SMA: The Army Ethic 'doorway' to profession

By David VergunAugust 1, 2014

Army ethics
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Army ethics
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WEST POINT, N.Y. (Army News Service, Aug. 1, 2014) -- The Army Ethic is the "doorway" into our profession, said Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III.

From the time Soldiers enter the Army through that doorway to the time they leave the Army, and hopefully for the rest of their lives, there's that "expectation that we're going to act ethically," he said, during an interview at the conclusion of the CSA Army Profession Symposium, held Wednesday through Thursday.

"It's the job of leaders to ensure every Soldier understands what it means to be a member of this proud and noble organization," Chandler added.

Ethics cannot be learned simply by memorizing the Soldiers Creed or the Army Ethos, he said. For example, it's not enough to memorize the phrase "Soldier's never leave a fallen comrade." It's even more important to know "why we never leave a fallen comrade.

"We never leave a fallen comrade," he explained, "because we serve honorably and what we do impacts the entire organization and affects the trust the American people place on our Army."

Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy, said the importance of ethics to Soldiers in combat involves not only the way enemy combatants and locals are treated, but also activity within the FOB, or forward operating base.

As a division commander in Iraq, he said "most of the ethical decisions I dealt with were inside the FOB; sexual harassment, command climate, things that affect unit morale."

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said ethics and leadership go hand-in-glove.

Leaders are entrusted with being "the stewards of our profession," he said, defining the profession as the competence, character and commitment based on trust that every Soldier must have. Leaders need to "inspire young men and women to want to be part of that profession."

Being a good steward, he continued, involves such things as instilling in Soldiers an appreciation for the customs, traditions and history of the Army and discussing the importance of ethics to the ultimate success of the Army.

Every Soldier takes an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, and as such Soldiers "are held to a higher ethical standard than people from other organizations." Upholding Army ethics "is a very large responsibility" and is an important part of upholding that oath, Odierno said.

At Solarium 2014, a symposium held earlier this month, Odierno said a group of captains discussed Army values and the Army Profession, and wanted to incorporate it into a slogan that would resonate among Soldiers and the American public.

They came up with "Trusted Professionals," he said. That theme also resonated with the 200 or so senior leaders attending this week's symposium, so Odierno said he and Secretary of the Army John McHugh decided to make it the theme of this year's AUSA Annual Meeting.

Although the main focus of instilling Army ethics will be through mentoring and making leaders understand the importance of discussing ethics with their Soldiers, the Army also is looking at opportunities to insert ethics into training and doctrine.

Ethics already is incorporated into training and doctrine, Lt. Gen. Robert B. Brown, commander, Combined Arms Center, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, said, but the Army is looking at ways to incorporate it more effectively.

Odierno added that the new Officer Evaluation Report emphasizes ethics and a new Non-commissioned Officer Evaluation Report will also emphasize ethics.

The 360-assessments, he said, also include self-development involving ethics and getting feedback from peers, subordinates and superiors. Officers are now using it and non-commissioned officers will be using it soon as well.

"This week's discussions reinvigorate how important this is," Odierno said. "We've had some great discussions over past couple of days, and those discussions will give us the opportunity to chart a course ahead on how we define the Army ethic. This is the single most important issue in the Army: the Army Profession."

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Army News Service

Related Documents:

The Army Ethic White Paper [PDF]

Related Links:

Center for Army Profession and Ethic

Army News Service

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Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler

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