FORT BELVOIR, Va. (Feb. 22, 2013) -- Soldiers and Department of the Army civilians learned about the Five Essential Characteristics of the Army Profession and the three criteria for certification as an Army Professional during a Center for the Army Profession and Ethic meeting at Thurman Hall, Feb. 14.

The five essential characteristics include military expertise, honorable service, trust, espirit de corps and stewardship of the profession while the three criteria are competence, character and commitment.

All these characteristics are necessary to become an Army Professional, according to Col. Jeff Peterson, CAPE director.

The Army serves the American people, so the people need to be able to trust its Army professionals, according to Peterson. One key point of the class is that professions serve society.

"If you think about your identity within a profession that is responsible to society, it drives your values, behavior and conduct," said Peterson

Trust is the bedrock of the relationship between the Army Profession and the American people, Peterson said. Maintaining and building that trust is essential in encompassing the five characteristics.

Leaders, Soldiers, civilians and their families must also be able to build and maintain trust with each other, Peterson said.

"We have to maintain trust," said Peterson. "We must do it with the right expertise and do it honorably to take care of the Army in the long term."

While trust is important, maintaining integrity is another characteristic to remember while serving in, or working for, the Army, according to Fort Belvoir Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Chester D. Grelock, since having integrity is what builds trust.

"If you show me something, I'll trust you based on your integrity," said Grelock. "Trust is the essential ingredient, but with integrity. You have to be a person of your word."

Even though some Soldiers aren't going to like everything they do in the Army, it's important they sustain a professional attitude because being a professional means sometimes doing tasks you don't want to do, according to Grelock. The class is intended to encourage Soldier and civilian Army specialists to think about what it means to be an Army professional and be dedicated to the task at hand.

"The essential of being a professional is being able to have that discipline to do the job and have that willingness to complete the mission," said Grelock.

Quality over quantity was discussed during the class to show that organizations can accomplish more with several quality workers instead of a high number of average workers.

Though it was not the central point of the discussion, quality over quantity is important for Soldiers to remember as the Army transitions, according to Grelock.

You want people to have a 'no fail, no quit attitude,' Grelock added. The biggest hurdle is turning someone's heart on and keeping them in the mental makeup of doing the job no matter what the circumstances.

The Army is comprised of three corps, the enlisted corps, the officer corps and the civilian corps. One of the products of the five characteristics of the Army profession is its relationship between active-duty servicemembers and its civilian corps.

Peterson said the Army's expertise is the design, generation, support and application of land power, and the Army wouldn't be able to accomplish any of it without DA civilian contributions.

"They take the same oath as officers and demonstrate the same character, commitment and competence as uniformed professionals," said Peterson. "So, the Army can't do its job without both communities."

Whether you are a military leader or civilian employee, the same principles of leadership and management apply, according to Edward Milligan, Plans, Analysis and Integration Office interim director.

"You still have to know your people and set standards," Milligan said. "So, there is a definite correlation between the military leader and civilian leader."

Department of Army Civilians make up installation support groups like the Directorate of Families, Morale, Welfare and Recreation, Directorate of Public Works and Resource Management.

Civilians are able to unburden force commanders of having to deal with those responsibilities, Milligan said.

"That's where civilians have the majority of responsibility," said Milligan. "Commanders have the final say, but we take the responsibility of having to assess those situations off their shoulders."