiers who have violated regulations, policies, or other set standards is a necessary part of the leader’s
duties. Discipline counseling is used when the leader takes corrective steps that will not result in formal punitive
action against the soldier under UCMJ. Non punitive measures are normally applicable for minor or first offenses
concerning conduct or inefficiency. If action by a commander under Article 15, UCMJ, or by a court-martial is likely,
the leader must ensure that the accused soldier is advised of his Article 31, UCMJ, rights before discussing the
incident. Telling subordinates about their positive conduct or discussing specific ways to improve performance is easy.
It is difficult and usually unpleasant, however, to discipline subordinates when they fail to meet the required standard.
When counseling soldiers whose conduct disrupts unit morale and effectiveness becomes necessary, it must be done
with fairness, firmness, and respect for the soldier. Discipline counseling differs from performance counseling. While
both improve performance and maintain standards, performance counseling stresses success and uses praise to
reinforce positive actions. Discipline counseling stresses failure to meet set standards of conduct. It is intended to be
corrective, not punitive. It details specific deficiencies that must improve. Discipline counseling becomes necessary
when a soldier shows no progress, makes no effort to improve, or acts in an unacceptable manner. It is normally
highly directive in its approach to correct behavior and eliminate deficiencies.
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