Army values are known to originate from America based on the beliefs of American culture, which promote sacrifice for others, love of freedom, respect for the law of the land, and respect for other people. These values play a vital role in describing the substance and depth of American character. When people choose and decide to uphold army values, it implies that they are ready and willing to endorse the importance of their main mission, which is always to protect their nation as well as its way of life. These values have played a key role in promoting a tradition of idealism in America, and this has enabled many people to succeed as Army officers.
There are seven main army values applied in the United States’ armies, which are commonly broken down into an acronym “LDRSHIP” (Crandal, 2006). These values are comprised of loyalty, duty, selfless service, respect, integrity, honor, and personal courage. All soldiers learn to live by army values and adhere to them from their first day of training. All of these values have numerous impacts on a person’s moral standing that defines the character of a soldier. Some soldiers, who fail to follow those values, do not succeed in the army, and they may even end up being fired. In a country like the United States of America, one must adhere to army values in order to have a progressive career in the US army.
These values are essentially American values, which aimed at controlling people’s behaviors. However, soldiers are expected to respect those values more professionally and comprehensively than most other people in civilian life. This is because soldiers are charged with the responsibility of protecting the country, as well as the values on which it was founded. Therefore, army values can be regarded as the foundation for all actions in accordance with the Warrior Ethos. As a result, Army leader must ensure that all soldiers comprehend these values and apply them in their daily duties.
Loyalty entails the complete, true faith and allegiance to the constitution of a nation, the nation’s Army, and the Organization too. For instance, the Constitution of the United States of America clearly stipulates the proper conduct of the army and military forces. The army is adequately catered according to the constitution (Lloyd, 2007). Funding is provided under proper sequence and time span. It is imperative that all soldiers adhere to the prescribed set of rules and regulations. The president is the only constitutionally appointed individual and the solemn Commander in chief of the armed forces. This directly qualifies him as the top rank in the military force. Complete autonomy lies with the head of state and not other parties, meaning that the directive for action in case of war is presided over by him. It is misleading to assume that directives come from rank officials, they only implement his orders.
Although, other bodies like the Congress are in the power circle. They still fall under the head of state. Limited power is given to the bodies, for instance, the Congress can only stall military work by terminating their funding. This will cripple the power of the president who will have to retreat the military action eventually.
The soldiers are given the order by their rank heads, who participate in their action, and they are to follow orders without deviations. This loyalty that the Constitution demands is significant for the expected conduct of soldiers. Generally, all army parties, including the Commander, act according to the rule of the Constitution considering any decision and deviation that are against the law.
The Army is an essential wing of loyalty, all military personnel takes the oath before deployment of warfare. This oath of allegiance is a seal of total dedication to the States’ protection and service, which is held with absolute respect. More so, this oath is done in two phases that sealed the officer’s dedication to the force and the nation. It entails the different protocol to be observed during their activities to respect the president and all senior officers in command of higher ranking in the body without prejudice. A defined process of induction is done to the soldiers. They raise their right hand and follow through guided spoken words of the oath of allegiance.
Higher headquarters’ priorities are keys to the value of loyalty; decisions made by the military should portray critical assessment of more relevant goals. In the field or office, decisions are made with keen consideration of the consequences at hand. It is vital for the military personnel to understand that the body is a national asset that should revolve around the need of the state. Officers are to address national matters and not to use the army for their own personal interests.
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This is defined as the fulfillment of the officer’s obligation. This is not only performing the designated tasks but also ensuring complete success of the given task. These tasks are assigned not to an individual but a team. They are to be done as such. Duty entails a combination of tasks, missions, and responsibilities that address various areas of concern. The army fulfills their obligations when they complete the unit without shortcuts that might in turn compromise the result. The army is carrying out the assigned task without any other agenda in consideration.
