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Profession of Arms

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The purpose of this paper is to express a set of views on the ethical obligations of members of the American profession of arms in order to stimulate thoughtful discussion and broader debate about the proper limits of acceptable and effective professional conduct. These views are focused for most part on the obligations of commissioned officers, but they apply in many ways to the public and private conduct of senior non-commissioned officers, and indeed, all military members. They depend to a large degree on a particular understanding of the governing compact of this country and the behavior American citizens expect of their uniformed servants. 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. Much of the initial discussion involving this campaign focuses on whether or not military service is a profession. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines a profession as "a calling requiring specialized knowledge and often long and intensive academic preparation; a principal calling, vocation, or employment; or the whole body of persons engaged in a calling. Based on the subtle differences between the definitions of a profession and an occupation, I believe that the dispute regarding the appropriateness of defining the military as a profession revolves around varying levels of academic preparation based on military occupational specialty and rank. I believe that the scope of responsibility involved in executing our duties and serving our client under the Constitution, namely the people of the United States of America, requires extensive preparation and training,...

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