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The Army Ethic White Paper July 2014 - Discussion part 7
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Article Index
The Army Ethic White Paper July 2014
Introduction & Background
The Problem and The Risk
Discussion continued
Discussion part 3
Discussion part 4
Discussion part 5
Discussion part 6
Discussion part 7
Reinforcing the Army Profession plus Summary & Solution
The Army Ethic—Heart of the Army
All Pages

The U.S. Army Learning Concept for 2015 discusses an Army learning model that develops Soldiers and leaders capable of meeting the challenges of operational adaptability in an era of persistent conflict.51 In order to support such leader development, the Army Learning Model (ALM) must include critical, creative, and ethical thinking in its design and implementation. Otherwise, it will not fully serve its purpose, as clearly stated in The Army Capstone Concept.


“To facilitate the necessary level of adaptation, Army forces empower increasingly lower echelons of command with the capabilities, capacities, authorities, and responsibilities needed to think independently and act decisively, morally, and ethically.”52 —TRADOC Pamphlet 525-3-0, The Army Capstone Concept

We cannot expect that Army Professionals will be worthy of Trust -- through consistent demonstration of Character, Competence, and Commitment -- without explicit programs to provide for their professional development. Such programs, including education, training, experience, and opportunities for self-development are a professional expectation within the institutional Army. The Army doctrine on training of units and developing leaders provides the rationale.

“Good training gives Soldiers confidence in their abilities and the abilities of their leaders, forges Trust [emphasis added], and allows the unit to adapt readily to new and different missions.”53 —ADP 7-0 Training Units and Developing Leaders

This observation reveals that “good training” provides for Competence (the ability to perform Duty to Standard) and Character (the Commitment to perform Duty in accord with the Army Ethic).

The recently published Army Leader Development Strategy 2013 (ALDS) is guided by the imperative to develop Competent and Committed leaders of Character.54

“Leader development is the deliberate, continuous, and progressive process—founded in Army Values—that grows Soldiers and Army Civilians into competent, committed professional leaders of character. Leader development is achieved through the career-long synthesis of the training, education, and experiences acquired through opportunities in the institutional, operational, and self-development domains, supported by peer and developmental relationships. All of these take place in and are influenced by the society the Army is sworn to defend under the Constitution. Our strategy must be all encompassing….”55Army Leader Development Strategy 2013

The Army Ethic is central to achieving this goal. The ALDS notes that, “Mastering the fundamentals is a professional obligation and provides the basis by which Army leaders operate effectively [emphasis added] in the joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational (JIIM) environment.”56 Recognizing the importance of operating ethically, as well as effectively, makes articulating the Army Ethic imperative. The strategy continues, “The leaders we develop today will meet the security challenges of tomorrow. Our organizations will be judged by the performance of leaders serving in areas where critical thinking skills [emphasis added] are essential.”57 Explicitly including the imperative of ethical reasoning highlights the need for an articulated Army Ethic. Recognizing this critical component of leader development is particularly relevant to future challenges, especially those created by emerging technologies. 

Joint Doctrine addresses moral and ethical considerations in decision making and in the application of force, embedding moral action within the “Center of Gravity.” It recognizes that legitimacy, which can be a decisive factor, is based on the legality, morality, and rightness of actions.58

The Art of Joint Command includes, “The combination of courage, ethical leadership, judgment, intuition, situational awareness, and the ability to consider contrary views gained over time through training, education, and experience helps commanders make difficult decisions in complex situations.”59 Replacing the word “difficult” with the word “right” (ethical, effective, and efficient) redresses an ambiguity (what makes a decision “difficult”) and provides the opportunity to focus on making right decisions and taking right actions.

Last Updated on Friday, 14 November 2014 12:35