About the NCO Historical Society

The NCO Historical Society is an online, central repository allowing free access to information and material relating to the US Army Noncommissioned Officer Corps.

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We seek to provide easy access for soldiers, historians, researchers or others seeking to learn more about the professional enlisted Corps of the United States Army.

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The curator and founder of the NCO Historical Society is available for lectures, presentation or professional development sessions on NCO History.

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AR 600-20, Army Command Policy

Our listing of Army Regulation AR 600-20 links, current and historical, for your convenience

AR 600-20, Army Command Policy - Current Version, 18 March 2008 RAR, 20 Sept 2012

Historical archives of AR 600-20, Army Command Policy

Command

a. Privilege to command. Command is exercised by virtue of office and the special assignment of members of the United States Armed Forces holding military grade who are eligible to exercise command. A commander is, therefore, a commissioned or WO who, by virtue of grade and assignment, exercises primary command authority over a military organization or prescribed territorial area that under pertinent official directives is recognized as a "command." The privilege to command is not limited solely by branch of Service except as indicated in chapter 2. A civilian, other than the President as Commander-in-Chief (or National Command Authority), may not exercise command. However, a civilian may be designated to exercise general supervision over an Army installation or activity (for example, Dugway Proving Ground).

b. Elements of command. The key elements of command are authority and responsibility. Formal authority for command is derived from the policies, procedures, and precedents presented in chapters 1 through 3.

c. Characteristics of command leadership. The commander is responsible for establishing leadership climate of the unit and developing disciplined and cohesive units. This sets the parameters within which command will be exercised and, therefore, sets the tone for social and duty relationships within the command. Commanders are also responsible for the professional development of their Soldiers. To this end, they encourage self-study, professional development, and continued growth of their subordinates’ military careers.

(1) Commanders and other leaders committed to the professional Army ethic promote a positive environment. If leaders show loyalty to their Soldiers, the Army, and the nation, they earn the loyalty of their Soldiers. If leaders consider their Soldiers’ needs and care for their Well-being, and if they demonstrate genuine concern, these leaders build a positive command climate.

(2) Duty is obedient and disciplined performance. Soldiers with a sense of duty accomplish tasks given them, seize opportunities for self-improvement, and accept responsibility from their superiors. Soldiers, leader and led alike, work together to accomplish the mission rather than feed their self-interest.

(3) Integrity is a way of life. Demonstrated integrity is the basis for dependable, consistent information, decisionmaking, and delegation of authority.

(4) Professionally competent leaders will develop respect for their authority by— (a) Striving to develop, maintain, and use the full range of human potential in their organization. This potential is a critical factor in ensuring that the organization is capable of accomplishing its mission. (b) Giving troops constructive information on the need for and purpose of military discipline. Articles in the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) that require explanation will be presented in such a way to ensure that Soldiers are fully aware of the controls and obligations imposed on them by virtue of their military Service (see UCMJ, ART. 137). (c) Properly training their Soldiers and ensuring that both Soldiers and equipment are in the proper state of readiness at all times. Commanders should assess the command climate periodically to analyze the human dimension of combat readiness. Soldiers must be committed to accomplishing the mission through the unit cohesion developed as a result of a healthy leadership climate established by the command. Leaders at all levels promote the individual readiness of their Soldiers by developing competence and confidence in their subordinates. In addition to being mentally, physically, tactically, and technically competent, Soldiers must have confidence in themselves, their equipment, their peers, and their leaders. A leadership climate in which all Soldiers are treated with fairness, justice, and equity will be crucial to development of this confidence within Soldiers. Commanders are responsible for developing disciplined and cohesive units sustained at the highest readiness level possible. (d) Requirement of Exemplary Conduct (Section 3583, Title 10, United States Code (10 USC 3583)). All commanding officers and others in authority in the Army are required— 1. To show in themselves a good example of virtue, honor, patriotism, and subordination. 2. To be vigilant in inspecting the conduct of all persons who are placed under their command. 3. To guard against and suppress all dissolute and immoral practices, and to correct, according to the laws and regulations of the Army, all persons who are guilty of them. 4. To take all necessary and proper measures, under the laws, regulations, and customs of the Army. 5. To promote and safeguard the morale, the physical Well-being, and the general welfare of the officers and enlisted persons under their command or charge.

d. Assignment and command. Soldiers are assigned to stations or units where their services are required. The commanding officer then assigns appropriate duties. Without orders from proper authority, a Soldier may only assume command when eligible according to chapter 2.