The army and its requirements are not easy to work with but at the end of the day it comes down to service without bias. Duty call is quite challenging to many individuals. However, the nation and mission’s objective come first. Duty is not a bias. It is given on merit and performance account; the idea is to consider the mission before any other thing for the best outcome. It is noteworthy that the military remembers that they took the oath of duty and raised their right hand to confirm this.
The main aspects of duty are intelligence, prospecting, army interview, training, future soldier training, command and control, processing and sustainment. These are the complex structure of a soldier’s duty in the military force.
Intelligence is crucial information collected and assessed for the setting up operations that are to be conducted. The recruiter uses the information to understand the history and demography of the current market in view.
In prospecting, people who are interested in the army history are identified. This translates in the mission’s success, where suitable prospecting will transform into better performance. During the identification, keen assessment is crucial to obtain individuals with actual interest and not pretenders.
Recruiting is done through army interview. Here, the candidates are interviewed to determine their goals and deep passion, and a plan to cater for their career is developed before asking them to join the force. This is the pillar towards the person’s success in the military future. Their tomorrow plan of life is assembled for them.
Consequently, the applicant’s qualifications are matched with their needs with regards to the army during processing. Soldiers that merit this stage are professional and qualified candidates, who will help serve the military unit. Following the selection process, training proceeds to equip the new soldiers with the skill in their field of assignment. Training involves both physical and mental endurance. It makes the soldier conversant with the environment of action hence develops confidence.
Commanders are expected to make critical decisions, thus the command and control stage models them for that. Assigning of tasks and managing the unit are skills that are obtained in this step of development of a soldier.
This is acknowledging that the mission always comes first in spite of everything. It is submitting to the army authority fully. Although it is difficult, it is sacrificing for the cause of action and putting your army brothers at heart. In service to the nation, diligent work is done without recognition or praise from anyone.
The idea in selfless service is pushing to limit the efforts of the team and the individual, such that the only concern is bettering the previous. Payment for service is to make the mission happen successfully.
This is paying proper courtesy to people despite the feelings towards them. In the army, the ranks and part of the army recognition of these ranks is essential. Both the higher and lower ranks should be respected. It is prohibited to develop a disliking towards army servicemen, because hate or disgust will jeopardize the mission. A code that says to treat others with dignity, respect and expecting the same is a powerful status in the army. The top echelon promotes respect to the least senior official; therefore, it is necessary to accept the situation and not resist it.
Honor is described as the act of living to the values of the army and adhering to them. By maintaining integrity, respect, honesty, nobleness, and consideration, it implies that a soldier and the entire military organization will play a vital role in reflecting a significant honor for nation, fellow soldiers, state as well as local community. In the army, a soldier must maintain honesty at all time. This implies that all soldiers must be sincere and truthful in their actions. In addition, the value honor requires all soldiers to analyze the issues seriously and take action to correct the situation or report issues they perceive as not right or issues that compromise the army values. For instance, if a soldier feels that something is not appropriate and goes against the army values, he/she is required reporting to the relevant authority for further action to be executed. However, the adherence of army values by soldiers can be affected by issues such as peer pressure, self-interest, pressure from superiors and pressure from fellow subordinates. In addition, a soldier must maintain respect not only to the superiors or fellow workers but also to the civilians (Crandal, 2006).
Integrity is also one of the most fundamental values in the military. This value necessitates that all soldiers must commit themselves to adhere to the ethical principles and code of morals. All soldiers must maintain moral standards as well as honesty in their actions and words. This implies that soldiers must maintain proper behaviors and build a good reputation in the workplace and among the public. Any soldier, who does not maintain proper personal, moral behavior or he/she is not honest, can be punished. Although speaking and living with integrity might be difficult, all soldiers are required to live following it whatever they do, and excuses are unacceptable. Soldiers build trust by maintaining the integrity and being honest in all actions. Integrity is extremely crucial in the army, and serious consequences can arise if a soldier fails to maintain integrity value.
