WEST POINT, N.Y. (Army News Service, Aug. 22, 2007) - Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Richard Cody expanded West Point's role as the America's premier leader-development institution Friday by designating the U.S. Military Academy the Army Center of Excellence for the Professional Military Ethic.The move is part of Gen. Cody's initiative to formalize education programs aimed at bolstering the moral and ethical foundations of military service. Once operational, the center will reach across commands and the Army schools system to capture existing expertise and make available a variety of training resources."To me, the professional military ethic is our 'moral compass' that guides leaders to choose the harder right over the easier wrong," Gen. Cody told a crowd of approximately 230 alumni, staff and faculty, cadets and guests during the academy's alumni association meeting Friday.Lt. Col. Pat Sullivan, deputy director of West Point's ethics center, explained what the professional military ethic means and how the new designation is simply an expansion of a role the academy has been filling for some time."Our professional military ethic is the system of moral standards and principles that define our commitment to the nation. It's articulated through Army values, the Warrior Ethos, the NCO Creed, the Soldiers Creed, our oath of enlistment and oath of office - those norms and beliefs that guide our service and keep us on azimuth," Lt. Col. Sullivan said."West Point has provided training packages to Army units, ROTC detachments and civilian entities for years. We've hosted the National Conference on Ethics in America for more than 20 years. The Center of Excellence formalizes that function and will broaden the outreach - and audience - that we serve," Lt. Col. Sullivan added.Earlier in the day, Gen. Cody told cadets, "You are the morale compass and strength of this nation. You are the promise that no matter what the disaster, no matter the conflict, no matter the war ... this institution will not bend, this Army will not bow and this nation will never break."Lt. Gen. Buster Hagenbeck, West Point superintendent, noted the academy is uniquely suited for this critical function."West Point has been the wellspring of Soldier values for more than 200 years," Lt. Gen. Hagenbeck said. "This center will directly impact the development - Army-wide - of Soldiers and leaders of character who can meet the morally ambiguous challenges of the current security environment."The Center of Excellence for the Professional Military Ethic will provide the Army a range of leader-development resources. Plans include development of standing teams to meet requests for information and training, as well as scholarly research and publications addressing Army values and ethics. The existing Center for Company-Level Leadership will also offer practical exercises for junior-leader development through its online repository.(Maj. Tom Bryant works for the U.S. Military Academy Public Affairs Office.)