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
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Professionals generally begin their professional lives by completing a higher education program in their chosen fields (law, medicine, engineering, and so on). Professional military education (PME) provides the Army's corollary to civilian education programs and complements the training of military officers who have a corresponding civilian profession. PME provides progressive levels of military education that prepare military officers for leadership. It includes various basic-level courses for new and junior officers, command and staff colleges for mid-level officers, and war colleges for senior officers. Similar levels of PME are in place for warrant officers, noncommissioned officers, and Department of the Army civilians. Although critics would argue that the Army does not have a system to certify its personnel as professionals, I contend that we have, and have had, systems in place to confirm proficiency. Infantrymen and medics are certified as professionals when they obtain the Expert Infantryman Badge and the Expert Field Medical Badge. A generation ago, the Army used a tool called the Skill Qualification Test (SQT) that every Soldier had to take and pass, along with required appropriate levels of PME for officers and noncommissioned officers. All Soldiers, regardless of rank, also had to both pass the Army Physical Fitness Test and qualify with their basic weapon in

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