Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 01/2010

The Army's Professional Military Ethic in an Era of Persistent Conflict

Don M. Snider, Major Paul Oh, Kevin Toner.

October 2009

The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College


As the character of conflict in the 21st century evolves, the Army's strength will continue to rest on our values, our ethos, and our people. Our Soldiers and leaders must remain true to these values as they operate in increasingly complex environments where moral-ethical failures can have strategic implications. Most of our Soldiers do the right thing--and do it well--time and again under intense pressure. But we must stay ever vigilant in upholding our high professional standards, mindful of the strains that accompany repeated combat deployments in the longest war our country has fought with an all-volunteer force. We must think critically about our Professional Military Ethic and promote dialogue at all levels as we deepen our understanding of what this time-honored source of strength means to the profession today.