Army Ethics

Future LTs,
MAJ Heverly again this week. This may seem like a “do the right thing topic” and it is, essentially.  But it is essential to your careers or lives in general to learn about what is expected of you and how the organization you are joining expects you to act and lead.  Ethics…definitely one of those nebulous topics that folks always talk about. Even at this level the largest glaring issue is that when ethics are discussed there seems to be an unmentioned rule or foundation that everyone has the same sense of right and wrong. The understanding of where the Army is coming from when it talks about ethical leadership or behavior is the first step in steering clear of pitfalls or mistakes that, in the case of ethical violations, can end your career in a heartbeat. When it comes to ethics, the Army is still very “zero-defect.” There are several areas that mistakes are allowed and at the 2LT-level even expected, being late, not performing to standard (yet), those kinds of things. But when it comes to mistakes that are unethical, it can be a one way ticket to the unemployment line. This is not only true of the Army, look at the numerous heads of large companies that have been given the boot recently due to ethical issues. Sometimes we blend morals and ethics into the same category and while they are close, they aren’t the same. Ethics is the application of a set of values. Fortunately for us, the Army tells us what our morals should be and judges our decisions by these. From FM 6-22, “4-63. Ethics are concerned with how a person should behave. Values represent the beliefs that a person has. The seven Army Values represent a set of common beliefs that leaders are expected to uphold and reinforce by their actions.” We may not all share them in our personal lives but that is a chance you take…if you mess up, DIU for example, you will be judged by the Army by its values and probably find that you made an unethical decision. FM 6-22 lays it out like this “4-56. Doing the right things is good. Doing the right thing for the right reason and with the right goal is better.” The foundation for the Army’s sense of right and wrong is the Judeo-Christian sense of right and wrong. (How that came to be is a history lesson and why it still is…well that is a whole other topic) The bottom line is this…do what is right and hold your Soldiers to the same standard that the Army holds you to and you will be heading in the right direction.
I will give you one quick examples from my experience as a commander. One, I had a Soldier who was accused of messing around with another Soldier’s (not from my unit) wife. My Soldier was seen with her several times by several different people. When the 1SG confronted him, we found out that the wife was filing for divorce and that the marriage would be over “soon.” So, do we punish him? Is he breaking a UCMJ code (adultery)? Does it matter if, seeing as how the marriage is almost over and the other Soldier wasn’t even in our Battalion? These are all questions that came up. The hard right is called that for a reason. It would have been easier just to let things go. We wound up giving him a lawful order to avoid contact with the spouse until/if such time arose that the divorce was final.
If you are interested in a longer example use this link to a report of an incident in Iraq in 2005 that cost a LTC his career. For more, do a search for the Tailhook scandal and see how that incident and the unethical decisions cost the Navy some of what it thought was its top officers. The Army is looking for not only tactically and technically proficient people; it is also looking for good people.  In the Army, ethical decisions, especially in combat, often involve the lives of Soldiers and un-armed civilians; sons and daughters of our country and those nations in which we operate are irreplaceable.  That is why studying ethics is not a waste of time or just another “do the right thing” topic…it isn’t preaching, it is trying to instill in you the knowledge and skill to make the right decision, sometimes very quickly when the bullets are flying on the two-way target range of combat.
Now, I look forward to your questions.
MAJ Brian Heverly


Law of War. ROE, and Code of Conduct

Future Officers,

This subject might seem dry and easy to comprehend now especially in a classroom setting but this is one of the most important topics to understand.

The Law of War (Law of Armed Conflict), Rules of Engagement (ROE) and Code of Conduct are all value-based rules and guidelines used to govern how the military will act on a day-to-day basis. Failure to follow these rules and guidelines even at the Soldier level can have strategic and global implications. Interpretation of the Rules of Engagement may vary from command to command and from region to region but, the Law of War and Code of Conduct can be applied across the spectrum for all operations. It is imperative that you understand these ideals in a classroom setting because one of your future implied tasks is the implementation and enforcement of them. What is also important is the application of these principles in a setting that is other than ideal.

