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The One Thing Series: Sharing the Profession with Department of the Army Civilians

By Tom Dull

 “The Army profession develops Soldiers and Army civilians who demonstrate character, competence, and commitment through career-long training, education, and experience.”

ADP 6-22: Army Leadership and the Profession

In the past year I have had the privilege of working with several Department of the Army (DA) Civilians in a variety of fields and expertise while serving at the United States Military Academy at West Point. These civilians work hard, share responsibility, and make monumental efforts to support Soldiers, Noncommissioned Officers, and Officers. However, I was surprised to learn that many of our civilians were unaware of the fact that they are active members of our Profession. For those who did understand this responsibility, they conveyed timidity to exercise this responsibility alongside their military counterparts. I learned that it was important to discuss, educate, and coach these tremendous colleagues on their responsibility within our great profession and  convey to them that they are absolutely valued and welcomed members in our community.

Through many conversations and classes over the past year, I found it important to coach and mentor fellow DA Civilians on two things: (1) DA Civilians take and are obligated to an oath of Office; therefore, they are welcomed into the profession, and (2) DA Civilians are 100% part of and share our profession. Ultimately, we need them to help us steward it by maintaining our country’s trust and confidence.

The Oath. The civilian oath of office is like the commissioned oath of office. By giving their oath (their word), DA Civilians are accepted and welcomed into the profession. However, because they have given their word, DA Civilians are obligated to be honorable servants of the nation while simultaneously being ethical leaders and followers in the profession. Just like their military counterparts. In other words, they must support and lead through Army initiatives and directives.

Share Responsibility in the Profession. Actions matter and maintaining trust and confidence with our nation remains vital for all of us in the profession. Our DA Civilians have unique opportunities to reveal the profession in their areas of expertise. Whether in academics or more technical areas, our DA Civilians can reach, as well as be examples to, specific demographics in America that a Soldier may have limitations in reaching. Our civilians are bright, innovative, and caring; we need them in our profession; we need them to see our blind spots and we need to see theirs too; they make us better. More importantly, we need them to serve for love of country just like us.

Our profession is unique and great; our people are what make it great. I learned how important it is to team with DA Civilians, I learned again the value of good relationships, and I learned that sharing this profession with DA Civilians will help the Army answer many uncertainties of combat.

Tom Dull is an Infantry Officer in the United States Army and currently the executive officer for the Character Integration Advisory Group (CIAG) at West Point. Additionally, he serves as an instructor for Officership at the United States Military Academy.

Editor’s Note: In June, we asked our From the Green Notebook community a simple but profound question: What’s the one thing you wish you would have known before you started your last assignment? This week, we are pleased to share the nuggets of wisdom leaders have learned with the hope that it doesn’t have to be relearned by someone else the hard way. 

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