Profession of Arms

The Profession of Arms

After being a nation that has been at war for the last decade, The US Army has decided that it must conduct an internal assessment and discussion to establish a core foundation for our Army as a profession. CG, TRADOC was directed by the Army Chief of Staff to lead this review. A white paper that addresses our Army as a profession has been distributed and does an exceptional job at setting the initial foundation of our profession.   The paper focused on three main questions:
1. What does it mean for the Army to be a Profession of Arms?
2. What does it mean to be a professional Soldier?
3. After nine years of war, how are we as individual professionals and as a profession meeting these aspirations?
While these three points are extensively discussed and dissected, it is apparent that the key factor that makes us professionals is the ethical standard that we must hold every individual soldier, from the lowest private to the highest general, to.   One of the major points that are missing is what happens when the ethical standard is breeched and how it is dealt with.
As a whole, the Army deals with ethical breeches at the subordinate level (I.E. E1 – E6 level) fairly well. Take Abu Ghraib, all the enlisted soldiers that were found guilty were either sentenced to prison, discharged or both.   The “Thrill-Kill” soldiers from Ft. Lewis are being prosecuted with one being sentenced to 24 years in prison.   These are extreme cases of ethical breeches, and doesn’t address the role the most senior leaders played in these situations and the punishments they received.
In the Abu Ghraib case, two colonels received letters of reprimand which effectively ended their military careers. Take that statement into consideration. A Colonel with 25 years retires with 62% of their pay in retirement. That is equivalent to about $6000 a month minus taxes. The retirement pay is also payable as soon as the individual leaves active duty service. This retirement...