The Law of War or now more commonly known as the Law of Armed Conflict is a set of rules that govern military operations which consists of three areas military necessity, distinction and proportionality. These ideals are non-negotiable, self-explanatory and can be applied across the spectrum of operations. Understand that they do exist and we do have to abide but this only applies to civilized nations that have common values and similar Law of War concepts.

The Army Code of conduct is six articles that provide military personal guidelines addressing how U.S. personnel in combat should act to evade, resist, and seek escape should they be captured by an opposing force. The Army Code of Conduct is universal in nature and as future leaders you must be familiar with them and their application.

The rules of engagement or their interpretation by the senior commanders is not always unilateral across theaters or even geographic barriers. Examples to this are numerous in nature and can range from simple acts to those that might produce headlines on major media outlets. Hostile intent under the rules of engagement created much of the controversy. Take for example ROE that my company used in Ramadi in 2006-2007. The interpretation of a hostile act committed by the enemy was seen differently than in Baghdad. An individual that conducted numerous passes by a Bradley Fighting Vehicle was seen as a hostile action due to the engagement techniques used by the enemy in the area. This however, was not viewed as a hostile act in areas of Baghdad simply because the enemy conducted actions differently. As a future officer, it is paramount that you and your Soldiers understand the ROE and its interpretation and how it applies your area of operations.

As an officer in today’s Army, you have a higher responsibility than just understanding the previously mentioned concepts. Your mission will be to apply, educate, and enforce these standards within your future formations.

MAJ Adam Rudy
MAJ George Cowles


I will try to keep this succinct for you all while giving you some ideas to take with you.  First, pay attention to the NCOER class.  We as officers tend not to be strong in writing evaluations for our NCOs.  We don’t teach it well.   Do yourself a favor sit down with your 1SG at your unit and work closely with him or her on this issue.  I was fortunate to have one senior NCO in particular teach me a lot.  Second, accept that amongst the senior NCOs there are some differences in what they want to see on NCOERs.  Mostly it is a styling thing.  The basic concept is the same but some want wording slightly different.  This will mostly be on the CSM level as they will review the NCOERs in the battalion.

My best advice is when it comes time to do your initial counseling do the following prep.  Ask your platoon sergeant for their last NCOER.  Go to the S1 shop and ask  for some examples of NCOERs for like positions.  Get a spread from excellent ones to middle of the road.  Give you adjutant some time to do this as they will need to “sterilize” the personal information.  Then take a blank NCOER form and write in pencil some examples of “excellence” bullets you would like to see from the NCO.  You can change these during the counseling based on NCO feedback.  Now you have goals and a working form to start with when it comes time to write the evaluation.  Unfortunatley, many senior NCOs write their own NCOERs and give them to the rater.  Don’t let this be you.  You expect better from your rater and your NCO should get better from you.  Now, that being said I want to take care of my good NCOs, so I show my draft to them and ask for input.  They often have an idea of what they need and want on their evals.  As long as I don’t have a moral issue with their input I make the changes.  If you want to write an “excellent” NCOER you must have data.  Unlike our evaluations the NCOER requires quantification to support excellence.  I’m sure your instructor will cover this.

OERs are much easier to write and you will see many before you have to write them.  The same idea applies about getting examples from the S1.  This becomes extremely helpful when you have a warrant officer performing a duty which you haven’t really evaluated before.  You can gain an idea of useful metrics for that position and tailor them to your evaluation.  I am not going to spend much time here as you will not write many, unless you are aviation branch, and will get a lot of exposure on writing them.

Your support form on the other hand is up to you.  If your rater does not provide you copies of their support form and your senior raters support they are wrong.  That being said, not all will provide it.  And, often you won’t be asked for your support form until its time to write you evaluation.  Again, this is wrong.  Leaders have gotten much better about this than when I was a LT but you still might see it.  Your S1 can give you their forms if they don’t provide it.  Tailor the front (goals) so your goals are nested with their goals.  Format it the way they do.  What I did with my LTs is give them my support form at their initial counseling and asked them for theirs at our next counseling so I could see it and give them feedback.

