Developing Virtuous Soldiers: Mitigating the Problem of Fragmentation in the Army
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Fragmentation, which often involves the division of one’s self into professional and personal domains that are insulated from each other, is a serious problem for soldiers in today’s Army. This type of professional-personal fragmentation arises organically in military service. Unfortunately, it also seems that the past 12 years of persistent conflict have exacerbated the problem of fragmentation for many soldiers. Given this, I argue that any program that the Army implements for moral development should recognize fragmentation and provide resources and practices to combat it. I contend that the Army Profession campaign, which is the Army’s primary program for moral development, fails to meet either of these requirements. Moreover, it seems to serve as a catalyst that further fragments soldier’s lives. I believe this follows from the manner in which the campaign limits moral aspiration to a domain-specific good, professionalism. Thus it seems that the Army Profession campaign is not sufficient for soldiers’ moral development. Some may point to the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program as the resource that the Army uses to address this problem because of its emphasis on the emotional, social, familial, and spiritual domains of soldiers. I argue, however, that neither the Army Profession campaign nor the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program construes these domains as constitutive of moral development. Furthermore, both programs rely on experts to train soldiers in their respective concepts. This is problematic because soldiers do not find these experts to be credible. I go on to claim that leaders and peers who have a relationship with their fellow soldiers, and have earned their trust and respect, should function as the center of gravity for character development in the Army. Unfortunately, many leaders and soldiers lack the resources to do so. Thus, they often refer fellow soldiers back to the experts. Instead, leaders and peers should use the resources that virtue ethics provides with respect to self-perception, virtue-relevant goals, and the emotions to promote soldiers’ moral development. Toward that end, chaplains are well-suited to help leaders and peers gather the resources and develop the practices that will contribute to these aims.
Berghaus, Paul T (2013). Developing Virtuous Soldiers: Mitigating the Problem of Fragmentation in the Army. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from