By Brig. Gen. James Bonner, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general
Foundations of the Army Ethic
All professions are governed by an ethic: a set of legal and moral codes that lay out the character, competence and commitment expected of its members. The Army Ethic is our unique version that provides a link between centuries-old traditions and modern laws.
For the legal foundation of our ethic, we have the Constitution of the United States, Uniformed Code of Military Justice, U.S. Code, orders and regulations. These establish clear guidelines to dictate the minimum threshold for ethical conduct. These are straightforward with limited variation in interpretation.
Our moral foundation is drawn from our Army Values and traditions from the Law of War. When laws and regulations do not provide clear courses of action, these moral frameworks offer a basis from which we can evaluate, apply judgment and make decisions.
Trusted Army Professionals
Army professionals follow this ethic and serve as trusted Army professionals, fulfilling three distinct roles: honorable servants to the nation, Army experts and stewards of our profession.
As honorable servants, Soldiers and Army civilians conduct themselves with integrity at all times. We demonstrate character at all times and are obliged to treat every person with dignity and respect. Honorable servants possess the courage to choose the hard right over the easy wrong and set an example for others to follow.
Army experts understand that we serve as one piece in the greater whole. We strive for excellence and we always help our fellow service members and civilians accomplish our missions. We look left and right and try to uplift our teammates, placing others above self. Finally, Army experts recognize the need for continual improvement and seek lifelong learning, professional development and certifications.
We embrace and uphold the Army Values and the Army’s professional standards, and we ensure that our subordinates do the same. Stewards take care of all resources—equipment, money and, most importantly, people—in our care.
I encourage each member of our team to remember why you serve, to talk to others about why they serve and share your stories within your formations and with the American people. Leaders, as you have conversations with your teams, and as you steward the profession, please remind them about the importance and uniqueness of our service, profession and ethic. To learn more about the Army Ethic, the Army Profession and leadership, please read ADP 6-22 Army Leadership and the Profession.