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Dempsey Calls for Rededication to Profession of Arms

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23, 2012 – In a complicated world, service members must rededicate themselves to the profession of arms, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a white paper released today.

Service members must continue “to learn, to understand and to promote the knowledge, skills, attributes and behaviors that define us as a profession,” said Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey.

It was precisely this dedication that has allowed the military to survive 10 years of war across the world, the chairman said. Beginning when terrorists attacked America on 9/11, the military has constantly deployed to combat, he added, though many critics said the military could not sustain the levels of deployments, the constant combat and the austere conditions.

The U.S. military extended “well beyond any limits imagined as the era of persistent conflict unfolded, its resilience arguably exceeded the expectations of its architects,” the general said.

The chairman called trust “the sacred element” that allowed service members to persevere, and even prosper, under such conditions.

The U.S. military has left Iraq, and the American combat effort in Afghanistan will draw down by the end of 2014. With this transition, the military must shape the joint force needed to fight wars in 2020, Dempsey said.

“Renewing our commitment to the profession of arms is essential to ensure we maintain the best led and best trained force in the world,” the general said. “Leadership is the foundation of our profession.”

The war in Afghanistan is still very much going on, Dempsey said, noting that just in the past few days, soldiers and Marines have been killed there. Yet the military must begin to shape the military the country will need for the threats of the future, he added.

“We undertake this as we remain both a force in contact and a force that must begin to reshape,” Dempsey wrote in a blog post announcing the white paper. “We do so from a position of strength anchored in our shared values and joint effectiveness born from years of fighting together, and the strength of our service competencies and cultures.”

Dempsey stressed military members must uphold the values that underpin the profession of arms. Duty, honor, courage, integrity and selfless service, as well as a commitment to the rule of law, provide “the moral and ethical fabric of our profession,” he wrote.

The chairman provides his views on internal and external trust in the white paper. Internal trust, he wrote, is “inherent in and demanded amongst peers, between seniors and subordinates. Followers trust that their leaders will take care of their charges even at their own expense.”

Troops must trust one another in battle, trust that leaders will get them what they need, trust that their families will be taken care of and trust that a fallen comrade will never be left behind, the chairman said.

External trust, he said, is that between the military and national leaders and the American people.

“This trust is based upon the fact that the members of our profession remain apolitical and would never betray the principles and intent of the Constitution, even at the risk of their own lives,” Dempsey said. “Our men and women who serve return to society better for their service.”

Contact Author

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey

Related Sites:
White Paper: America’s Military – A Profession of Arms
Chairman’s Corner Blog
The Chairman on Facebook
The Chairman on Twitter


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