Profession of Arms

11067 words 45 pages
An Army White Paper:
The Army Profession of Arms, Its Culture, and Ethic

The overall objective of the Army Profession of Arms campaign is for Soldiers and leaders to refine their understanding of what it means to be professionals--expert members of the Profession of Arms--after nine years of war and to recommit to a culture of service and the responsibilities and behaviors of our profession as articulated in the Army Ethic.
GEN Martin E. Dempsey, CG, TRADOC

The preeminent military task, and what separates [the military profession] from all other occupations, is that soldiers are routinely prepared to kill…in addition to killing and preparing to kill, the soldier has two other principal duties…some soldiers die and, when they are
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Within the inherently competing tensions caused by the Army’s dual structure as a Profession of Arms and a government occupation serving within a hierarchical bureaucracy, will the Army institutionally and its Soldiers individually, “…recommit to a culture of service and the responsibilities and behaviors of our profession as articulated in the Army Ethic?”

This central question frames the major challenge now facing the Army’s strategic leaders, the sergeants major, colonels, and general officers: how to lead the Army in such a manner that its culture, ethic, and behavior are those of a profession capable to implement in the future the concepts inherent within Operational Adaptability. Make no mistake, as will be discussed in subsequent sections, our Army needs a “professional” bureaucracy in its supporting organizations to maintain our manning, equipping, training, and other systems. What is critical is that those systems are all aligned to support the Profession of Arms, versus that profession being conformed and constrained by its supporting organizations.

The purpose of the remainder of this White Paper, then, is to frame and facilitate the Army’s dialogue by presenting descriptively the three foundational concepts necessary to maintain an effective profession: first, the concept of the Army as a Profession of Arms with unique characteristics; second, an understanding of the culture of the profession; and third, the


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