WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 22, 2014) – The Army profession demands that Soldiers adhere to the Army ethic at all times, the chief of staff of the Army said.
Trust is the foundation of the ethic, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said Oct. 13, here, during a Living the Army Ethic panel on “Why and How We Serve,” at the Association of the United States Army annual meeting.
While Soldiers come from different ethnic, religious, and financial backgrounds, “what bonds us together is this profession and professional ethic,” he said.
The ethic, he said, is an inherent part of the Army.
“It is not a 9-to-5 ethic. That is a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week ethic. You have to live it. It has to be a lifelong ethic,” Odierno said.
“I can think of no other profession where we are given the responsibility in order to defend our nation to take other people’s lives,” he said. “That’s an incredibly serious, serious mission.”
Lt. Gen. Robert B. Brown, commanding general, United States Army Combined Arms, moderated the panel. Speakers included Gen. David G. Perkins, commanding general, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command; Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III; and Karl F. Schneider, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Army.
Mission command is based on trust and having a professional Army that acts ethically at all times, according to Perkins.
The Army ethic is the “bedrock of who we are,” he said.
“Now that you have trust amongst everybody, and you all have a common vision on what the ethics are, you can empower people to do whatever you want them to do, and you don’t have to come back and check on them, you don’t have to worry about them, because now they can exploit the initiative,” he said.
He outlined two important priorities: understanding just how critical the ethic is, and quickly getting new members to exemplify the Army ethic.
Soldiers come together in all environments and develop strong bonds, Chandler noted, whether it is in training or in war.
“Being a Soldier is about being part of a team, a family. Sometimes we don’t necessarily like our family, but love is always something we always have in a family,” Chandler said.
In war, Soldiers “build a bond and develop a team that becomes effective on the battlefield,” he said.
Soldiers strive daily to live the Army ethic, Chandler said.
“The Army that I live in has values, and our Soldiers believe the Warrior Ethos, and as a non- commissioned officer, we’re dedicated to our NCO creed,” Chandler said. “That’s why we serve.”
The Army ethic is applied in both the military and civilian workforce, according to Schneider.
“The ethic is important because it allows all of us, both military and civilian, to think about the decisions we make every day through that lens about who we are as members of the profession,” he said.
The ethic must be an integral part of all Army actions, he said.
“If we don’t teach people what the ethic is, if we don’t model that ethic in our own behavior, and if we don’t enforce that ethic when we see that the ethic is being violated then it’s not going to work.”