During your rated period keep a word document or hard copy of your support form and write down things you do when they happen.  If you wait until your form is due, which could be a year, you will forget many great things you do.  Also, you are not restricted to the back of that form.  You can attach an addendum.  Usually this is just a word document with your bullets continued.  Be concise and whenever possible quantify your achievements.  Often you will find your rater has written your OER without your support form.  Generally they will know what they want to say about you.  However, if you have achievements you want included in the OER tell them.  They can’t fit them all in so pick one or two if you feel strongly about them.

Remember it is your evalution.  If there is something you want it to say you need to let your rater and senior rater know.  If there are specific programs you want to compete for or jobs you are interested in ask them to put it on your OER.  If you are doing your job right they will support you and often they won’t know unless you tell them.  You are the only advocate for what you want.

My last note, don’t work for you OER and don’t believe what you read.  Do your job and take care of your soldiers.  Sometimes you’ll get the recognition you deserve and sometimes you won’t.  But, your Soldiers will let you know if you are a good leader.  Other side of the coin is don’t get enamored with what your OER says about you.  Don’t worry, a good NCO will let you know where you stand.

I hope this helps you and look forward to answering any questions I can.  I am an aviation officer so if anyone has any question in that field please send them as well.

MAJ Randy Smith


Future Lieutenants,

The counseling itself is a really broad topic. Today I’ll mention mostly from FM 6-22, Army Leadership. FM 6-22 says, “Counseling is the process used by leaders to review with a subordinate the subordinate’s demonstrated performance and potential.”

Counseling occurs when a leader, who serves as a subordinate’s designated rater, reviews with the subordinate his demonstrated performance and potential, often in relation to a programmed performance evaluation.

There are three types of counseling; event counseling, performance counseling, and professional growth counseling. Event counseling covers a specific event or situation. Performance counseling is the review of a subordinate’s duty performance during a specified period. You will use DA Forms, such as, The officer evaluation report (OER) (DA form 67-9), OER Support Form (DA Form 67-9-1), and The Developmental Support Form (DA form 67-9-1A). Professional Growth Counseling includes planning for the accomplishment of individual and professional goals. You will use The Developmental Counseling Form, DA Form 4856.
There are three types of approaches to counseling; nondirective approach, directive approach, and combined approach. The nondirective approach is preferred for most counseling sessions. Leaders use their experiences, insight and judgment to assist subordinates in developing solutions. The directive approach works best to correct simple problems, make on-the-spot corrections, and correct aspects of duty performance. The combined approach emphasizes the subordinate’s planning and decision-making responsibilities.

In a unit, you will find at least 5 % trouble makers or bad Soldiers. They will take a lot of your time if you are not careful. You need to take care of them. At the same time, you need to take care of other 95 % good Soldiers. The balance is your call.

When necessary, refer a subordinate to the agency more qualified to help. Get to know with your unit chaplains. Then you don’t have to worry about pastoral counseling (marital, pre-marital, grief, drug, alcohol, spiritual, sexual harassment, depression, moral, family, discharge, reassignment, legal, stress, etc.).

