What does it mean to be a Profession?
Professions produce uniquely expert work, not routine or repetitive work. Medicine, theology, law, and the military are ―social trustee forms of professions. 1 Effectiveness, rather than pure efficiency, is the key to the work of professionals—the sick want a cure, the sinner wants absolution, the accused want exoneration, and the defenseless seek security. Professionals require years of study and practice before they are capable of expert work. Society is utterly dependent on professionals for their health, justice, and security. Thus, a deep moral obligation rests on the profession, and its professionals, to continuously develop expertise and use that expertise only in the best interests of society—professionals are actually servants. The military profession, in particular, must provide the security which society cannot provide for itself, without which the society cannot survive, and to use its expertise according to the values held by the Nation. 2 Professions earn the trust of their clients through their Ethic – which is their means of motivation and self-control. The servant ethic of professions is characterized as cedat emptor, ―let the taker believe in us.‖ 3 The U.S. Army‘s professional Ethic is built on trust with the American people, as well as with civilian leaders and junior professionals within the ranks. 4 That trust must be re-earned every day through living our Ethic, which incidentally, can‘t be found now in any single document – a doctrinal omission this campaign will help change. Because of this trust, the American people grant significant autonomy to us to create our own expert knowledge and to police the application of that knowledge by individual professionals. Non-professional occupations do not enjoy similar autonomy. A self-policing Ethic is an absolute necessity, especially for the Profession of Arms, given the lethality inherent in what we do. Lastly, other organizations motivate their workers...
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