Army Unit Policy Letters

army unit policy lettersIn today’s post, we are going to discuss Army Unit Policy Letters.  We will discuss (1) what is a unit policy letter, (2) what type of policy letters should I create, (3) why do you need policy letters and (4) where should you post policy letters.  Let’s get started.

What is a Unit Policy Letter?

An Army Unit Policy Letter is normally a Memorandum for Record concerning a specific subject.  In the memorandum, the commander publishes his/her thoughts or guidelines about a certain subject.  These guidelines are the rules about something specific.  For example, an Equal Opportunity Policy Letter is the commander’s view on Equal Opportunity in their unit.

What Type of Policy Letters Should I Create?

There are many requirements for Commanders to post a Unit Policy Letter about.  Some of the common subjects include:

As a starting point, I recommend you reference your unit’s current policy binder and see what policy letters are in that book.  If you don’t have or can’t find your binder, I’d suggest that you talk with your unit S1.  They should have a good list of requirements.

Another idea is to visit a couple of other armories and units and see what types of policy letters they have posted on their unit bulletin board.  This is a great way to get new ideas.  If possible, get a copy of their policy letter so you can use it as a reference.

Why Do You Need a Policy Letter?

You need Unit Policy Letters for a few reasons.  First of all, it is an Army requirement.  Some of the Army Regulations require commanders to create and post a policy letter.  In addition, it is simply good business.  In the event there is an issue in your unit, you can help reduce your chances of getting fired if you have a published policy letter.  It’s also just good practice.  As a leader, your policy letters show that you care and that you put some thought into the matter.

Where Do You Post Your Unit Policy Letters?

I recommend you purchase a bulletin board and hang it on a wall outside of your unit headquarters.  This is a good place to post a copy of all of your unit policy letters.  In addition to doing that, I recommend you give your S1 Office a copy of each policy letter.  Furthermore, it makes sense to give every soldier in your unit a copy of your policy letter.  I recommend you brief your entire organization whenever you create and publish a new policy letter.  That way every soldier knows what is expected of them.  Finally, I recommend you create a unit binder for all of your unit policy letters.  This lets you keep a copy of your policy letters in one place, for quick reference.

Final Thoughts about Army Unit Policy Letters

In summary, Unit Policy Letters are an important document for every commander.  The purpose of your policy letter is to inform your soldiers what is expected of them concerning certain issues.  In many cases, it’s also a requirement to publish a policy letter.  I believe it is smart business to create policy letters and post them on your unit bulletin board.  It’s also important to make sure that each soldier gets briefed and understands your unit policies.  When possible, you should review all of your policy letters at least annually to see if they need to be updated or modified.

Do you have any questions or comments? Please post them below.

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Chuck Holmes

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17 thoughts on “Army Unit Policy Letters

  1. Jason Lewis

    Great post on unit policy letters. I have been trying to explain to my 1SG about the importance of policy letters. I also have been trying to stress the importance of Soldiers knowing what is expected of them. No importance is being placed on policy letters yet Soldiers still punished on not maintaining a standard that does not exist (policy letter). He does not want to hear that though. He consistently expects others to bring him a draft and do the work for him. Can you provide sound advice in terms of who should prepare the policy letters and when? If you could relate it to Army regulation all the better. (The policy in question is a barracks SOP. Not that it matters, same answer when it comes to him creating anything of the sort.) Thank you for your time.

    V/R

    Reply
  2. Katelyn Hensel

    In any situation, whether in the army, or in another form of work or business, it’s always good to have written documentation. Army Unit Policy Letters serve to cover your behind when being audited by a higher up if the issue persists at a later date. You can always say, “but I dealt with that last week!” but if there isn’t any paper trail confirming your story, it’s your word versus theirs.

    Reply
  3. Laura

    The unit I was in had the policy letters posted, but did not brief the soldiers. I would have to say, I honestly couldn’t have told you what was in them. To me the most vital part of your advice would be briefing the soldiers. Too often this is overlooked and though the information in the letters is important, it often gets missed.

