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A Soldier's Morality, Religion, and Our Professional Ethic: Does the Army's Culture Facilitate Integration, Character Development, and Trust in the Profession? - The Army's Professional Ethic
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Article Index
A Soldier's Morality, Religion, and Our Professional Ethic: Does the Army's Culture Facilitate Integration, Character Development, and Trust in the Profession?
Background & Context
Background & Context continued
The Evolving Culture of Hostility toward Religious Presence and Expression
Evolving Culture of Hostility continued
The Army's Professional Ethic
Army's Professional Ethic continued
The Challenge and Opportunities to the Leader of Faith
Challenge & Opportunities continued
Opportunities for Leaders of Religious Faith
Why Not Just Let Soldiers of Religious Faith Leave the Army?
All Pages

II. The Army's Professional Military Ethic
While we have addressed the culture of hostility toward religious expression as it exists throughout the DoD, our focus now shifts downward in hierarchy to the Department of the Army. Here our analysis will focus on the Army as a military profession that, like all professions, uses its ethic as the primary means of social control over institutional policies as well as over its personnel and their professional work.

Fortunately for this discussion, the Army has very recently (June 2013) officially articulated for the first time its understanding of itself as a military profession: Army Doctrine Reference Publication No. 1, (ADRP1), The Army Profession.19 Included in the new doctrine is a significant discussion on the leader’s role in building and maintaining trust—the central organizing principle of the profession—by adherence to the Army’s Ethic. That discussion includes a framework for integrating and understanding the many different components of the Army’s Ethic.20 (See Figure 1.)

The Army as Profession (Laws/values/norms for performance of collective institution)

Legal-Institutional: The U.S. Constitution; Titles 3,10,32, U.S. Code; Treaties of which the U.S. is party; Status-of-Forces Agreements; Law of Armed Conflict

Moral-Institutional: The U.S. Declaration of Independence; Just War Tradition; Trust Relationships of the Profession

The Individual as Professional (Laws/values/norms for performance of individual professionals)

Legal-Individual: Oath of Enlistment, Commission, Office; U.S. Code—Standards of Exemplary Conduct; UCMJ; Rules of Engagement; Soldier's Rules

Moral-Individual: Universal Norms—Basic Rights, Golden Rule; Values, Creeds and Mottos—"Duty, Honor, Country," NCO Creed, Civilian Creed, 7 Army Values, Soldier's Creed, Warrior Ethos

NCO   - noncommissioned officer     U.S.     - United States     UCMJ - Uniform Code of Military Justice

Figure 1. The Framework of the Army Ethic.

While it is beyond the scope of this monograph to present the Army Ethic completely, four aspects of it are of interest to the issue we are addressing:

1. The Ethic has two foundations—legal and moral. Since the inception of the Army in 1775, its ethic has had both legal (codified) and moral foundations. War, the practice of the Army Profession by its brutal nature, has long been viewed as a vexing moral challenge. Over the centuries, nations have sought to legitimize some acts of war under certain conditions and to delegitimize others, to constrain the horrors of war as well as the peacetime behavior of martial institutions, by legal code. As the framework shows, these constraints apply today to the Army as an institution, as well as to individual Soldiers, in peace and in war. But there are also the moral foundations of our ethic, which apply in similar manner to both the institution and individual professionals. Of importance to this monograph is the recognition that Soldiers are to be aware that their personal morality, their views on the “Universal Norms”—what they personally believe to be good, right, and just—are to be considered and integrated with other legal and moral norms of interpersonal behavior as they live their lives and fulfill their professional responsibilities. Army professionals are to live and act each day based on both the legal and moral foundations of the profession’s ethic, and a part of those moral norms is their personal morality. No Army professional is ever asked to give up his or her personal morality to become a Soldier; rather their task is integration with the profession’s ethic in order to serve and lead with personal integrity (see further discussion on Aspect 4 later in the monograph).

2. The Motivations of the Army Ethic. As the new doctrine explicates, each of these sets of ethical foundations, legal and moral, tend to produce different forms of motivation in Army professionals. The legal norms produce the motivation of obligation (I have taken an oath and I must do my duty, or I am in violation of my oath and will be punished under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for dereliction of those duties). In contrast, the motivation produced under the moral norms is that of aspiration (I want to do what is right, both legally and morally, because that is what I believe in; it is who I am now and who I am becoming in the future; it authentically reflects my personal character and values and reflects why I am an Army professional).21 While both forms of motivation have their uses, it is common sense, as well as Army doctrine, to prefer transformational leadership that draws on the moral foundations and inspires Army professionals to honorable service over motivation that is based punitively on law and regulations.22

Last Updated on Monday, 17 November 2014 09:22