MSG Garrison, John O., 19Z
United States Army Sergeants Major Academy
SGM Kelvin Hinkle
December 8, 2011
The inconsistent application of Army standards leads to unethical decisions on a daily basis. Despite an emphasis on Army values at all levels, military leaders open themselves up to make unethical decisions when they don’t adhere to set standards. Despite the Army having clear standards on height/weight, APFT, the tattoo policy, and reporting requirements, leaders often take it upon themselves to ignore the standard or create their own. Leaders have the responsibility to maintain and enforce standards which are driven by regulations. If military leaders would consistently enforce these standards, ethical dilemmas and unethical decisions would be significantly reduced.
Army Standards and Ethical Dilemmas
Standards are necessary within an organization to promote discipline, production, and efficiency. Recently, the Sergeant Major of the Army visited the Sergeants Major Academy and the focus of his presentation was really about Army Standards. The Sergeant Major’s message got me thinking about Army standards and the inconsistent application of these standards throughout the Army, specifically the ethical dilemmas that arise due to this inconsistency. If an organization’s standards are applied inconsistently, that organization’s culture changes and allows room for unethical application of those standards. In the Army we see this inconsistent application of standards in the areas of height and weight standards, the APFT, the tattoo policy, application of punishment through the UCMJ, and in unit reporting.
First, we must define what a standard is. Standards are methods that define what success is in a training event, such as an APFT or marksmanship qualification. Standards are the rules for conduct in the work place and while off duty. Standards are rules or