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Can an NCO revoke a Soldier’s smoking privileges for failing his APFT?

One of my Soldiers recently failed his second APFT 2 mile run. I counseled him on it accordingly and also stated in the counseling that I will revoke his smoking privileges if he fails a third time. Now, I have caught some complaints stating "I can't do that" but I've been standing my ground because I HAVE seen it done and firmly believe I have a just reason to do so. I am confident the CO will not object to my corrective action but I don't want to be wrong.

I have sifted through the Regs looking for some clarity but haven't been able to find anything specific.

Do I indeed have the authority to do this, or am I in the wrong? And if I am right can you reference me to the Reg that states I do have that authority?

An NCO does not have the ability—nor the authority—to revoke a Soldier’s smoking privileges. You do have the ability to recommend revocation of the privileges, but the decision rests with the commander.

I believe your heart is in the right place, but your actions could land you in hot water. One of the worst orders you can give is one you’re not authorized to give or cannot enforce!

Keep in mind that revoked  privileges have to be related to the offense (e.g. it would be appropriate to revoke smoking privileges if the Soldier regularly throws his butts on the ground or if he was caught smoking in a no-smoking area).  Let’s turn this around and say you were slightly overweight or failing your PT test and your supervisor decided to revoke your junk food & soda food privileges to whip you into shape and turn you into the lean fighting machine he thinks you should be. Think about how it would feel to have someone trample on your personal liberties like that.

posted on 02/23/2011 under Q&A
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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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