AUGUST 24, 2020 – The Army recently published the latest version of its Army Command Policy since 2014, which now includes updates to corrective training, sexual harassment reporting and extremist activity on social media.
The 200-plus page policy, also known as Army Regulation 600-20, is the official guidance for commanders across the Army, and is typically revised every five years.
“As Soldiers, NCOs, officers, and [Department of the Army] civilians, we all have an obligation to know, enforce and take appropriate action in accordance with Army Command Policy,” Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael A. Grinston wrote in a message to the force.
The revised regulation has nearly 70 different changes, which is quite significant, said Lt. Col. Melissa Comiskey, chief of command policy for the Army’s G-1 office.
“This is a massive regulation,” she said in an interview Friday. “It is command policy. It is the commander’s guide, so there’s a lot that’s encompassed in here.”
Much of the updates come from previous directives that have since been superseded by the new regulation, which was published July 24.
“The Army continues to move and continues to build policy,” she said. “As we’re building policy, it doesn’t get immediately incorporated into a regulation. That’s why we have Army directives.”
The regulation now includes specified authority to correct minor acts of indiscipline with brief forms of exercise.
“The changes empower NCOs to lean on non-punitive measures as a form of corrective training to address minor deficiencies,” said Sgt. Maj. Jasmine Johnson, the command policy sergeant major, adding an example could be a Soldier doing 10 pushups for arriving late to formation.
Another update is for commanders to notify their Soldiers that they cannot possess a firearm or ammunition, if they have a qualifying conviction of domestic violence.
The change comes after a domestic violence working group years ago identified a gap in the previous AR 600-20, Comiskey said.
The regulation also expands the policy on extremist group activities by incorporating social media for the first time, as well as command options for violations under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
“Social media was not addressed in the previous regulation,” Comiskey said. “Also the requirement for commanders to notify either their [staff judge advocate] or [criminal investigation division] when there’s any type of reports of extremist activities in their organization.”
Policies from several Army and Defense Department directives have also been moved under the authority of the Army’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program.
The SHARP program is now responsible for sexual harassment complaints, for instance, instead of the Military Equal Opportunity Office.
Criteria for a sexual assault incident response oversight report as well as a commander’s critical information requirement have been added, too.
The SHARP policy also covers requirements for the DOD Sexual Assault Advocate Certification Program, Comiskey said.
The revised regulation has a lot of discussion about harassment and discrimination, Comiskey said. “Again, that’s obviously not tolerated in our Army and 600-20 reinforces that.”
“The Army hopes to foster a culture of dignity, respect and inclusion,” Johnson added about the regulation. “It’s a guide to ensure Soldiers are being treated fairly, and commanders are able to maintain good order and discipline in their ranks.”
By Sean Kimmons, Army News Service