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Can a Leader SMOKE a Soldier?

Wear it Right! Army Uniform Guide

This subject is covered under AR 600-20 paragraph 4-19.  And FM 7-22.  Please pay special attention to 4-19b(3)(a) of AR 600-20.  Basically, smoke sessions are not authorized as they are a form of punishment.  With that stated leaders can use a reasonable number of physical exercises as corrective training if authorized by the commander (See FM 7-22 extract below).

This response is based on the information you provided.  If you decide to approach a leader concerning this subject ensure you have: the facts, are professional, calm, respectful, and unemotional.  Be careful not to challenged or be perceived as challenging the leader’s authority.

Only you can decide the proper course of action in your situation.  Hope this information helps.

AR 600-20

4–19. Treatment of persons The Army is a values-based organization where everyone is expected to do what is right by treating all persons as they should be treated – with dignity and respect. Hazing, bullying, and other behaviors that undermine dignity and respect are fundamentally in opposition to our values and are prohibited. This paragraph is punitive. Soldiers who violate this policy may be subject to punishment under the UCMJ. Whether or not certain acts specifically violate the provisions of this paragraph, they may be inappropriate or violate relevant civilian personnel guidance. Commanders must seek the advice and counsel of their legal advisor when taking actions pursuant to this paragraph.

a. Definition. (1) Hazing. Any conduct whereby a Servicemember or members regardless of service, rank, or position, and without proper authority, recklessly or intentionally causes a Servicemember to suffer or be exposed to any activity that is cruel, abusive, humiliating, oppressive, demeaning, or harmful. Soliciting or coercing another to participate in any such activity is also considered hazing. Hazing need not involve physical contact among or between military members or employees; it can be verbal or psychological in nature. Likewise, it need not be committed in the physical presence of the victim; it may be accomplished through written or phone messages, text messages, email, social media, or any other virtual or electronic medium. Actual or implied consent to acts of hazing does not eliminate the culpability of the perpetrator. Without outside intervention, hazing conduct typically stops at an identified end-point.

(2) Bullying. Bullying is any conduct whereby a Servicemember or members, regardless of service, rank, or position, intends to exclude or reject another Servicemember through cruel, abusive, humiliating, oppressive, demeaning, or harmful behavior, which results in diminishing the other Servicemember’s dignity, position, or status. Absent outside intervention, bullying will typically continue without any identifiable end-point. Bullying may include an abuse of authority. Bullying tactics include, but are not limited to, making threats, spreading rumors, social isolation, and attacking someone physically, verbally, or through the use of electronic media.

b. Scope.

(1) What constitutes hazing and bullying? Hazing and bullying can include both physical and nonphysical interactions. Hazing typically involves conduct directed at new members of an organization or individuals who have recently achieved a career milestone. It may result from any form of initiation, “rite of passage,” or congratulatory act that includes unauthorized conduct such as: physically striking another while intending to cause, or causing, the infliction of pain or other physical marks such as bruises, swelling, broken bones, internal injuries; piercing another’s skin in any manner; forcing or requiring the consumption of excessive amounts of food, alcohol, drugs, or other substances; or encouraging another to engage in illegal, harmful, demeaning, or unauthorized dangerous acts. Unlike hazing, bullying often, but not always, takes the form of excessive corrective measures that, like hazing, involve the infliction of physical or psychological pain and go beyond what is required for authorized corrective training.

(2) Hazing and bullying are not limited to superior-subordinate relationships. They may occur between peers or, under certain circumstances, may involve actions directed towards senior personnel by those junior in rank, grade, or position to them. Hazing may occur during graduation or promotion ceremonies or similar military “rites of passage.” However, it may also happen in military settings, such as in small units, to initiate or “welcome” a new member to the unit. Bullying may also occur in all settings but it most often appears as excessive correction of, or punishment for, perceived performance deficiencies. Hazing and bullying are prohibited in all cases, to include off-duty or “unofficial” celebrations or unit functions, on or off post. 30 AR 600–20 • 6 November 2014

(3) What does not constitute hazing or bullying?

(a) Hazing may occur when otherwise authorized or permissible conduct crosses the line into impermissible conduct. Bullying is always committed with the intent to exclude or reject another from inclusion in a group and, while the bullying conduct may appear to be corrective training, it is never authorized or permissible. The imposition of necessary or proper duties and the requirement of their performance does not violate this policy even though the duties may be arduous, hazardous, or both. When authorized by the chain of command and/or operationally required, the following activities do not constitute hazing or bullying: (1) the physical and mental hardships associated with operations or operational training; (2) lawful punishment imposed pursuant to the UCMJ; (3) administrative corrective measures, including verbal reprimands and command-authorized physical exercises; (4) extra military instruction or corrective training that is a valid exercise of military authority needed to correct a Soldier’s deficient performance in accordance with paragraph 4–6; (5) physical training and remedial physical training; and (6) other similar activities that are authorized by the chain of command and conducted in accordance with this or another applicable regulation.

(b) Many time-honored customs of the Army include traditional events that celebrate personal milestones and professional achievements. These events are part of our heritage and include hails and farewells, promotion and graduation ceremonies, and other official command functions. When properly organized and supervised, these events serve to enhance morale, esprit de corps, pride, professionalism, and unit cohesiveness. The chain of command will ensure these traditions and customs are carried out in accordance with Army values and that the dignity and respect of all participants is maintained.

