Profession of Arms Essay

826 Words Jun 13th, 2012 4 Pages
PROFESSION OF ARMS

The purpose of this paper is to express a set of views on the ethical obligations of members of the American profession of arms in order to stimulate thoughtful discussion and broader debate about the proper limits of acceptable and effective professional conduct. These views are focused for most part on the obligations of commissioned officers, but they apply in many ways to the public and private conduct of senior non-commissioned officers, and indeed, all military members. They depend to a large degree on a particular understanding of the governing compact of this country and the behavior American citizens expect of their uniformed servants. The overall objective of the Army Profession of Arms
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Common agreement on what is and is not a profession is rare. The debate about what constitutes a professional and professionalism has a long history and has generated a large body of material. During medieval times, there were only three professions, which were called "the learned professions. As professionals, doctors, lawyers, and priests were licensed to carry out socially useful tasks on behalf of the state or the church. Doctors were allowed to intervene in individuals' bodies; lawyers were allowed to regulate the conflicts of rights and obligations among individuals and groups; and priests were allowed to intercede for parishioners to foster their prospects for righteous living and future salvation. The powers to intervene, regulate, and intercede made these jobs "professional" rather than "occupational." Despite debate over whether or not military service should be constituted as a profession, a majority of the American public still views military service as such. According to the late political scientist Samuel Huntington, military professional status implies a unique and socially useful expertise, a moral responsibility to provide and use that expertise on behalf of a society that cannot defend itself, and an organic unity and consciousness of itself as a group apart from laymen. Moreover, historian Allan Millett emphasizes "a life-long calling by the practitioners" and notes that "professions are organized to control performance

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