The DA 4856, or Developmental Counseling Form, is used to summarize regularly scheduled counseling not occasioned by the need to correct any soldier deficiencies. Soldier of rank E-4 and below should generally receive counseling once per month. The primary reference for DA form 4856 is FM 6-22, the “keystone leadership manual” for the United States Army.
It is the responsibility of every army Non Commissioned Officer (NCO) to provide counseling to the soldiers under his or her command, especially when problems crop up. Minor problems that do not come up to a level requiring reference to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) should be addressed via DA Form 4856, the Developmental Counseling Form.
The DA 4856 is offered in two basic forms. The first form is simply a PDF or DOC file, which you can download from a variety of sources online. You then print it out with the appropriate software and fill out by hand. It is also offered in “fillable” form. What this means is that you fill it out online. Then, you are offered the opportunity to either save the now-completed form, print it out, or even to Email it.
The DA 4856 spans two pages. There are four main parts to be completed.
How to Fill Out a DA 4845 Form
Part I of the DA 4856 is entitled Administrative Data. There are spaces for the name and rank of the individual that is being counseled, as well as for the date of the counseling. The military organization of which the counselee is a member is noted, as is the name and title of the counselor.
Part II is entitled Background Information. The form itself includes a brief description of what is to go into the section, specifically: “Leader states the reason for the counseling, e.g. Performance/Professional or Event-Oriented counseling, and includes the leader’s facts and observations prior to the counseling.”
Part III, Summary Of Counseling, is the largest part of Form DA 4856, it spans across two pages and it is recommended that this part be filled out during the counseling or immediately thereafter. It consists of four separate sections. They are Key Points of Discussion, Plan of Action, Session Closing, and Leader Responsibilities.
The first of the four sections, Key Points of Discussion, is usually a description of why the counseling session is being held. The Plan of Action describes what the counselee must do to reach the goals agreed on in the session. In the third section, Session Closing, the counselee either agrees or disagrees with the counselor’s views of the counseling session and the Plan Of Action, and affixes his or her signature to the answer given. In the final section of Part III, Leader Responsibilities, the leader states his or her responsibilities, and also signs the DA 4856.
Part IV, entitled Assessment Of The Plan Of Action, is the last part of the DA 4856. Here, the counselor and counselee, at a later date, jointly evaluate whether or not the plan worked. Both individuals sign this part of the form.
DA 4856 | Developmental Counseling Form