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America’s Army – our profession
Airborne leaders, company grade and above, from the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, pull an ahkio sled packed with cold-weather survival gear while training during the U.S. Army’s Cold Weather Orientation Course at the Northern Warfare Training Center March 26 to 29 at the Black Rapids Training Site near Fort Greely, Alaska. Discipline and professionalism are attributes especially needed for operating in cold weather. (U.S. Army photo/Staff Sgt. Michael O’Brien)
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America’s Army – our profession

Posted 4/11/2013   Updated 4/11/2013 Email story   Print story


Commentary by Command Sgt. Maj. Bernie Knight
USARAK Command Sergeant Major

4/11/2013 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Every year, a Gallup poll asks Americans to rate how much confidence they have in a variety of U.S. institutions. The military has topped that list for several years running.
As Soldiers, we maintain that public trust by being professionals. But what does that really mean?

The Army is not a profession just because we say it is. The Army is a profession because we uphold standards and discipline. It is a profession because the Army is a values-based organization. The Warrior Ethos and Army Values aren't just slogans or posters to put up in the orderly room - they guide our actions and define us as professionals.

Standards and discipline, when properly established and practiced, are reflected in the decision to do what is right - on and off duty, in garrison, or on the battlefield. This is especially true in the face of temptations, obstacles, adversity, frustrations, fatigue, and fear - where it matters most.

After more than a decade of war and with a drawdown on the horizon, the Army is taking a hard look at what it means to be a professional and how to establish what right looks like.

Starting in 2010, the Center for the Army Profession and Ethic gathered feedback from more than 40,000 professionals across the Army about the state of the profession and the way ahead. They identified several areas of concern - most of them based on inconsistencies in the enforcement of standards and discipline throughout the Army.

This is why, during 2013, the Army will conduct an education and training program called "America's Army - Our Profession" aimed at re-establishing the Army's professional identity by focusing on these four themes throughout the year:

1st Quarter: Standards and Discipline
2nd Quarter: Customs, Courtesies, and Traditions
3rd Quarter: Military Expertise - Certified Army Professionals
4th Quarter: Trust

The Army has established a website with training support packages, videos and recommended reading to help leaders conduct effective training and discussion on these topics at:
Leaders, I urge you to visit this site and use the resources available there in your development training and discussions.

The foundation of our Army is solid, and U.S. Army Alaska Soldiers continue to amaze me with what they can accomplish. But repeated deployments, continuous preparations for further counterinsurgency operations, and increased reliance on contractors have caused portions of our force to lose skills in fundamental areas such as training management, property accountability, maintenance, and counseling back at home station.

It's time to repair these areas where standards of professional discipline have eroded. We cannot allow our Soldiers to have a perceived relaxation of standards after deployment.

We must maintain the trust and respect of the American people that we've worked so hard to earn and continue to be the greatest Army in the world.

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