Moreover, integrity is perceived as the basis of confidence and trust that must prevail among all members of the army. It is regarded as the source of individual strength and foundation for effective organization. Failure to maintain high levels of integrity can make people start questioning one’s accomplishment of assigned tasks and credibility. Therefore, all leaders must realize that all soldiers are equally watching to identify if leaders live by their word and maintain honesty. In case a mistake arises, an army leader is also expected to acknowledge the mistake and rectify it (Harasymiw, 2011).
Integrity is also perceived as the most significant value in the army because it promotes freedom from corruption. Integrity values prohibit all forms of corruptions that might arise in the army and dictate the dire consequences that those involved in corruption might face. As a result of this value, cases of corruption are not tolerated in the army, and the culprits might even face dismissal, if there is enough evidence linking them to the corruption or fraudulent deals.
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Another vital value in the army is personal courage. This refers to the act of a soldier to overcome fear of bodily harm that might arise when he/she is on performing his/her duty. Physical courage is commonly described as a value that enables people to face danger, adversities, and fear in any situation. On the other hand, moral courage refers to the act of overcoming fears of other things, other than bodily harm. Moral courage can also be described as acting by respecting others, readiness to take responsibility of his/her decisions and actions. Special courage is required to support and make unpopular decisions. In case some people try to influence a soldier to support some less convenient and unethical solutions. A soldier, who maintains the value of personal courage, is required to stay adamant in changing his/her mind and seek the support of other soldiers. This implies that a soldier must not compromise his/her moral principles, ethics and individual values due to influence of other. This portrays the character of a soldier who maintains the value of personal courage. This value requires soldiers to maintain their position if they realize that they are right after precise consideration.
In the army, violation of army values can be disastrous since soldiers are charged with the vital responsibility of protecting a country and its people. In addition, soldiers are not only required to know the army values, but also to instill and share them. The work performed by members of the army and the environment in which they operate necessitate that all soldiers must adhere to the army values in order to remain in the military. Failure to adhere to those values leads to disciplinary action or dismissal from the military.
Five Steps Adopted to Achieve Internalization of Army Values
Self-identification and Selection
Currently, even though the strong culture in the army considerably manipulates the process of internalizing of army values, the process normally starts before any soldier takes the oath of office or oath of enlistment. Self- identification and selection process can be achieved by just following up the military recruitment commercial so as to identify the description of army values at work. These commercials play a vital role in enabling individuals to assess if they can manage to live by army values. In addition, information about army values is always posted on the army websites, and this creates an ample opportunity to learn the army values even before they join the military.
In contrast, old military recruitment commercials conveyed a message that enticed people join the army for a couple of years, and they could be given money to join college. This method of recruitment attracted many people to join the army, but eventually, it affected the army retention plans. In the old military, college money was used as a tool to entice new soldiers. The current army still offers college money in the form of enlistment benefit, but college money is currently not used as a tool for recruitment campaign.
In American society, values have changed. It has turned out that most young people are mostly concerned about their personal interests, and this has been evident in the recent army recruitments struggles. Interestingly, those people who value duty, loyalty, courage and service might have perceived war in Iraq as an ample opportunity to demonstrate those values.
The bottom line of this phenomenon is that the military and its recruitment campaigns are currently targeting individuals who are already predisposed to accept the organizational values supported by the army.
Early Socialization Process
Internalization of army values is also facilitated by early socialization process. For instance, many Americans understand the basic training concept in the military. The army in collaboration with other services mobilizes new recruits to basic army training across the country and trains them to be marines, soldiers, sailors, and airmen. Through such training, people learning particular skills and techniques like physical training, marching, and rifle marksmanship. Moreover, studying of values takes place during early socialization process. Considering new officers and new enlisted soldiers, this process plays a fundamental role in ensuring that army values and personal values are aligned. However, if personal values and army values are not aligned, internalization of military values can be achieved through the process of early socialization (Schaefer, 2000).
