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How do I counsel a Soldier for a physical security violation?

I have an E-6 who committed a serious physical security violation. It was an honest mistake but I need to use this as an example to the other NCOs so they understand security violations are significant. He has a slight attitude about the whole situation. What should I do?

The Mentor - A Comprehensive Guide to Army Counseling and Leadership

Counseling Soldier for physical security violation

Firstly, you need to determine the level of severity. Was any real damage done? Also consider his attitude. If he is humble and wants to correct the issue, work through it. If he has a bad attitude you may need to raise the level of pain with regard to the action you take. Let him know up front that accepting responsibility for his actions is a key leadership trait that is important and speaks to his character.

Consider using a counseling statement that looks something like this:

___{Insert Rank/Name}, on or about ___{Insert Date/Time} you committed a physical security violation in that you {Insert specifics of situation. For Example:  you failed to lock up the classified safe prior to your departure for lunch}.  Your lack of attention to detail placed classified information in a vulnerable position. As a result of your actions 3 unit members had to conduct an inventory and page count of all classified materials.  We lost 32 man-hours as a result of your carelessness.  We also had to submit an incident report to higher headquarters.  You {Select statement that applies: accepted responsibility for your actions and worked to overcome this mistake or have consistently failed to accept responsibility for your actions and insisted on blaming others for your lack of attention to detail. Furthermore you have displayed a poor attitude with regard to this issue}.  As a result of this situation and your behavior I am directing the following corrective actions (Select all that apply);

You will conduct a class on how to properly secure classified materials and you will present this class to members of the unit on {Insert Time/Date/Location}.

You will write a physical security SOP and present it to me for review no later than {Insert Date/Time}

You will develop a checklist for use by all sections within the company to reduce the possibility of this happening again in the future. Checklist is due no later than {Insert Time/Date}

Based upon your inability to accept responsibility for your actions or the serious of this event I am recommending the following actions to the Commander:

  • You receive a summary Article 15
  • You receive a Company Grade Article 15
  • You receive a Field Grade Article 15
  • A 15-6 investigation be initiated

Finish the statement with the magic bullet statement and a plan of action.

Read The Mentor: Everything you need to know about leadership and counseling for more information about Counseling, Leadership, Corrective Training, and Separations in the Army.

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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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Army Counseling Software - Include over 250 Army Counseling Examples

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