Sample Essay on Professionalism and Integrity in the U.S Army

Professionalism and Integrity in the U.S Army

Members of the U.S army generally consider themselves to be personally truthful and professional in the conduct of their duty. However, Wong and Gerras paint a picture of a force in which deception and lack of integrity in professional work are part of the norm. According to the article by Wong and Gerras, deception is prevalent in the U.S Army in high as well as the low ranks.[1]  It has through the years become somewhat acceptable and even the leadership of the army is well aware of the fact that there is deception within its operations. In particular, areas such as reporting and fiscal matters are the most affected with regards to integrity loss. Through constant deception, the integrity of the army profession has slowly been fading through various procedures which result in acceptability of certain unprofessional conducts.

While the subject of deception in the army is one on which most of the leaders are averse to, the existence of this vice is undeniable. The efforts made by the U.S army to monitor and reinforce commitment to integrity and professionalism are limited in various ways. For instance, almost all of the members of the U.S army ignore the probability of others being deceptive in their work as they consider themselves to uphold the values and integrity of the profession. This shortcoming goes beyond the individual members as even the leadership ignores the potential for rampant deception throughout the army. While they clearly understand that some of the members may resort to deception in order to portray the image of a professional force, they fail to recognize that this kind of deception may be rampant throughout the force. This creates the basis for their unwillingness to openly speak about the fading integrity in the army.

Apart from this, the excessive demands placed upon the training officers in the army makes it impossible to expect 100 percent impeccability. With the high demands on the trainers and limited training times, the leaders expect less than 100 percent perfection in performance. At the same time, reporting lack of compliance with all the training requirements is not an acceptable option for the trainers and the trainees.[2] This sets the pace for a deceptive career as the trainers have to prioritize the training exercises to fit the available time, while lying about compliance with other mandatory requirements. Although this may seem commonplace and acceptable through the years, it reduces the level of professionalism among the trained officers as they may not be competent in some of the areas requiring their participation.[3] This is further enhanced by the fact that the army, while passing down the training requirements to units and individuals, is well aware that the mandatory training expectations are unachievable within the stipulated one year training duration. This means that while they may not explicitly attest to facilitating the loss of professional integrity, they are the forerunners of the rampant deception in the army.

Bureaucracy also fosters the loss of professional integrity within the army. The U.S Army advocates for adherence to procedures as one of the ways through which transparency can be enhanced. However, bureaucracy hampers effectiveness in role performance hence resulting in deception during reporting. Expectations such as the need for reporting on enemy encounters and indirect fires experiences cause a lot of time wastage given that the officers do not understand the rationale behind the reports. In some cases, it is even reported that the cost of investigation would be higher than the cost of asset replacement hence the officers and their leaders opt to lie not only to save costs but also to save on time and plan other activities.[4]

While there are obviously many weaknesses that can be associated with the U.S army efforts, the army has also made strong steps towards monitoring and reinforcing its commitment to professional integrity. For instance, it is clear that most of the army officers and their leaders are aware of the deception in training and in report writing. This implies that the source of the problem is comprehensible and thus a solution can be found. Additionally, the problem is not with individual attitudes but rather profession wide. This is indicated through the values that most of the army officers uphold and the importance they place on obedience and professional integrity. This means that if only the problem can be solved at the communal level through various strategies, it would not be difficult to convince the individual members to comply with the new standards. Moreover, most of the deceptive actions committed by the army officers are done in a spirit of community rather than individual gain.[5] As such, anything that may be considered profitable to the entire platoon or the entire force is likely to be acceptable to all members.

In conclusion, one of the ways through which professional integrity can be maintained in the army is through matching the set standards to expectations. By ensuring that the standards set for individuals and units in the army correspond to the available accomplishment time and the resources available, the army leaders can effectively ensure that professional integrity is upheld. This is based on the fact that high expectations and unacceptable lack of compliance contribute to deception within the army. As such, it is expected that if the standards are achievable, compliance will truly be 100 percent. Moreover, bureaucracy should be constrained to areas where practicing such cannot result in greater loss of man power and/ or crucial time. For instance, bureaucracy is not necessary in war as it results in wrong reports.


End Notes

[1] Leonard Wong and Stephen J. Gerras. Lying to Ourselves: Dishonesty in the Army Profession. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: U.S. Army War College Press, 2015, pp. 1.

[2] Ibid., 2.

[3] Andrew Pestano. U.S. Army Personnel of all Ranks Engage in ‘Dishonesty and Deception.’ United Press International, 2015.

[4] Wong and Gerras, 15.

[5] Ibid., 29.


Andrew Pestano. U.S. Army Personnel of all Ranks Engage in ‘Dishonesty and Deception.’ United Press International, 2015.

Leonard Wong and Stephen J. Gerras. Lying to Ourselves: Dishonesty in the Army Profession. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: U.S. Army War College Press, 2015, pp. 1.