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The Army Ethic White Paper July 2014 - Discussion
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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 imperative of the Army Ethic is not new. Its influence on the conduct of our mission and the performance of Duty is evident in the guidance of General Washington and Congress to the Continental Army. “In 1776, American leaders believed that it was not enough to win the war. They also had to win in a way that was consistent with the values of their society and the principles of their cause….It happened in a way that was different from the ordinary course of wars in general. In Congress and the Army, American leaders resolved that the War of Independence would be conducted with a respect for human rights, even for the enemy.”9 Decades later, the Commander in Chief, President Lincoln, promulgated General Order No. 100 (1863) Instructions for the Government of Armies of the United States in the Field, based upon the Lieber Code, to guide the ethical conduct of the Union Army in the Civil War.10 Even later, as the American Army entered World War I, General John J. Pershing found it necessary to publish guidance concerning the conduct of his Officers and Soldiers.11

Following World War II, General George C. Marshall asked Brigadier General S.L.A. Marshall to write The Armed Forces Officer. He believed all services needed to base their professional commitment on a common moral-ethical foundation, providing guidance on conduct, standards, and Duty for the American military.12 Today, the current edition continues to instruct all services regarding the fundamental moral-ethical obligations of serving in the Armed Forces of the United States. The philosophy unites the uniformed services in their common calling of supporting, defending, and upholding the Constitution in service to our country.13

Over forty years ago, as the Army transitioned from the Vietnam War, the Study on Military Professionalism recognized there can be no tension between mission accomplishment and professional ethics.14

In 1986, then Chief of Staff of the Army General John A. Wickham, Jr. published DA Pam 600-68 – The Bedrock of Our Profession, which addressed the “Professional Army Ethic.”15 This document was not updated with the promulgation of Army Values and it expired.

In 1998, then Chief of Staff of the Army General Dennis J. Reimer directed that FM 22-100, Army Leadership include the essential nature of Army Values in guiding the decisions and actions of Army Professionals.

Values are at the core of everything our Army is and does. Army Values form the foundation of character. ... These values tell us what we need to be in every action we take. They are non-negotiable and apply to everyone all the time in every situation.16 —General Dennis J. Reimer, 33rd Chief of Staff of the Army

This sentiment endures. As affirmed in The United States Army Operating Concept, the Army Values serve as our guide about our covenant with the American people.17 The principle underlying this observation is emphasized in doctrine. “The Nation’s and the profession’s values are not negotiable. Violations are not just mistakes; they are failures in meeting the fundamental standards of the [Army Profession].”18 In this light, “American values affect every aspect of how U.S. forces fight and win.”19

Last Updated on Friday, 14 November 2014 12:35