Thursday, July 9, 2009

Standards and Conduct Board - CANEX'D - Use DRB

Revision: 9 Nov 2009 - MCPON's SCB will be in DRB instruction.

Below info from July 2009 is out of date. Retained for historical purposes.
See my 9 November 2009 post on this subject.

"This is a Chief Petty Officer - driven initiative and it's putting the responsibility to develop Sailors exactly where it should be: in the Chief's Mess. Look for the Standards and Conduct Board instruction to hit the fleet later this summer and Navy-wide implementation soon after. Bottom line: the S/C Board will replace the Disciplinary Review Board process and give the Mess the opportunity to weigh in on risky Sailor behavior before it gets to be a problem. Will this board take the place of NJP or Mast? Absolutely not. That’s not our call. I see this as a proactive vice reactive program to work with our Sailors early, identify potential issues and then resolve them prior to them becoming a factor in something bigger. It has been Fleet tested with very good results. "

From the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Rick West's "BOTTOM LINE UP FRONT NEWSLETTER"

And, a little bit more from former MCPON Campa's legacy from a NAVY TIMES article:

An alternative to mast

When Sailors get into trouble, they go before a disciplinary review board, then to executive officer screening and eventually to captain’s mast, if the offense warrants it. At mast, a Sailor may receive nonjudicial punishment and a permanent blot on his record.

Campa and his leadership mess have created an alternative.

The new standards and conduct board will be the first line of Navy discipline — and the responsibility of the chiefs’ mess. In it, chiefs will screen every potential captain’s mast case and have the authority to provide alternative or lighter punishments that will not go on a Sailor’s permanent record. Think of it as a cop giving a speeding driver a warning, instead of writing him a ticket.

“Calling it a standards and conduct board, I think, sends a clear message to the chiefs that this responsibility lies squarely in the mess,” Campa said. “The standards we hold our Sailors to in their daily conduct are up to them to enforce, to uphold and to get our Sailors on the right track.”

According to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations draft instruction near approval, these boards will be made of a minimum of three chiefs, with the command master chief as the chairman. Commanding officers can designate other “senior enlisted leaders” to fill that role.

When a Sailor gets in trouble, the board will interview him and any “relevant witnesses, advisers and supervisors” the board chairman thinks the situation warrants, according to the instruction.

There are many serious crimes that will always end up at mast, Campa said, such as drug use and driving under the influence.

But for many offenses, the board can recommend the Sailor receive a “voluntary diversion.” These punishments include extra military instruction, surrendering civilian clothes privileges or even being restricted to the ship or base. Mast is averted.

The punishment comes as part of an overall plan designed to fix behavioral or performance issues through counseling, extra training or even outside the command. But to avoid mast and take the punishment, the Sailor must agree to the board’s recommendations.

“Voluntary diversion gives the Sailor the opportunity to recognize and accept responsibility for their actions and be held accountable without it being a detriment to their career,” Campa said. The punishment stays off the sailor’s record.

“Young people make mistakes, and it allows them to recover from those mistakes without staining their record and the possible consequences of that — not being able to stay in,” Campa said.

But Campa said chiefs must rethink their attitudes toward transgressing Sailors, too.

“We need to be standing side by side with that Sailor to get them on the right track instead of keeping them at arm’s length,” he said.

That’s why Campa said the board isn’t only for those on the way to mast — it’s also designed to catch problems in Sailors’ behavior before they rise to that level.

“There doesn’t have to be charges as with a disciplinary review board,” Campa said. “It can be proactive if you have a Sailor with a track record of just not getting it — and their chief has counseled them and done all they can do, you can bring that sailor in front of a chiefs’ standards and conduct board as well.”

The idea was tested at six commands around the Navy from October 2007 to January 2008 — onboard two cruisers and an aircraft carrier and with a patrol squadron and two training commands.

A total of 201 boards were held, 176 of which involved misconduct charges, while the remaining 25 were conducted for proactive reasons. Recommendations for mast resulted from 116 of the 176.

In 48 of the 60 nonmast cases, the Sailors were offered the voluntary diversion punishment. Of those, only nine were repeat offenders. Four ended up at mast as a result of their new offenses.

The remaining 12 nonmast cases were dismissed outright as a result of the board’s findings.

NOTE: I am from the old school. I thought the Chief Petty Officers always had this authority.


Michael said...

This was always the CPO's job; don't understand the need to institutionalize such. "Back in the day" is was commonly understood that barring egregious transgressions against the UCMJ, taking one's Sailor to mast was basic admission that one had failed to get the Sailor on the right tack w/o resorting to formal procedures.

Jason Knudson said...

I ran into an instance of this with a USMC Colonel as a CO and a USN CDR as an XO. The USMC does not have this sort of Senior Enlisted filtering process, and as such, the people going to mast did not get the opportunity to participate in this "traditional" process even though they were Navy. By institutionalizing it, we ensure that we can protect our sailors by keeping small infractions at the lowest level possible, no matter who is in charge.

Anonymous said...

Captain Lambert,

I am really unaware of where this Navy is headed. From the time I was an LPO of my division on a Destroyer I controlled the Sailors that worked for me, that was the job of the LPO, and when I needed help I called on the Chief. When I became Chief I felt I was responsible for all the Sailors that were under my control, and it was a failure on my part if any of my Sailors had to go to Captains Mast. I even halted a number of mast cases by going to the Captain and asking him to allow me to relieve him of this particular mast problem. I was met with results that were surprising but as it turns out the load was placed on the shoulders of the Chief.

Very Respectfully,