It’s a common phrase: the Profession of Arms. I remember taking the oath of affirmation the day before starting my junior year at West Point and shaking many officers’ hands afterward, all attached to smiling faces uttering the phrase, “Welcome to the Profession of Arms.”
Under the direction of Army Secretary John McHugh, junior commissioned and warrant officer evaluation reports, previously masked from scrutiny, will be available for promotion and selection boards to examine by July 1. The errors and successes an officer made in the formative stages of his or her career will be laid out with the potential to have an influence on continued service. This major shift in personnel policy comes at a time when the U.S. Army and the Department of Defense are already experiencing significant upheaval internally while trying to fix unresolved problems abroad. And while offering more transparency to senior promotion boards on how an officer performed early on in his or her career may introduce some professional risk for some officers and “break faith” with others, it may also be necessary to improve the profession of arms.