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The Army Ethic White Paper
(Final Version of 11 July 2014)
“The foundation of our profession is centered on trust… it will take every measure of competence and commitment to forge ahead and above all it will take character.” —General Raymond T. Odierno, Chief of Staff, US Army, US Military Academy, 27 May 2014
“Being an [Army Professional] means a total embodiment of the Warrior Ethos and the Army Ethic. Our Soldiers need uncompromising and unwavering leaders. We cannot expect our Soldiers to live by an ethic when their leaders and mentors are not upholding the standard. These values form the framework of our profession and are nonnegotiable. —SMA Raymond F. Chandler, III , Sergeant Major of the Army, from an article published in Military Review, September 2011
11 July 2014
Center for the Army Profession and Ethic
Mission Command Center of Excellence
U.S. Army Combined Arms Center
U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command
Professionals are guided by their ethic; the set of principles by which they practice, in the right way, on behalf of those they serve – demonstrating their Character. This is their identity. Likewise, as Army Professionals we perform our Duty according to our Ethic. Doing so reinforces Trust within the profession and with the American people.
As we move further into the 21st Century, complete operations in Afghanistan, and preserve the legacy of honorable service and sacrifice we have all made during the last thirteen plus years of continuous conflict, we find ourselves in a period of strategic transition which presents tremendous opportunities for the profession. The Army should be the nation’s leading institution for human capital and ethical development. To become that leader, we must intensify our understanding of what it means for the Army to be a Profession. The recent publication of ADRP 1, The Army Profession, brought us a long way in achieving that understanding, but we must do more.
This White Paper identifies an omission in our doctrine – the absence of an articulated, accessible, and understandable expression of the Army Ethic. The Army Ethic does exist and emanates from our foundational heritage, beliefs, traditions, and culture. The intent, therefore, is not to invent the Army Ethic, but rather to glean its fundamental nature. Doing so is of urgent importance and is worthy of our collective wisdom and judgment. As the Army Profession prepares for the environment that lies ahead, we must anticipate the unique ethical challenges the future will present, and remain committed to developing Army Professionals of Character, Competence, and Commitment. Clearly articulating our ethic will help us do just that.
This effort allows us to synthesize and draw from previous expressions and prior work that collectively provide the content for a unifying, enduring, and comprehensive articulation of the Army Ethic. I envision this articulation assisting the Army with: informing and inspiring Army Professionals in making right decisions and taking right actions in the conduct of the mission, in the performance of Duty, and in all aspects of life; driving Character Development and Professional Certification; inspiring shared identity as Trustworthy Army Professionals; guiding the Army Profession in the ethical design, generation, support, and application of landpower (Honorable Service in defense of America’s values and people); and motivating stewardship of the Army Profession.
As we move forward with this strategically important initiative, I welcome your perspectives and recommendations in order to achieve consensus on the expression of our Ethic.
—Raymond T. Odierno, General, United States Army, Chief of Staff