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Army codifying service ethic in single document

The Army is putting into action what it means to be a profession and a professional, officials said Tuesday during the Association of the United States Army annual meeting.

For the first time, the service is putting in writing, in a single document, the Army ethic, a set of principles soldiers should live by, and integrating it into the service's doctrine.

The ethic will be added to Army Doctrine Reference Publication 1 (Army Profession); the goal is to have the document updated by the Army's next birthday in June.

Already available now are training materials and access to a mobile training team from the Army's Center for the Army Profession and Ethic (

"The Army ethic is not just pie in the sky for four-star generals," said Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond Chandler. "It's for everyone."

This effort follows up on the Army's profession campaign, said Sgt. Maj. David Stewart, the senior enlisted advisor for CAPE.

"Professionals have an ethic to determine how they behave," he said.

For soldiers, "it's everything we do each and every day," Stewart said. "We're building trust each and every day, coaching, counseling, [and] mentoring. The profession is who you are. It touches the most junior folks in our profession all the way to the Sergeant Major of the Army and the Chief of Staff."

The Army ethic – and how soldiers fight — was the focus of the Sergeant Major of the Army's professional development forum Tuesday at the AUSA annual meeting.

"It's not just why we serve but how we serve," Stewart said. "This can't be taught, it must be caught. We must have the passion to understand every aspect of our profession."

During the forum, titled "Living the Army ethic: How and why we fight," Stewart led a wide-ranging discussion with soldiers and noncommissioned officers on soldiers' conduct in life-and-death situations on the battlefield.

Also featured was a presentation by Shannon French, a professor of ethics at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio.

French, who has worked with the Naval Academy, wrote "Code of the Warrior: Exploring Values, Past and Present."

Among the scenarios presented to the audience was how to care for soldiers who have lost a fellow soldier on the battlefield while making sure they maintain their focus and moral compass.

"The rules, they are important, but then there's the virtue," Stewart said. "Do you trust your soldiers to do the right thing?"

Tuesday's forum, aimed at noncommissioned officers, mirrored a panel that took place Monday with Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno.

During that discussion, Odierno reinforced the importance of the Army ethic.

"The professional ethic is not a 9-to-5-ethic. It's a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week ethic," Odierno said. "It has to be a lifelong ethic."

Everything a soldier does reflects upon the profession, Odierno said.

It "reflects on who you are, reflects on those who rely on you to do very difficult missions," he said.

Kathleen Curthoys contributed to this report.

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