Officership in the Iraqi Armed Forces

By Nqshbande, Mohammed Najmuddin Zenulden | Military Review, May-June 2006 | Go to article overview

Officership in the Iraqi Armed Forces

Nqshbande, Mohammed Najmuddin Zenulden, Military Review

MG Mohammed Najmuddin Zenulden Nqshbande is the commanding general designee of the Iraqi Training and Doctrine Command. A graduate of the Iraqi Military Academy, he has commanded units from platoon through brigade and has been a division and corps chief of staff. He also served as the commandant of the Iraqi War College and as governor of Sulimania Province. Since the fall of the former Iraqi regime, he has served as the deputy national security advisor. Recognized as a leading Iraqi Soldier-Scholar, he holds a Ph.D. in Strategic Military Studies and is fluent in English, Arabic, and Kurdish.

The following article is an English translation of a proposed statement of the Iraqi Professional Military Ethic as it applies to service as an officer in the Iraqi Joint Forces. It outlines the standards of military professionalism envisioned by the Iraqi senior leadership for Iraqi officers and, as such, will serve as a foundation document for the teaching and integration of professional ethics training into education from the Iraqi Military Academy through the senior defense college.

This statement is an adapted version of a 2004 U.S. Officership Concept Paper written by members of the staff and faculty at the U.S. Military Academy (USMA). It was intended for integration into U.S. Army leadership doctrine.

In an effort to implement measures to instill into the Iraqi military a sense of professionalism and mission, MG Nqshbande selected the USMA concept paper as the basis for an Iraqi statement of ethics, primarily because of its well-articulated focus on the universal professional military ethical standards and roles that the Iraqi leadership wants to instill in the new Iraqi Officer Corps. These include a sense of obligation to become a highly competent and smiled warrior; recognition that a soldier's highest obligation is to be a servant of the nation and people as a whole; a sense of self-identity and shared pride as members of an honorable profession and national institution; and a sense of obligation to serve the nation with integrity, honesty, and courage as leaders of character. Subsequently, MG Nqshbande adapted, modified, and retranslated portions of the paper to ensure the concepts were properly conveyed in Arabic military terminology and were appropriately compatible with the conventions, traditions, and expressions of Arabic military culture.


OFFICERSHIP is the practice of being a commissioned leader, accountable to the Prime Minister of Iraq for the Army and its mission. Officers swear an oath of loyalty and service to the Constitution. Officers apply discretionary judgment and bear ultimate moral responsibility for their decisions. Their commission imposes total accountability and unlimited liability. Essential to officership is a unique, shared self-concept that is shaped by what officers KNOW and DO, but most important, by a deeply held personal understanding and acceptance of what a commissioned officer must BE. This shared self-concept consists of four interrelated identities: warrior, servant of the Nation, member of an honorable profession, and leader of character. Grounded in values, this shared self-concept inspires and shapes the Iraqi officer and the Iraqi Officer Corps.

The basic notions about the nature and obligations of being a commissioned officer arise from the Constitution, the commissioning act, and the nature of the profession. Officership is reflected in the unique set of beliefs, skills, competencies, and practices that distinguish and link officers as the ultimately accountable leaders of units, Soldiers, and the Army profession.

Officership is the inspirational basis of authority, empowered and driven by deeply held convictions and a commitment to be the standard bearer for individual and unit performance and conduct. Officership is a compelling ideal that all officers aspire to and one that propels officers' passion for continuous growth, the accomplishment of all assigned missions, Soldiers' well-being, and the security of the Nation. …

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