Chaplain (MAJ) Kim, Sungjean Peter

How to Conduct a Company Training Meeting

Hello Cadets! I am currently a student at the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth Kansas and am honored to have this opportunity to present you with information that I have found to be helpful in my career and hope it willI you will find this discussion helpful in preparing yourself for a training meeting either as a platoon leader or company commander.
There are three essential parts to a company level training meeting. They are
completed training, near term training, and short range training. The meetings follow this agenda and should not last more than one hour. Time is a precious resource and something we do not seem to have enough of. Being organized can help to achieve this effectiveness.
     Begin the meeting with completed training.  Here the platoon leader and platoon sergeant present an assessment of training since the last meeting. A method of assessment can be formal using an Army Training and Evaluation
Program (ARTEP) checklist for evaluating a task or less formal such as an After Action Review (AAR).  For instance, if a METL task were being assessed  the platoon leader or platoon sergeant would use the Training and Evaluation Outline (TEO) for evaluating the METL task.  Based on the evaluation the
platoon leader will present an assessment of the evaluated task.  It is important to identify the overall rating as either a “go” or “no go” and identify any shortcomings as well.  As the platoon leader reviews conducted
training and any training that was planned and not conducted must be addressed. There will be times this happens but leaders are still
responsible to complete training and must present a plan to make up the missed training. Commanders use the assessment to update METL task assessments for future training and input for training guidance as well as for the quarterly training brief (QTB).
     Next, commanders provide guidance for new or unscheduled training . This step involves looking out six weeks and uses a training model to conduct pre-execution checks. An example of conducting pre-execution checks
for an APFT may be: “Has the gym been reserved?” or “Where will the run be?”
The training is briefed beginning with the furthest week out, T+6 (week 6) to the present training week, T week. Training closest should be briefed with more details than furthest out to help identify any “show stoppers” and ensure training is well rehearsed and planned.
     Finally, a review of the battalion calendar is done and events from here or training guidance are placed on the company training calendar. Once this is done “white space” on the calendar is visible and can be used for company training events. Platoon leaders and platoon sergeants provide the
company commander with training events for the commander to review and draft a training schedule. The information platoon leaders provide should focus on the training guidance and METL tasks in order to accomplish the
Again, thank you for this opportunity and I looking forward to further discussion with you.
MAJ Abi-Nader

Train the Force and METL Development

OK, good news here. Youwon’t have to mess with developing a METL; there is no such thing as a Platoon METL.  Platoons have Battle Tasks that are made up of Collective Tasks which build on Individual Tasks.  All of those different levels of tasks feed a process called the METL crosswalk.  The process “starts” with Individual Tasks.  These are the tasks that each Soldier needs to know how to accomplish.  Once these are mastered, the team and squad start conducting Collective Tasks, tasks that require more than one person to conduct.  Once those are done the platoon conducts Battle Tasks.  Some could argue that the process starts from the other end.  Company develops a METL (derived from Battalion METL) and Battle Tasks are developed that support it.  From there it goes down to Individual Tasks, all connected and supporting the previous level.  Where do these tasks come from?  They come from Army ARTEPs or MTPs.  These are documents that formally associate Battle tasks, Collective Tasks and Individual tasks with METL tasks.  Confused?  Let me try this another way…think of an individual range card (individual tasks).  To make a squad range card (collective tasks) you combine those individual ones, right?  To make a platoon range card (Battle tasks) you take all of the squad range cards.  So if I look at a Company METL task…lets say Maintain Bathroom Operations.  A Battle Task may be Maintain Shower operations, with collective task of maintain floor integrity, with individual tasks of mopping floor, identifying mission or broken tile and replace broken tile.  Each level builds on itself.  In order to be successful as a Company at a METL task, you have to start at the bottom and “train your way up” the tasks.  You can’t Maintain Bathroom Operations without maintaining the showers, sinks, and toilets right?  Without any of those three being clean and functioning then the Bathroom doesn’t operate.  Now, what a CO will do is develop an overall plan on how to improve in training areas…he will use his assessment of the level of training in METL tasks to identify weak spots and determine what tasks need to be trained on.  Using the bathroom example, the company Soldiers may all be well trained at Toilet operations but are horrible at Shower Operations.  So he may task a PL to come up with a training plan that will train Soldiers on individual tasks and culminate in STX lanes that “test” individual tasks and put them together to achieve collective tasks.  Make sense?—-MAJ Heverly

