JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. (Jan. 10, 2013) -- U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command officially kicked off the year-long "America's Army -- Our Profession" education and training program by hosting a professional development workshop Jan. 3, at the command's headquarters on Fort Eustis, Va.

The session, conducted by TRADOC's G-3/5/7, was the first within the Army for the program developed by the Center for Army Profession and Ethic, or CAPE. The purpose of America's Army -- Our Profession is to reaffirm Soldiers and Army civilians' understanding of the Army Profession and commitment to upholding the Army ethic.

"The primary goals of the America's Army-Our Profession program are to create an enduring emphasis on the Army Profession, to strengthen our professional identity, to motivate behaviors that are consistent with our values and the Army ethic and to inspire future generations of Army professionals," said Col. Jeffrey Peterson, director of CAPE.

The TRADOC session began with a brief background on the program, which sparked discussion among the civilians and Soldiers in the room -- those still serving and several who retired and now serve as Army civilians -- about how the Army has changed throughout the years.

"The session served to re-blue the concepts from which this generation of senior leaders came, and reminded us all that the junior and midgrades who have followed us have a compelling need for understanding -- and living -- the Army Profession," said Col. John Bessler, director of Future Ops, TRADOC G-3/5/7.

Tom Patrick, who retired from the Army as a lieutenant colonel in 1984 after 20 years of service and now serves as the chief, Operations Division, Training Operations Management Activity, TRADOC G-3/5/7, said while he was still in the Army, he began to see a change in younger leaders -- noncommissioned officers and officers -- who began to think of it not as a profession, but as a job.

"It was a change, and I was appalled that it was happening," Patrick said. "This (dialogue on the Army Profession) is long overdue."

Nelson Dodd, director of Leader Development Integration Directorate, TRADOC G-3/5/7, who facilitated the discussion, continued with an overview of America's Army -- Our Profession, followed by a number of topics for discussion, including what it means to be a vocation, what it means to be certified as well as the importance of the Army Profession and the five essential characteristics of the profession: trust, military expertise, honorable service, esprit de corps and stewardship of the profession.

"I felt our initial session went extremely well," Dodd said. "We had great participation and dialogue from both the civilian and military members in G-3/5/7, meeting the vision and intent of the chief of staff of the Army."

Based largely on information provided by CAPE through training support packages, these topics also serve as takeaways for directors to discuss within their sections, thus promoting and encouraging continuing dialogue about the Army Profession.

"The initial session was a great way to introduce leadership and leaders to the concept of the Army Profession because it emphasized why it's important for leaders at all levels to be active participants and touchstones for their peers and subordinates," Bessler said.

America's Army -- Our Profession consists of four quarterly themes: standards and discipline; Army customs, courtesies and traditions; military expertise; and trust. These themes will be used to guide discussion and professional development within Army organizations throughout the year.

Also referred to as the "implementation phase," America's Army -- Our Profession is the successor to the Army Profession Campaign, a yearlong campaign designed to solicit feedback from the force -- both military and civilian -- on what it means to be a profession as well as a member of the Profession of Arms.

"Essentially, what we have done is surveyed nearly a half million Soldiers and leaders to ask this young generation if they want to be a profession," said Gen. Robert W. Cone, commanding general of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. "And the beauty of this is that they have self-critiqued. They have said, 'Yes, we want to be a profession,' and they have defined what a profession means."

Using feedback gathered Armywide from more than 40,000 Soldiers and Army civilians, the Center for Army Profession and Ethic, or CAPE, released the first Army Profession Report April 2, 2012, which led to the foundation and development of the 2013 campaign, America's Army -- Our Profession.

Units throughout the Army can conduct their own professional development sessions -- similar to the one hosted by TRADOC's G-3/5/7 -- or request a CAPE representative to facilitate a one to three-hour workshop.

"Leaders do not have to build these programs on their own because the Center for the Army Profession and Ethic provides multiple resources to support all organizations," Peterson said. "Leaders can conduct their own America's Army -- Our Profession training, made possible with ready-to-use, interactive and engaging training resources found on our website."

For more training resources and information on America's Army -- Our Profession, visit CAPE's website at