Despite the role played by early socialization, entry training is paramount for both cadets and soldiers. The training process is similar for both officers and enlisted soldiers. It only differs on duration. Normally, the training process for enlisted soldiers takes about 4 to 6 months depending on the soldier’s field of specialization and his/her place in a unit. However, the training process for aspiring soldiers takes a longer period. For officers and soldiers, the army applies a collective and formal approach that enables soldiers to understand and live according to the army values. Eventually, this process might oblige some people to strip away their individual values and replace with new values.
The most effective and efficient method to ensure that army values are internalized is to involve the application of formal and collective technique if possible. All cadets and recruits are usually separated from other members of military until the time when they complete the early socialization process fully. The recruits get to learn army values in classes. In addition, army values are applied as a benchmark in tracking the success of cadet towards their graduation. The ability of offering training to many recruits and cadets ensures common experiences to them. This plays a vital role in promoting group cohesion, which is a vital aspect in the army.
Senior Leaders as Role Models
In the military, there are many role models at every level of the army career. Soldiers are always surrounded by senior army leaders, who have considerable influence on the professional and personal lives of soldiers. Platoon, squad leaders, commanders and sergeants portray appropriate behaviors and norms in performing their daily tasks. They are also charged with the responsibility of modeling the wrong behavior. In addition, strong leaders can still use poor role models in assisting others to internalize army values by telling stories regarding how inappropriate values choices or behavior resulted to a negative effect on the organization. Young soldiers usually look up to their squad leaders for both skill training and professional advice. However, young soldiers normally watch the conduct of their squad leader even when he/she is off duty.
Role models are not only found among the supervisors in the military, but they can also be found among young officers and also their subordinates. Peer pressure has a strong influence on the personal values. However, in the military, subordinates influence the process of internalization of values. For instance, a young officer, noncommissioned officer or platoon sergeants play a role of lieutenant’s foreman. Although sergeant works for the officer, he/she has a considerable influence than the lieutenant. A platoon sergeant is required to have 14 to 17 years of experience, while the lieutenant is required to have only one year work experience. Therefore, it is common for noncommissioned officer (NCO) to act as a role model for the younger officer. Noncommissioned officer teaches officers how to conduct their activities in the execution of their daily task.
Currently, the army recognizes the vital results played by role models. Effective mechanisms are put in place to facilitate further mentoring relationships. This is because role models in the military play a critical role in the internalization of military values, which brings many benefits for the army since they strengthen appropriate values.
Sharing Stories and Examples
Sharing of examples and stories plays a key role in the internalization of army values. Sharing of stories and examples concerning leaders who made improper decisions that jeopardized the mission of the army unit in performing its mission are extremely common in the military. For instances, a case of marital infidelity involving a soldier and another person’s spouse may result to serious issues between two individuals. The implication of such action can even go beyond directly involved people, since everybody in the unit will possibly hear about that incidence. The reputation of the involved soldier is damaged among other members of the unit. Therefore, members of the military are able to comprehend the significance of army values analyzing the stories regarding destructive results of violation of military values.
Feedback and Performance
In the army, officers and soldiers get feedback through frequent one-on-one counseling meetings with their respective supervisors. In the case of enlisted soldiers, it is the first noncommissioned officer in the army chain of command. In the case of officers, it is usually the first commander in the military chain of command. Normally, the first counseling starts when a person joins the unit, where the supervisor describes the soldier’s expectations including the priorities and army values. Soldiers are given information on goals and objectives of the unit and what behaviors are proper and unacceptable in the army. In this step, many military leaders find it as an ample opportunity to reinforce the army values by reviewing the potential, individual performance, as well as the specific actions of an individual through the evaluation time and army values violated by an individual (Dertouzos, & Garber, 2008).
The Violation of Army Values
Mistakes and errors in work occur in people’s daily routine, though sometimes this results with consequences. Soldiers make mistakes in their actions both in the field and office; this is a common aspect of their work although it is risky especially in the field. Mistakes are considered to be either intentional or accidental, though the latter is pardoned. This is mostly considered to be the result of inexperience in the field. Stringent actions are set up to counter these actions, violation of the army values. The seniors carry out counseling sessions with the aim to help curb this inexperienced soldier’s mistakes.
