The Army Ethic

Army Ethic White Paper

Soldiers Training

“Professionals are guided by their ethic; the set of principles by which they practice, in the right way, on behalf of those they serve – demonstrating their Character. This is their identity. Likewise, as Army Professionals we perform our Duty according to our Ethic. Doing so reinforces Trust within the profession and with the American people.

“This White Paper identifies an omission in our doctrine – the absence of an articulated, accessible, and understandable expression of the Army Ethic. The Army Ethic does exist and emanates from our foundational heritage, beliefs, traditions, and culture. The intent, therefore, is not to invent the Army Ethic, but rather to glean its fundamental nature. Doing so is of urgent importance and is worthy of our collective wisdom and judgment. As the Army Profession prepares for the environment that lies ahead,we must anticipate the unique ethical challenges the future will present, and remain committed to developing Army Professionals of Character, Competence, and Commitment. Clearly articulating our ethic will help us do just that.”(1)

Clicking the following link will open this document as a pdf file which can be read or downloaded. Using your browser’s “back” button will return you to this page.

Army Ethic White Paper (11 Jul 14)




(1) From

Photo Credit: Mrs. Melissa Buckley (Leonard Wood) “Soldiers from Company A, 35th Engineer Battalion, 1st Engineer Brigade, spent a portion of their Advanced Individual Training learning to build and use different kinds of breaching charges Feb. 5.” from



A Soldier’s Morality, Religion, and our Professional Ethic: Does the Army’s Culture Facilitate Integration, Character Development, and Trust in the Profession?

Soldiers-in-training worshippng at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri

“[The following] monograph [by Don M. Snider and Alexander P. Shine]  is the 6th in the Professional Military Ethics Series; it addresses an issue about which little has been written. It intentionally plows new and difficult ground.

“The larger issue it addresses is the cultures of the military professions which currently serve our Republic and the role of the Stewards of the Profession in the evolution of those cultures, in particular their moral and ethical core. Since our Armed Forces exist as military professions only by the trust they earn from the society they serve and the trust they engender among professionals who voluntarily serve within them, this issue is of no small import. If the Stewards are unable to lead the professions such that both the external and internal trust relationships are maintained, then the military institution reverts to its alternative organizational character of a big, lumbering government bureaucracy. Since there is no historical record that such government bureaucracies are able to create the expert knowledge or expert practice of a modern, military profession—such as we have enjoyed in the post-Vietnam era—such a situation does not bode well for the future security of the Republic.

“Thus, the larger issue has to do with the evolution of the ethics of America’s military professions. Those ethics, hoever, do not exist nor evolved in isolation of other influences external to the professions. Scholars have established for some time that there are three major influences on the ethics of the military professions: 1) the chainging nature of warfare and the associate imperative to prosecute it effectively; 2) the evolving values of the society being defended (both their beliefs as to what is moral or ethical in warfare, and more broadly what they value as a society); and, 3) the international treaties and conventions to which the United States is a party. It is the second of these influences that is of interest in this monograph–the evolving values of the American society being defended.

“Among the evolving values of American society, this research seeks to address the perennial issue of religion, its role in the moral character of individual volunteers, and how, amid a secularizing society, the Stewards of the Professions can maintain an ethical culture that facilitates, indeed fosters, both correct religious expression and military effectiveness. Since the military represents a microcosm of American society, the cultural wars raging outside the professions for several decades on such issues as racial integration, abortion, the service of gays in the military, gender roles, etc., have each migrated in their own time into the military sub-society. This research explores the extent to which that is now the case with religious expression and how the military professions can, once again, lead in overcoming such cultural dysfunction, in this case by facilitating soldiers’ individual integration of diverse personal moralities, faith–based or not, with their profession’s ethic.”(1)

Clicking the following link will open this document as a pdf file which can be read or downloaded. Using your browser’s “back” button will return you to this page.


A Soldier’s Morality, Religion, and Our Professional Ethic: does the Army’s culture Facilitae Integration, Character Development, and Trust in the Profession?




(1) From the Forward


Photo credit: Chaplain (MAJ) Daryl Densford. Chaplain (CPT) Donald (Craig) Bickel conducting worship service for trainees of the 1st Engineer Brigade at the Main Post Chapel at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, 4 September 2011.



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