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A vision without action is merely a dream. The Army Profession is a great vision but if we do not fix the basics in our upbringing of leadership then it will only be a dream. Imagine a panoramic view of an early morning sunrise over a military base. The sun is starting to burn off the morning dew. Formations of soldiers are starting to pop into the picture. Each soldier is in uniform dress sharp and moving as a single unit.
Some formations are double timing moving out. Everyone has a purpose and stepping off to get to his or her next obstacle of the day. All Non-commissioned officers are enforcing nothing less than exceeded standards. Soldiers are toe to line in formations for inspection. Senior Non-commissioned Officers are walking the line looking for deficiencies. Now wake up! Snap out of this dream. This is not Hollywood. I feel we are not breaking our leaders down during entry leadership roles. More times, than not young leaders show to the unit and are strongly versed in what they think is “Army Law”.
Junior leaders have become barracks lawyers that always feel they need to have a debate there marching orders. What does the future leader really need for a strong Army Profession foundation? What is Army Profession to our leasers? What defines Army Profession? Our leaders now and future need a strong sense of respect, discipline, and standards to answer all three of those questions. Leasers brand new to the unit do not have respect for the heritage, which the Army has.
There is no respect or honor for those who have paved the way for them. Discipline is perceived as a negative word. A supervisor has to know and understand all legal ramifications before, during, and after trying to instill discipline into future Soldiers. In today’s Army, the word standard is widely used loosely within our ranks. Soldiers see it as being harsh and unkind. For us to be a Professional Army the NCO’s of today have to get back to the basics. Get back to the hard truths in our job description, Soldiering.
Respect is lost and it is hard to get back. Being in a line company for my entire career, most young leaders that show up to my unit come across being very disrespectful. Not so much in the talking back, but there body language. From there slouchy posture in formation, to their unclean uniforms, unclean boots, and in need of haircuts. Not only is that disrespectful to the unit but to their selves. How can Soldiers represent the Army if they do not have the self-respect to look their very best every day? Customs and courtesy’s is another sign of respect. It is an art form that our young leaders have not had instilled into them. They are too busy trying to be cool and friends with everyone that is subordinate but in reality, they are lazy. If leaders would just take a little, more time and give a little respect to their selves and to others. When a Soldier has snapped to attention or parade rest and giving their undivided attention to someone, what do you think of that Soldier? The Soldiers is sharp and squared away. For us to build future non-commissioned officers respect needs to be explained why it is important in our profession. That a leader having respect for their self leads to having respect for others and naturally, they will exceed that standard. The Army has paved the way for future leaders to march on. The first step to fixing potholes in our profession plan is to fill the whole with respect. Once we instill respect into our Soldiers next step is Discipline.
The definition of discipline is the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience. (Merriam-Webster). If there is one thing the Army does and does well it is training. The Army is full of rules and regulations that all Soldiers and leaders should follow. Every leader’s behavior affects the hierarchical system within the organization. So why have we gotten away from on the spot corrections and punishing bad behavior? We should give our leaders back the power to discipline Soldiers on the spot. Leaders should be able to handle discipline issues at the lowest level and not have to worry about their Soldiers bringing up I.G. complaints. Moral discipline is a giant issue among our ranks. “Moral discipline is the consistent exercise to choose the right thing because it is right, even when it is hard.”(D. Todd Christofferson) There are leaders running amuck within our ranks living unmoral lives that do not reflect in professional manner. Discipline is an attitude. It is a behavior. Discipline is the how to be an Army professional. “Discipline is based on pride in the Profession of Arms, on meticulous attention to details, and on mutual respect and confidence. Discipline must be a habit so engrained that it is stronger than the excitement of battle or the fear of death.” (General George S. Patton, Jr.) Having pride in what we do shows that we are disciplined enough to love being in the profession of Soldiering and most importantly being a leader.
What does the Army use to measure performance and to ensure leaders excel? Standards would be a correct answer. The future of our leaders lay in the word Standards. We must have highly motivated leaders that are committed to being great in everything they do.
There is a sense of instant entitlement just for showing up to work.
The unit is the army’s road paved. New soldiers, the future leaders of our beloved Army are the potholes in said road. To make the army professional we have to fill these potholes as a road crew would. Fill it with asphalt. Form the road to match. Sign off the work when it has met all standards. For a leader we need to fill with discipline. Form that with respect. Sign off when they have met the standard. The army has set the standard. We have history full of worriers, great NCOs that overcame adversity while engaged with the enemy. They could not have done any of this if not been forged out of discipline, respect, and standards from the start of training we teach soldiers about legalities and what they can get away with. We are not making warriors for the future we are making pacifist.
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