...He was doing what he was told. In less dramatic language he was supposed to examine the decisions of his CO and find fault, reconsidering the CO's handling of events and providing a criticism highlighting potential weaknesses, shortcomings, blind spots, etc of each decision or series of decisions. The exercise reveals potential room for improvement, possible alternate methods of meeting goals, and generally promotes self-critical thinking crucial to conducting large scale operations. He's being given an opportunity to think through a series of events and examine how his thought process does or potentially could deviate from his CO's. Are they being more open about this process? Possibly. But to think it's an innovation is foolish.

I'm not even sure where you're trying to go with the moral courage bit. Is it morally courageous to be self critical and respectful, even desirous, of alternate solutions?