The 5 Essential Characteristics of the Army Profession
LOG C 3 15-003
March 10, 2015
The Army Doctrine Reference Publication (ADRP) states that there are five essential characteristics of the Army profession: military expertise, honorable service, trust, esprit de corps, and stewardship of the profession. To briefly define these characteristics, military expertise is our ethical application of land power, honorable service is our noble calling to service and sacrifice, esprit de corps is our winning spirit, and stewardship of the profession is our long term responsibility to our future Army. Trust is described to be the bedrock of our profession. The ADRP explains that trust is the bedrock of our profession because our clients, the American people places a special trust in our organization to put the nations wellbeing as our highest priority. Furthermore our ability to fulfill duties and responsibilities are solely dependent on the trust between Soldiers, Soldiers and leaders, Soldier and civilians to include families and the American public.1
Trust is the most important of the five characteristics of the Army profession, because Soldiers at all levels need to believe that their role in the military is for a reason. We require a purpose. Viktor Frankl was a neurologist and a psychiatrist during WWII and dedicated most of his life studying the powers of motivation. Furthermore, he wanted to know what drove people to continue their lives and what influenced them to better themselves as individuals in order to achieve their short and long term goals. While Viktor Frankl had the opportunity to flee WWII and share his knowledge in the United States (U.S.), he decided to stay behind with his father and the rest of his family, but unfortunately, later ended up in a Jewish concentration camp. Despite the harsh conditions, Victor Frankl continued his studies by observing prisoners in the concentration camps, and observed those who thrived, and those who experienced marasmus and withered away in the camps. With his observations, Frankl realized that those who withered away, lacked purpose and had nothing further to live for.2 Viktor Frankl believed that everyone who tried to survive lived for either to maintain relationships, spirituality, community, and or work. In fact, Viktor Frankl began instructing the prisoners to choose a purpose in life and find a purpose, whether it was family, religion, community, or work. He believed that as long as they had hope the prisoners in the camps would be able to survive. However, the Nazis began to realize what Viktor Frankl was accomplishing and in efforts to discourage his behavior, presented him with a falsified letter stating that his family had passed away in another concentration camp. While the Nazis’ hoped the news would discourage Viktor Frankl from helping the prisoners survive that harsh conditions of the camps, but instead he found a new purpose in life; to one day have the opportunity to pass on his knowledge to his future students.3
Like people, organizations such as our Army profession, require purpose in order to thrive. Soldiers need to wholeheartedly know that the duties and responsibilities they have is an important one. To further emphasize, Soldiers need to believe that the orders of the President of the United States and the Officers appointed over them, are morally and ethically sound and that it is one with a purpose. We need to trust that our service and sacrifice for the United States is for the better good of the nation. With that said, trust is an absolute necessity in order for leaders to instill that purpose in to our Soldiers and therefore, the most important of the five characteristics of the Army profession.
1 Department of the Army, The Army Profession, Army Doctrine Reference Publication, June 2013 # 1-5 2 Viktor Frankl, “Man’s Search for Meaning,”...
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