Academic journal article Military Review

The Army Civilian Corps: Professionals in the Making

Academic journal article Military Review

The Army Civilian Corps: Professionals in the Making

Article excerpt


In a 2015 Military Review article, author Robert Hynes argues that civilians in the Army, by definition, do not technically meet the requirements to be considered professionals in the Army. (1) His thought-provoking article highlights questions that need to be answered in order for Army civilians to be recognized as full members of the Army Profession.

In the author's words, the Army as a profession can be defined from this passage: "It was the combination of these three components--the technical expertise of warfare, the relationship of trust between itself and the American public, and awareness of the professional responsibilities pursuant to that trust--that collectively established the Army as a profession." (2) What is significant about this definition, along with the definition provided in Army Doctrine Reference Publication (ADRP) 1, The Army Profession, is that both substantiate why Army civilians can meet the criteria for being members of the Army Profession. (3) In this discourse, it is necessary that one contextualize the role Army civilians play in the conduct of national security, specifically in the land domain, and recognize those aspects that certify Army civilians for professional membership. The fundamental question remains: Are Army civilians members of the Army Profession? Once certified, the answer is yes, and here is why.

Understanding Professionalism

It is important to examine those aspects that define professions and the qualifications outlined as characteristics of the Army Profession in order to understand what it means to be a professional and what are the rights of passage for full-fledged membership. Under current definitions, professions have aspects (elements that frame professions) and characteristics (elements that describe a specific profession) articulated in ways that generate formal societal recognition and socially acceptable behaviors in performance of professional tasks. (4) These acceptable professional behaviors are defined in terms of broad social necessities that require specialized knowledge to perform a unique service society cannot provide itself. (5) Examples of professions usually include medicine, law, engineering, education, and the clergy. Each of these are examples of callings vice jobs, which society requires to provide a unique service. The unique service outcomes are realized through the behaviors of a profession's members whom society willingly accepts and trusts. In order to garner society's trust, professional competence is necessary. To achieve this level of competence requires mastery of specialized knowledge specific to the profession's unique service. Mastery is demonstrated in the behaviors that are the result of utilizing the specialized knowledge required to perform the unique service.

In the case of the Army Profession, the first defined concept referenced by Hynes, "technical expertise of warfare" is a description of one aspect of professional qualification, a component of specialized knowledge required to be a member of the Army Profession. (6) It is also embedded in one of the five essential characteristics of the Army Profession, that being military expertise. (7) The second and third concepts of the article, "trust between itself and the American public" and "awareness of the professional responsibilities pursuant to that trust" are foundational concepts that nest with Army doctrine. (8) Trust is an essential characteristic of the Army Profession. It is the essence of the relationship between society and the profession. This trust results in empowerment of the profession to self-govern, regulate, and certify its members. ADRP 1 outlines the criteria for evaluating whether the Army Civilian Corps is in or out: five aspects of a profession, and the five essential characteristics of the Army Profession, which include trust. This article examines these and other aspects and characteristics that define an Army professional. …

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