Critical Thinking

Merriam-Webster to complete the appropriate level of formal

     Merriam-Webster
dictionary defines a profession as a calling requiring specialized knowledge
and often long and intensive academic preparation.  Army Doctrine Reference Publication (ADRP) 1
identifies essential characteristics that defines the Army as a profession:
Trust, Honorable Service, Military Expertise, Stewardship, and Esprit de
Corps.  Although the explanation of the word “profession” can
mean different things to different groups of people, the basic fundamentals of
a profession are consistent with trust and expertise.  Using either explanation, the Army has maintained
its status as a profession by sustaining majority trust of the American people
and establishing training programs, ensuring high levels of expertise.    

     Trust is a key cornerstone in the Army profession.  In order to be trustworthy, the Army must ensure
trust amongst each individual Solider as well as the trust of the people in
which they protect.  Despite the public opinion of the wars in
Iraq and Afghanistan, polls by Gallup and Pew back in June
2016 showed public confidence in the military is holding above 75 percent.  According to the Pew, over three-quarters (79%)
of Americans are confident in the military to act in the best interests of the
public (Kennedy 2016).   After
the government spent trillions of dollars on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the American
people still view the Army Soldiers favorably.

     Educating Soldiers lays foundation for
building the levels of expertise that is required in order to establish and
maintain a profession.   The
Army develops leadership skills and traits in its Soldiers through a continuing
program of professional military education (PME) that starts the first day an
individual enters the Army.  It
recognizes that there is an art and science to leadership that is worth spending
resources to develop. Enlisted and officer personnel have to go through
different educational milestones before they can progress to the next level in
their careers (Unknown 2015). Select-Train-Educate-Promote, also known as STEP, is a
policy that represents the Army’s commitment in Soldiers’ professional military
education. On Jan. 1, 2016, the Army expanded this standard for promotion
eligibility to the NCO ranks by requiring all Soldiers to complete the
appropriate level of formal military education before they are considered fully
qualified (Ricks 2014).  These
educational standards were already in place amongst the officer ranks.

     The time frame in which the
Army was originally professionalized is debatable, but throughout its history
the Army has continued to train, develop, and mentor leaders. The leaders and Soldiers
of the Army continue to prove is trust and worth to the American people each
and everyday by protecting the citizen for enemies foreign and domestic.