Army Decision Making Process & Risk Management


   OK where to start on the MDMP process.  Wow…  Needless to say it is a very in depth methodical process that even the best staff officers want to cut short.  Just like anything new it is most important for you all to learn the “right” way to do it first.  Then, you will be much more capable of using shortcuts in a given situation.  Think of it like learning long division before you were handed a calculator.  The bottom line is that when you finally get to your units they will have guidance for you on just what they want and how they want it done.  Now, I am assuming that this isn’t your first time to the MDMP dance having survived Advance Camp (or whatever they are calling it now) so I won’t even think about boring you with the steps and all the sub steps.  Here is what you do need to know though, this is the way the Army has figured out how to take a mission from a higher headquarters, a single mission statement, a WARNO, or a full blown OPORD, and put into a format that your young NCOs can understand and execute, the OPORD.  Getting there requires a good deal of thorough analysis and work.  However, if you follow the steps, you will have a decent plan.  As I am sure you have heard before, the mission and intent are the most important parts.  Good NCOs will figure out how what they need to get it done (Paragraph IV) and they know who is in charge and how to talk to them (Paragraph V).  They will figure out real quick why they are going to do something, who is going to help them, what the impacts of the weather will be and who the enemy is (Paragraph I).  So make sure that your second and the first part of your third paragraphs are succinct. 

Also, your NCOs can read the higher order, so make your OPORD apply to them.  For example, don’t just tell them that it may rain, tell them how that will affect their NVGs, how it will affect sounds in the area you are working, how it will make everything more slippery, how it will limit what they carry on their backs or in the vehicles because they will have to waterproof their MOLLE packs or put their gear inside the vehicle instead of hanging it on the outside.  Go behind your squad leaders and “quiz” your Soldiers on your mission and intent.  Make sure they know what they are doing.  This isn’t micromanaging, this is verifying that your NCOs are getting the word out.  Trust but verify.  Just like conducting Pre-Combat Inspections and Checks…you don’t want to check everyone, but you do want to check on a couple of Soldiers to make sure that your NCOs are doing the right things…your PSG should be doing the same thing.

Your first OPORD experience will probably be a range OPORD once you get to your units.  That is usually an easy “ice breaker” to make sure you know what you are doing or at least know when to ask for help.  Don’t try to reinvent the wheel.  Start with your fellow platoon leaders or platoon sergeant for past examples that you can work from.  Now, your boss may want you to start from scratch…unfortunately that is their perogative.  I personally don’t agree with it but everyone has their own techniques.  If you can’t find one at the Company level (remember to check with the 1SG, they are a wealth of info) then look at the BN S3.  They should have plenty of examples.

Now, as far as Risk Management.  The same thing holds true.  Know how the right way to do it is, so that as you get proficient you begin to do it without even thinking about it.  Lets take a simple trip from school to home.  You know that if you wreck or get into an accident the results could be catastrophic.  You also know that depending on when you travel the risk of accident will go up…ie Saturday at around 2-3 AM vs 1-2 PM.  So, you make decisions to avoid these situations as best you can…either leaving in the afternoon on Friday or early afternoon on Saturday.  You may do a quick walk around of your car to make sure the tires are full…you make plan pit stops if it is a long trip.  You have just done the Risk Management process.  The only thing the Army wants you to do is write it down when it is part of an exercise or operation to show that you have thought through everything and are using all of the controls you can think of to get the risk down.  You will get to the point that Risk Management can be seen in everything you do…it is weird the first time you catch yourself thinking in terms of controls and residual risk but hey it is a sign that the system works.

MDMP and RM are very deliberate processes to make sure you think everything through.  Putting activities into steps and operations into timelines force you to think in steps.  This “mode” is the surest way to catch something if you initially miss it.  I can’t tell you the number of times I have seen staffs work tirelessly through wargaming, producing a synch and decision matrix that has proven invaluable during an exercise when the enemy throws a curveball at you.

I have focused on the MDMP as it looks from the platoon and company level.  You don’t have a staff to go through the entire process step by step, I mean what are you going to do when you are actually the approver of the COAs that you developed…ummm.  If you have any specific questions, I will be more than happy to answer them for you.  Years on a Division staff have left their scars.

MAJ Brian Heverly