Welcome to overregulation
"Am I alone in thinking that these latter items are what we system and network administrators have been doing for years?"
No, but the main difference (the way I see it) is that you had a healthy dose of common sense. Which is something that seems to be rapidly declining these days. Back in the days you had people who knew what they were doing. New admins would get into a new environment, have the patience to learn how this environment worked and study the whole thing and then (and only then) would come up with ways in which they thought the whole thing could be improved. That's how you can grow and evolve.
These days the mindset is much more self-centered. You know best because you got a paper saying you studied. Therefor when you get into a new environment you know all there is to it and will tell everyone how bad the whole thing is because it didn't meet your expectations. Because obviously you know best.
Cool job winning that paper, but it hasn't taught you shit about how things work in the real world. You know: where people are trying to make money and keep things working in the most optimal way.
Yet I get the impression that it is because of nutjobs like that why people stick to dry regulation these days. At least that way you can somehow control the damage, hold people accountable for screw ups a whole lot easier ("you didn't follow procedure") and also help keep those nutjobs I talked about in line.
Of course you're also hindering that evolve part which I mentioned earlier, but many larger companies couldn't give less about that. Which, in my opinion, is their loss. Because over-regulation (as I tend to call it) can also seriously demotivate.