I was in a conversation yesterday about restitution at courts-martial. Restitution is not a formal "punishment" that can be imposed by the military judge. There are discussions to change that.
But, for the moment; Is it ethical to negotiate for restitution to get either a lesser sentence or an alternate disposition even?
I think yes, partly because I've done it and the Virginia Bar and state law seems au fait with that.
At or before the time of sentencing, the court shall receive and consider any plan for making restitution submitted by the defendant.
See § 19.2-305.1.C, Code of Virginia. So, that seems to support the idea of negotiating restitution as an ethical practice. But, this is the military not the Commonwealth.
R.C.M. 705(c)(2)(C) anyone? So my question is not can you, rather, why don't you. It is doable, I have done it, as have some others.
1. Imagine a Sailor comes down to berthing from flight deck operations and finds his footlocker rifled as a piece of electronics missing. A suspect is identified and in the investigation we resolve some other mysterious property disappearances. Assume the Sailor's electronic device is recovered but it is unusable. A court-martial is in order because a shipboard thief is bad for morale and good order and discipline.
The first step is to have the Sailor file an Article 139, UCMJ, claim against the offender. That's a form of restitution and the approved amount comes from the offender's paycheck. But back to court-martial.
2. How about assault cases. Imagine a Soldier assaults someone off base and a bill for the emergency room is delivered to the victim (and because of a TriCare deductible (or a not very good insurance policy) the victim is out some money.
3. How about sexual assault cases. The victim goes to an off-base provider for medical or mental health care which is not fully reimbursed through TriCare or medical insurance.
Imagine that a defense counsel comes to you with an offer to provide restitution to the victim in exchange for some favorable PTA terms. You talk to the TC and between the three of you (and the SVC/VLC if there is one) you agree on terms which you will recommend to the CA. So far so good. And, the prepared DC says, here is a photocopy of the check already written out.
The first response is, if we are going to do this, please provide a copy of a cashiers check or money orders. The DC's response is sure, once you tell me the deal is good to go, perhaps even signed.
Or, the DC submits a written PTA with a term that says, if, within 30 days of the sentence being announced, the accused provides . . . , or, if on or before trial the accused provides . . ., the convening authority agrees to suspend some confinement, some forfeitures, or portion of a fine. I have been in court where the MJ witnessed the handing over of the check during the Green/King inquiry. 
Over the years I think we have all seen that specific financial impacts from assaultive offense can be a barrier to the survivor dealing with the effects of the assault. If that one specific issue can be addressed then the survivor can focus on other efforts to deal with the assault. I come to this thought partly because of my own interest in the Restorative Justice practice of dealing with the accused and the victim in an offense.
If you care to read more about the restorative justice philosophy and efforts to apply it, try this survivor's story, or the District Attorney for San Francisco (you will find plenty of civilian jurisdictions working with such programs), or here, or the Canadian government, or here, or here at Univ. Wisconsin Law, or here--to point out a few items. If you give some thought to these programs you will see that, while the offender may benefit, it is the survivor who likely can gain more.
To go back to the start. Not every crime results in specific economic harm to a victim like the loss or destruction of property, the unreimbursed hospital bills, or the lost wages from time away from work. So to be clear, I'm not suggesting that restitution should be a factor in situations that might otherwise sound like punitive damages as if the court-martial were a civil tort case.
 United States v. King, 3 M.J. 458 (C.M.A. 1977); United States v. Green, 24 C.M.A. 299, 1 M.J. 453, 456, 52 C.M.R. 10 (C.M.A. 1976).
-Current Term Opinions
Joint R. App. Pro.
Global MJ Reform
LOC Mil. Law