    Reply
    1. Charles Holmes Post author

      Good point, Laura. This is exactly what I am trying to educate other leaders about. Having a Unit Policy Letter published on the bulletin board is just the starting point. You need to spend even more time teaching your Soldiers about each policy so they know what the standard is.

      Reply
  4. Andrew B.

    To be honest, I’ve always thought of Army Unit Policy Letters as just a paperwork requirement, but you do a good job in this post of explaining why they can be important for your unit. It is good to post them up, or even give them to soldiers individually, so that everyone knows up front exactly what’s expected. That way, there can be no confusion or people claiming they didn’t know the rules.

    Reply
    1. Charles Holmes Post author

      At one point in time, I used to think that Unit Policy letters were nothing more than a check the block. But as I got older and wiser I started to understand the importance of having policy letters in place.

      In addition, it’s just as important to brief your Soldiers on what the Unit Policy Letter says. That way they have a clear understanding of what the unit leaders expect of them.

      Reply
    2. Greg Boudonck

      I am glad you are understanding the whole point of having these policy letters. I always thought that if it even made one soldier consider his/her actions before doing something out of line, the policy letter was all worth it. Sometimes it gets easy to think that so much of the paperwork is not needed, but if you were to step out and look at the whole picture, even the paperwork that seems stupid has a purpose.

      Good post on this!

      Reply
  5. Leanne

    For many commanders, policy letters might sound like a lot of bureaucracy. You wonder why you need so many policy letters for things that are covered by regulations or policy letters by higher headquarters. Personally, I think they are much more than just check the block. I think it really boils down to the lowest level commander “thinking through” what is important to them concerning certain things, and then publishing their beliefs in policy letters so Soldiers know what is expected of them.

    Reply
  6. Daniel Slone

    Policy letters are also a good way to help shape your unit. As a first sergeant I issued (after coordination with my commander) my own policy letters regarding our remedial physical fitness program (for APFT failures) and the unit’s screening requirements for those about to attend any professional military education course (primarily to ensure the ability to pass the APFT at school). Policy letters are also housekeeping tools; I publish the NCODP schedule for the training year as a policy letter as well, for example.

    Reply
    1. Charles Holmes Post author

      These are great examples of what can be in a policy letter, Daniel. While there are some “required” policy letters such as Equal Opportunity and Sexual Harassment, I believe that the command team should publish a Unit Policy Letter for anything they deem important. This lets their Soldiers know they are serious and it is also a good way to “formally” prove a policy was in place if something goes bad.

      Reply
  7. Justin Long

    Nice article! I think that the most important aspect to what you are saying is the last tip…POSTING THEM! It is one thing to go through all the work to develop policies, etc. just for a Soldier to say they have no idea what the policy is because they have never seen it. Best thing to do is to inform all leadership each time a policy is developed, let that information trickle down. Always have a standard place where then the Soldier’s can reference the posted policy they were just informed about from their front line leadership.

    Reply
    1. chuckholmes Post author

      Good point, Justin. Posting the unit policy letters is vital! Soldiers deserve and need to know what the new policy is. Whenever a leader creates a new policy, they should take the time to brief their Soldiers on what the policy is and how it affects them. They should also give each Soldier a copy of the Policy Letter and post it on the Unit’s Bulletin Board.

      Reply
    2. chuckholmes Post author

      Spot on, Justin. It’s also a good idea to give every Soldier a copy of the Unit Policy Letter and to brief them on it. That way they have a clear understanding about what is expected of them.

      Reply
  8. Michelle

    Thanks for explaining this in detail. You often hear about these types of letters when there as internal military issue. My husband used to post his policy letters right outside his office, as you had suggested. You can also find policy letter examples online, which I know he did when he filed his first one.

    Reply
    1. Charles Holmes Post author

      Thanks for the comments, Michelle.

      All military leaders need to post their Unit Policy Letters and more importantly, brief their Soldiers on what the Unit Policy Letter says. Having something on the wall is a good starting point, but you still need to educate your Soldiers about what each policy letter says and how it pertains to them.

      Reply

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