NCO Support Channel

a. The NCO support channel (leadership chain) parallels and complements the chain of command. It is a channel of communication and supervision from the command sergeant major (CSM) to first sergeant (1SG) and then to other NCOs and enlisted personnel of the units. Commanders will define responsibilities and authority of their NCOs to their staffs and subordinates. This NCO support channel will assist the chain of command in accomplishing the following:

  • (1) Transmitting, instilling, and ensuring the efficacy of the professional Army ethic.
  • (2) Planning and conducting the day-to-day unit operations within prescribed policies and directives.
  • (3) Training of enlisted Soldiers in their MOS as well as in the basic skills and attributes of a Soldier.
  • (4) Supervising unit physical fitness training and ensuring that unit Soldiers comply with the weight and appearance standards of AR 600–9 and AR 670–1.
  • (5) Teaching Soldiers the history of the Army, to include military customs, courtesies, and traditions.
  • (6) Caring for individual Soldiers and their Families both on and off duty.
  • (7) Teaching Soldiers the mission of the unit and developing individual training programs to support the mission.
  • (8) Accounting for and maintaining individual arms and equipment of enlisted Soldiers and unit equipment under their control.
  • (9) Administering and monitoring the Noncommissioned Officer’s Development Program, and other unit training programs.
  • (10) Achieving and maintaining courage, candor, competence, commitment, and compassion.

b. The DA Pam 611–21 and FM 7–22.7 contain specific information concerning the responsibilities, command functions, and scope of NCO duties.

  • (1) Sergeant Major of the Army. This is the senior sergeant major grade and designates the senior enlisted position of the Army. The sergeant major in this position serves as the senior enlisted adviser and consultant to the CSA.
  • (2) Command sergeant major. This position title designates the senior NCO of the command at battalion or higher levels. He or she carries out policies and standards, and advises the commander on the performance, training, appearance, and conduct of enlisted Soldiers. The CSM administers the unit Noncommissioned Officer’s Development Program.
  • (3) First sergeant. The position of 1SG designates the senior NCO at company level. The 1SG of a separate company or equivalent level organization administers the unit Noncommissioned Officer’s Professional Development Program.
  • (4) Platoon sergeant. The platoon sergeant is the key assistant and adviser to the platoon leader. In the absence of the platoon leader, the platoon sergeant leads the platoon.
  • (5) Section, squad, and team leaders. These direct leaders are the NCOs responsible at this level.

c. NCO disciplinary policies are shown below: (1) NCOs are important to maintaining discipline in the Army. The policies prescribed in this subparagraph should be considered together with the provisions of chapter 4 of this regulation, AR 27–10, and the MCM. (a) NCOs have the authority to apprehend any person subject to trial by court-martial under the MCM (UCMJ, ART. 7 and para 302(b), rules for courts-martial) and chapter 4, of this regulation. (b) NCOs may be authorized by their commanders to order enlisted Soldiers of the commanding officer’s command or enlisted Soldiers subject to the authority of that commanding officer into arrest or confinement per the MCM (para 304(b), rules for courts-martial). (2) NCOs do not have authority to impose nonjudicial punishment on other enlisted Soldiers under the MCM (UCMJ, ART. 15). However, the commander may authorize an NCO in the grade of sergeant first class or above, provided such person is senior to the Soldier being notified, to deliver the DA Form 2627 (Record of Proceedings under UCMJ, ART. 15) and inform the Soldier of his or her rights. In cases of nonjudicial punishment, the recommendations of NCOs should be sought and considered by the unit commanders. (3) As enlisted leaders of Soldiers, NCOs are essential to furthering the efficiency of the company, battery, or troop. This function includes preventing incidents that make it necessary to resort to trial by courts-martial or to impose nonjudicial punishment. Thus, NCOs are assistants to commanders in administering minor nonpunitive corrective actions as found in AR 27–10 and Part V, paragraph 1g, of the MCM. "Nonpunitive measures" are not "nonjudicial punishment." (4) In taking corrective action with regard to subordinates, NCOs will be guided by and observe the principles listed in chapter 4.

d. NCO prerogatives and privileges are shown below. NCOs will— (1) Function only in supervisory roles on work details and only as NCOs of the guard on guard duty, except when temporary personnel shortages require the NCO to actively participate in the work detail. (2) Be granted such privileges as organization and installation commanders are capable of granting and consider proper to enhance the prestige of their enlisted troop leaders.

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