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Values key to teaching the Army profession

NTC and Fort Irwin Command Sergeant Major

Published: 12:06PM December 13th, 2012

What is “the profession?” It starts with our Army Values and is the essence of who we are. These values rely on a bedrock of mutual trust among Soldiers, leaders, Families, and the American people we serve. The key component of our way ahead is remaining focused on the professionalism of our force.

The profession is why people around the world recognize the American Soldier as a symbol of the U.S., just as they do the White House or the Washington Monument. Do your Soldiers know Army ethics guide a professional’s performance? This is not a trivial or academic point. Both you and your Soldiers’ understanding of why and how the Army fights is a functional imperative. Your Soldiers need to understand and accept that they serve for a noble and right cause. Otherwise, they may doubt the value of their service or question their commitment to the Army profession. Do you provide the purpose, direction, and motivation they need to remain committed to the profession?

If you’re not sure where to start teaching the profession, I recommend you use Army Doctrine Publication 1 as your guide. The ADP 1 gives us the overarching character of the Army profession. Furthermore, it inculcates the “3 C’s” (character, commitment, and competence) that will help you and your Soldiers understand those deep-seated values that guide us in our day-to-day operations.

The first step in teaching is learning. Do you believe that you are an Army professional? Do you provide the picture and actions of an Army professional every day? If you allow disconnects between word and deed, gaps can be created between those values you articulate, and values you embody. When leaders (and Soldiers) do not walk-the-talk in line with espoused Army beliefs and values, it creates confusion across the ranks and leads to dysfunctional and demoralizing behavior. Teaching the Army profession starts with you and trickles down to the lowest levels. But it absolutely must start with leaders. Be the leader who teaches, coaches, and instills the values that lead to the profession!