(c) The willingness of any participant is irrelevant; therefore, express or implied consent to prohibited behaviors under this paragraph is not a defense to a violation of this regulation. c. Command responsibilities.

(1) Enforcement of this policy is the responsibility of commanders and supervisors at all levels.

(2) Publish and post written command policy statements on treatment of persons. Statements will be consistent with the Army policy, include the local command’s commitment to prevention of hazing and bullying, and reaffirm that these behaviors will not be tolerated. The command policy will explain how and where to file complaints and will state that all complainants will be protected from acts or threats of reprisal. Each ACOM, ASCC, DRU, installation, unit, agency, and activity down to company, troop, or battery level will publish a treatment of persons policy. Commanders must consult with their legal advisor prior to publishing.

(3) Conduct training. On at least an annual basis, commanders will conduct hazing and bullying training as part of the EO training requirements related to promoting a healthy unit climate.

4) Commanders will immediately report allegations of criminal behavior in violation of this paragraph to law enforcement. All other hazing or bullying allegations that are reported to a commander will be investigated as possible violations of Article 92 of the UCMJ in accordance with the informal board procedures set forth in AR 15–6 or as a commander’s inquiry. Individuals may also report incidents of hazing to the appropriate Inspector General’s office and these incidents may be investigated by that office or referred to the command for investigation. Regardless of the type of investigation conducted into the hazing or bullying allegation (law enforcement, IG, or administrative), commanders are responsible for coordinating with their unit Equal Opportunity Advisor (EOA) to ensure that all hazing or bullying allegations are recorded and tracked in the Equal Opportunity Reporting System (EORS). Although administrative investigations into hazing or bullying are not EO investigations, EOAs will ensure that these incidents are recorded in EORS for tracking purposes. If a Soldier possesses a security clearance, commanders will ensure the security manager records the derogatory information as an incident report in the JPAS (or subsequent system) in accordance with AR 380–67.

d. Individual responsibilities. Individuals are responsible for the following:

(1) Advising the command of any incidents of hazing or bullying.

(2) Conducting themselves in accordance with this paragraph and treating all persons as they should be treated – with dignity and respect

 e. Individual reporting Servicemembers should report hazing or bullying to their commander, law enforcement, or the Inspector General.

4–6. Exercising military authority

a. Military authority is exercised promptly, firmly, courteously and fairly. Commanders should consider administrative corrective measures before deciding to impose nonjudicial punishment. Trial by court-martial is ordinarily inappropriate for minor offenses unless lesser forms of administering discipline would be ineffective (see MCM, Part V, and chap 3, AR 27–10).

b. One of the most effective administrative corrective measures is extra training or instruction (including on-the-spot correction). For example, if Soldiers appear in an improper uniform, they are required to correct it immediately; if they do not maintain their housing area properly, they must correct the deficiency in a timely manner. If Soldiers have training deficiencies, they will be required to take extra training or instruction in subjects directly related to the shortcoming.

(1) The training, instruction, or correction given to a Soldier to correct deficiencies must be directly related to the deficiency. It must be oriented to improving the Soldier’s performance in their problem area. Corrective measures may be taken after normal duty hours. Such measures assume the nature of training or instruction, not punishment. Corrective training should continue only until the training deficiency is overcome. Authority to use it is part of the inherent powers of command.

(2) Care should be taken at all levels of command to ensure that training and instruction are not used in an oppressive manner to evade the procedural safeguards applying to imposing nonjudicial punishment. Deficiencies satisfactorily corrected by means of training and instruction will not be noted in the official records of the Soldiers concerned.

FM 7-22 Causes Of Overtraining Syndrome And Overuse Injuries

5-12. Safe progression for performance improvement is complex, involving many variables that impact success (entry fitness level, ramp of progression, total volume of activity, rest/recovery, and nutrient intake). Many of these variables can be controlled following the principles of precision, progression, and integration, as well as, monitoring Soldiers in training and making training adjustments as required. Common mistakes to compensate for low performance and rate of improvement are the conduct of multiple training sessions, high intensity “smoke sessions,” and/or excessive corrective action using exercise. All of these are detrimental to performance improvement and lead to overuse injury.

Corrective Action 5-15. When exercise is used for corrective action, it is often performed incorrectly, promoting overtraining syndrome, and overuse injuries. Often corrective action mimics “smoke sessions,” punishing Soldiers with little or no corrective value. Consideration must be given to the number of times per day exercises are used for corrective action for individual Soldiers and groups of Soldiers to avoid the cumulative effect and limit the potential for overtraining syndrome. The following guidelines should be followed when employing exercise as corrective action. Only the following exercises should be selected for performance of corrective action.
  • Rower.
  • Squat bender.
  • Windmill.
  • Prone row.
  • Push-up. n V-up.
  • Leg tuck and twist.
  • Supine bicycle.
  • Swimmer.
  • 8-count push-up.

Only one of the above exercises may be selected for each corrective action.

The number of repetitions should not exceed FIVE for any one of the exercises listed above.

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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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