Noncommissioned Officer Academy
Volume 1. Profession of Arms
001. Professionalism and the NCO
1. When the dictionary definitions and the philosophical descriptions of the term “profession” are combined, what are the criteria for an occupation to be described as a profession?
One that exhibits a body of theory and specialized knowledge, is service-oriented, and has a distinct subculture.
2. What is wrong with the position that any given broadly defined occupation is either a profession or it is not?
That approach leads to such conclusions as only doctors and not nurses are members of the medical profession and only officers and not enlisted professionals in the POA. The vast majority of occupations and professions are distributed all along the great middle between the two extremes. The characteristics which determine an occupation’s place on the Professions Continuum is not prestige or salary, but rather the three criteria. A century or two ago only a few recognized professions existed (physician, professor, clergy, etc.) and now there’s no need for the vacuum tube changer in today’s computer systems (an important job only half a generation ago.)
3. List unprofessional actions that should not be exhibited by NCOs.
Coasting through a career; considering oneself only a technical expert; discrimination; ignoring direction from your superiors and then asking for forgiveness later; inflating EPRs; lack of self development; neglecting weak skill areas such as writing; only focusing upon one area of your job or responsibilities; poor attitude; purposely rushing to miss reveille and retreat; seeing discipline violations and not correcting; sexual harassment; shabby wear of the uniform (rag bag syndrome); shying away from additional responsibility; taking advantage of no supervision; understanding role model responsibilities; using personal bias in the evaluation process; weak performance feedback or no performance feedback; whining or complaining about everything.
4. What motivates NCOs to choose to behave in a professional manner?
Seriousness about the commitment and obligation sworn to in the oath of enlistment; association with those with very high standards; a sense of urgency; have worked under the leadership of several good professional supervisors; have patriotic undertones driving personality; view military service as serving a cause higher than self; see themselves as serving a cause higher than self; view the POA/military as a profession; view themselves as more than a technician; view themselves as professional.
5. What is the impact of unprofessional behaviors up the Air Force?
Degraded mission effectiveness; decrease in organizational efficiency; lack of subordinate growth and development; no mentorship; perpetuates a “just a job” attitude; discipline and moral suffer.
6. Why is it important that we continue to move along the professional continuum?
If we all don’t aspire to improve or enhance our level of performance and abide by the same core values and responsibilities, then there is no way the profession as a whole can advance along the continuum of occupations. In other words, a weak link here and a weak link there will cause the entire organization to lose status. A continual move towards professionalism helps increase public trust of the military.
002. PME’s role in the Profession of Arms
1. Give examples of how today’s enlisted corps is significantly different than our predecessors in the areas of higher level responsibilities and education.
Many enlisted members are assuming responsibilities once exclusively reserved for member of the officer corps. Theses increased responsibilities, both technical and supervisory, are being executed more capably because the enlisted individuals involved have a firm basis of professional understanding based upon increase levels of education.
2. How does the Profession of Arms subject area broaden our perspective of the military profession?