I agree that in lieu of UCMJ, programs that you speak of
would work. Back in 2005 our BN had what they called "Fit to Fight", so
basically it was a program that was up to you to get off of (min 3 weeks). The
program was held on Saturdays at 0600. The 1st week APFT, if you passed with 60
in each event you moved on to week 2, if you failed then you stayed on week 1 until
you could meet the standard. Week 2 was a 4 mile run in 36 min, if you met that
standard you moved on to week 3, if not you went back to week 1. Week 3 a 12
mile road march in 3 hours if you failed to meet the standard back to week 1
and start over again from there. To get off the Fit to Fight program you had to
pass all 3 events consecutively to be removed.
This seemed to work for us, for some reason Soldiers were more afraid of
the Fit to Fight program, than losing the pay or rank.
So we developed a program called the DART Program. It stands for Drug and Alcohol Response Team. When we get "volunteers" either through UA or the local Police/MPs for a drug or alcohol issue, the Soldier is given the opportunity to volunteer for the DART program. Whenever a Soldier has a drug or alcohol issue, all members of the DART program will report to the SDNCO desk within two hours in their full Class A uniform. They will welcome the new "volunteer" to the program and stay with him/her until they are sober from whatever substance they are on. At that point on the weekends, each member of the team will give a class on an assigned subject area. The class must be a full power point presentation and it will be on something related to leadership, drugs, alcohol, or training. The NCOIC is a PSG, who is briefed by myself on the last duty day of the week. Myself and my 1SGs provide oversight to the NCOICs on a rotational basis. And yes we vetted this program through legal. It must be a voluntary basis, and the reward for volunteering is that the Soldier will receive some lienency for any UCMJ.
That being said, if you do not vet your programs through legal you are setting yourself up for failure. It is not about being scared, it is about being as smart as the young Soldiers. When we were PVTs, we did not have the wealth of information that technology provides, like the PVTs today. Nor were taught to ask why, we simply obeyed and complied. Generally speaking it takes legal 24 hours to validate that program is legal/illegal. If you need to implement your program in less than 24 hours then you have already waited to long. The reason I am so adament about using the tools available, (JAG, IG) is I have seen to many NCO's careers tossed because they went "old school" on a Soldier. As a Senior NCO we have a legal and morale obligation to protect our NCOs and shame on us if we fail to do this because we are too proud to ask JAG an opinion. If you disagree with the opinion you simply ask them to show you in the regulation where you cannot do it. Often you will find that their opinion is based on personal feeling rather than regulation. You can educate the JAG Officer on what right looks like and sway them to your side. At the end of the day, no NCO's career is worth taking a risk, especially not when we have so many assets available, and when all else fails we have UCMJ.