Merriam-Websterdictionary defines a profession as a calling requiring specialized knowledgeand often long and intensive academic preparation. Army Doctrine Reference Publication (ADRP) 1identifies essential characteristics that defines the Army as a profession:Trust, Honorable Service, Military Expertise, Stewardship, and Esprit deCorps. Although the explanation of the word “profession” canmean different things to different groups of people, the basic fundamentals ofa profession are consistent with trust and expertise.
Using either explanation, the Army has maintainedits status as a profession by sustaining majority trust of the American peopleand 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 ensuretrust amongst each individual Solider as well as the trust of the people inwhich they protect. Despite the public opinion of the wars inIraq and Afghanistan, polls by Gallup and Pew back in June2016 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 thepublic (Kennedy 2016). Afterthe government spent trillions of dollars on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Americanpeople still view the Army Soldiers favorably. Educating Soldiers lays foundation forbuilding the levels of expertise that is required in order to establish andmaintain a profession. TheArmy develops leadership skills and traits in its Soldiers through a continuingprogram of professional military education (PME) that starts the first day anindividual enters the Army. Itrecognizes that there is an art and science to leadership that is worth spendingresources to develop. Enlisted and officer personnel have to go throughdifferent educational milestones before they can progress to the next level intheir careers (Unknown 2015). Select-Train-Educate-Promote, also known as STEP, is apolicy that represents the Army’s commitment in Soldiers’ professional militaryeducation.
On Jan. 1, 2016, the Army expanded this standard for promotioneligibility to the NCO ranks by requiring all Soldiers to complete theappropriate level of formal military education before they are considered fullyqualified (Ricks 2014). Theseeducational standards were already in place amongst the officer ranks. The time frame in which theArmy was originally professionalized is debatable, but throughout its historythe Army has continued to train, develop, and mentor leaders. The leaders and Soldiersof the Army continue to prove is trust and worth to the American people eachand everyday by protecting the citizen for enemies foreign and domestic.