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Counseling in the Digitial Age

Recording Devices and Counseling

This is the first in a series of articles concerning the use of recording devices as they relate to counseling and other situations within today’s military.


Over the past year I have been asked numerous times to discuss the likelihood and legality of recording a counseling session between a supervisor and a Soldier.  I have had numerous situations and variety of scenarios presented to me through and during my travels to conduct book signings and professional development sessions throughout the nation.

I have been hesitant to address the issue for a variety of reasons; specifically I did not want the topic to become a point of discussion that allowed Soldiers to undermine their chain of command. However, after careful consideration and repeated requests, I feel it appropriate to discuss the issue as it appears to be becoming an unspoken issue within our military ranks.

So How Did We Get Here in the First Place?

The answer is simple; the average Soldier usually carries on their person a cellular phone, usually a smart phone.  These smart phones have the capability to act as a recording device.  In addition these devices are relatively concealable, many include video as well as audio capabilities.  Other devices are available that disguise recording devices as everyday objects (pens/pencils/clocks) that would not seem out of place in an office setting.  Depending on your leadership style, the sensitivity of a subject, and the level of trust that exist between you and your subordinate chances are whether you like it or not if you have not been recorded by one of your subordinates it is likely that you will be recorded in the future.

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posted on 12/12/2016 under Articles
Mark is a Retired Command Sergeant Major with 26 years of military leadership experience. He held 3 military occupational specialties (Field Artillery, Nuclear Weapons Tech, and Ammunition Ordnance). Mark is one of the leading military authors in the fields of leadership, counseling, and training..

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