Corrective Training in the Army

I am going to discuss something that is a touchy subject for some. I am going to talk about corrective training. NCOs rely on it to train and mold their subordinate Soldiers. Some NCOs are better at it than others, in the sense of being creative and finding ways to make the punishment suit the crime. Others are a big fan of physical exertion.

Physical Training (More PT Sergeant! More PT!) tends to be a favorite in the combat arms community, because it provides opportunity to provide improvement in physical fitness (which is extremely important to their overall mission). Talk to any combat arms NCO, and they will tell you their favorite methods for giving their Soldiers more PT. However, being well-versed in different methods of corrective training is important. You should know your Soldiers and know how to execute corrective training so it actually corrects their behavior, instead of impeding progress.

Just what is corrective training? Army Regulation 600-20, Paragraph 2-18b (3), Army Command Policy, states “NCOs are assistants to commanders in administering minor nonpunitive corrective actions.” Note nonpunitive measures are not the same as nonjudicial punishment, which only may be directed by commanding officers.” Corrective training is any kind of training that can assist a leader in correcting a Soldier’s behavior or performance.

So, we know that only commanders can direct NJP (even though NCOs can make recommendations to them if necessary). We know that NCOs don’t have the authority to direct NJP, but can enforce other kinds of training. The buzzword floating around nowadays is ‘hazing’, which just makes me think of college, not the Army.

I don’t think corrective training should just be physical. There are those Soldiers that are in peak physical condition, so making them do iron mikes will not accomplish anything. If they have problems with equipment accountability, finding a way to help them learn how to be accountable is a more appropriate method of corrective training than making them do pushups. However, sometimes physical training is absolutely necessary, and should be used.

Some Soldiers struggle with their APFT, and remedial PT is a form of corrective training. If a Soldier can’t ever qualify first time go on the range, PMI should be done as often as you think appropriate. If they fail to do something, you can have them prepare a class on it and deliver it to the platoon.

Corrective training should be supervised by an NCO to ensure it is being done to standard. Note that this is not the same as extra duty, which comes along with an Article 15. Extra duty doesn’t have to be related to the infraction, which is what makes it different from corrective training.

Some units respond differently to different types of corrective training. One of my husband’s former Soldiers was a private in his squad on her first deployment, therefore she learned everything about corrective training from an infantry unit. After her deployment, she went back to her unit, eventually promoted to SGT, and got talked to for trying to make one of her Soldiers do PT for corrective training (when it would have actually been appropriate). Do you think that different units approach corrective training differently than each other? Do you think it has anything to do with the command climate?

What do you think about corrective training? How do you use it in your unit? Tell me your favorite methods in the comments section. I think that corrective training, done right, is an important method. It shows that you take training seriously and that Soldiers can expect to be held to the standard

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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15 thoughts on “Corrective Training in the Army”

  1. I am a big fan of tough love – otherwise called corrective training. Growing up an Army brat my father would often resort to PT as punishment – especially with my brother. It never really worked because the punishment never fit the crime. If my brother left dad’s tools out in the rain what would 100 push-ups do? I’ll tell you: nothing. I’m not sure having set guidelines would work either because you can train everyone the same way but that doesn’t mean they learn the same way. Depending on the severity of the wrongdoing, the immediate superior should document it and deal with it. I don’t believe that’s hazing – it’s assuring all soldiers are up to par so they don’t get anyone hurt or killed in the long run.

  2. I will never forget the corrective training I experienced in a combat arms troop that I was attached to. I had a negligent discharge; it was terrible. That too on a training lane. The cadre explained to my NCO that I had to leave the training site, and that things like this were taken seriously. Instead of berating me in public or making me do harsh physical training which I was already used to at the time since I was in a combat arms unit, my NCO made me perform SPORTS every single second he saw me. I will never forget that; not only did it make me aware of how I was clearing my weapon, it also taught me the value of staying vigilant no matter how tense or crazy the surrounding situation is. I mean, in the middle of a talk with my then commander, he asked me to perform SPORTS. At the board, it was one of my requirements. I will never regret it. I still apply that principle to my Soldiers today. The Soldier should learn something from the corrective training, hence “corrective”.

  3. I firmly believe this situation is a lot like raising children. I had three children and I found that corrective discipline had to fit each child. I believe it is the same with soldiers and it takes wisdom to figure it out.

    My oldest child was very strong mentally and a spanking would usually solve the issue, along with physical labor.

    My middle son was very strong physically and a spanking was nothing to him, but stick him in the corner for 15 minutes and he was fixed.

    My daughter was the type that making her work usually worked.If an NCO is trained to know the soldier and what makes them “tick,” the discipline will work.

    1. Candace Ginestar

      Greg, knowing your Soldiers is like knowing your children, I agree. Being an effective leader means understanding those you lead, and this will only benefit you in every situation.

      1. Corrective training, as Chuck stated, does not always need to be physical. It could be that the soldier hates doing paperwork, so having them do a load of paperwork may be a great training. As Neetz said, sports, be it running or jumping jacks may be a good answer. Knowing your soldiers and what they hate doing the most can give you excellent ideas on corrective measures.

        1. It’s kind of like dealing with your own kids. Each kid has a different personality and hot button. What works for one Soldier probably won’t work with other Soldiers.

  4. I have mixed feelings about corrective training myself.

    To be quite frank with you, I think it’s good for minor infractions, such as being late for formation, temporarily misplacing equipment, etc. I don’t think it should be used for disrespect, disobeying lawful orders, EO Violations, adultery, etc.

    If you decide to use corrective training, the corrective training should BENEFIT the Soldier in the long haul. It should make them better. For instance, if a Soldier has misplaced some of their TA-50, or even just lost accountability of it, you could have them read certain excerpts of a property accountability regulation and write up a report about it. You could have them teach an OPD/NCODP. You could have them give a class to everyone in the unit and share their new knowlege.

    With these examples, the Soldier actually LEARNED something from the corrective training and then they shared that knowledge with others.

    In my experience, for major things/infractions, I believe in judicial punishment and non-judicial punishment is the way to go (AR 15, Bar to Reenlistment, demotion, etc.).

    Whatever you decide to do for corrective action (or not), I also believe that everything should be put in writing: what the Soldier did, what the corrective training was, and what is in store ahead. This creates a paper trail and supports any future actions.

    Just my two cents.

    1. Candace Ginestar

      Chuck, I agree that major infractions need to be backed up by UCMJ or something more serious. The point of corrective training is that it actually pertains to the issue. Plus, not everyone is affected by PT, it should not be the first option for everyone.

    2. It amazes me that there are not strict guidelines on what needs to be corrective training and what needs to be punished in a much harder method. It seems to me that favortism could jump in and play a big role in all of this.

      I believe the Army needs to draw up guidelines with amendments as new infractions occur.

      Yes, it needs a major overhaul.

      1. Candace Ginestar

        Seems like a common sense issue to me, but we all know that common sense isn’t common. We do need better guidelines, and of course commander’s discretion is important, but some things need more serious attention.

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