Violation of army values is considered as an unacceptable mistake. A soldier must be aware and comprehend the values of the organization. This is not like being introduced to a new idea in combat that can actually be pardoned. It is clear that the seven values of the army are rightly stipulated before a soldier is inducted into the system. Loyalty, for instance, is considered as the most essential values of all and precedes the others, while submitting to the authority that is in place. With the upset of loyalty, the army becomes divided and uncontrollable; this can be extremely devastating to the nation or even jeopardize military missions (Schaefer, 2000).
When a soldier is held in account of violation of army values, he undergoes the remediation program. It is a mistake if a cadet lies, steals, or even copes with those that do so. In the remediation program, the cadet, who is to be corrected, is advised and counseled by a senior commissioner. They discuss the nature of mistake and the reason of committing it. When the chain of command is convinced that the young soldier has accepted their action as a mistake the program is then called off. The breaking of values by amateur soldiers is an organizational fault, but more senior officers face the violation of the commission.
The violation of the commission is different from that of novices; this is because the senior officers are expected to have known the values by heart. As an initial step, the officer is removed from any leadership position he holds. This is followed by separation of the soldier from the organization. These disciplinary actions are measures to reinforce the performance index of the organization and the individual too.
All soldiers are assigned their respective duty in the army. They are to defend the duty with due diligence and commitment; these are the building factors in the success of the mission. It is imperative to note that not all soldiers will stick to their duty call. The cases of veered goals and clumsy actions have hit the military statistics for some time now. The allocated counter to this is quite heavy, considering that the soldier has to do extra duties on top of the usual ones. Increasing work load means that pressure is bound to increase; this is probationary to the officers. The oath is a seal to confirm that the candidate is ready to perform his duties for the cause of the army, failure to this is considered as laxity.
Tackling the duty assigned to the soldiers (especially in the battlefield) is extremely intimidating. This requires unique and true courage to perform tasks to the expected level, looking at a shootout between two warring entities proves fatal risks to the people involved. Stray bullets are the order of the day, so personal courage is a fundamental trait in the army personnel. The army benefits by having strong and unbeatable outcomes that guarantee security in the nation.
In spite of the army having the assessment measures in place, there is a breach in the army values at large. Honesty is the practice of giving, saying and doing right; this value is significant in the building of an ideal all round soldier. The army has many resources that may attract greed and embezzlement. It is illegal to acquire these wares for personal profitability. The army suffers and has to redirect already allocated funds to curb this shortcoming. There are many other areas to be addressed by the military funds and this gesture would only drag the process.
When soldiers fail to realize the importance of the mission and its requirements, then they have failed to meet selfless service. When the only objective is to defend them, then there will certainly be compromise and poor results in the rating of work. It is crucial to note that the success of the army vastly relies on the success of the missions.
Subsequently, due to violations of the army values, there had to be the establishment of a punishment body, for example, the Court Martial. Passing judgments and administering justice are the duties of this system of court. It is evident that with the dawn of this body, there has been a vast deal of reduced martial cases. It has proved that there are repercussions for every misdoing.
A cordial environment in the army is a key aspect. The soldiers and relevant officers need to work in coordination with each other. It is necessary to take into account the other person’s sentiments and views. The world has been populated with people from different society and culture emphasizing the need to uphold created virtue. Violating respect can be seen in many aspects: disobeying a direct order during combat, undermining the duty of other officers. Basically, this issue results in the disintegration of the compacted and united military system thus failure to the government as well as a nation at large.
The ideal soldier should hold all the army values and prospects at heart. This also trickles down to the code of honor, which is the stepping stone of the unit’s conduct. It is vivid that the continual negligence and impunity in the system of the army is stunting their eventual output. There is a necessary need for a total reestablishment in the military system and additional strategy making efforts to realize the admired results.