Essay Topic #4
5 December 2014
The Significance of Cultivating Integrity “The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.” Confucius’ quotation explains how the strength of a larger group is pulled together by the strength of each member’s integrity. In General Charles C. Krulak’s speech about military integrity, Krulak truly illuminates the importance integrity is to a person’s character. One must cultivate their integrity carefully which will develop over one’s entire lifetime through personal experiences and ethical decisions. New Mexico Military Institute, or NMMI, lacks a solid foundational culture of integrity, which will prove to be detrimental for our nation’s future officers to lead without an established integrity foundation to develop on. During General Kurlak’s speech at the Joint Services Conference on Professional Ethics, he spoke of many ways to establish a community of integrity. NMMI should incorporate the use of a more constant disciplinary system, classes on integrity and ethics, and eliminate the sense of a second standard to cultivate a culture of integrity. General Krulak explains in during his speech, “Integrity is also an ideal … a goal to strive for … and for a man or woman to “walk in their integrity” is to require constant discipline and usage.” Currently, NMMI’s cadets evade punishment and continue to proceed with activities that destroy their moral principles and character. These activities include participating in drug-related activities and not acting responsibly when no one is looking because cadets know they can get away with doing such undertakings. If there are more extensive penalties for acting in such a way that compromises integrity, most cadets will become disciplined and stay away from foolish actions due to the repercussions. Honesty is an essential component to the development of personal integrity and part of the honor code that supposedly is upheld to the highest standards, yet being a ‘rat’ is frowned upon and toleration is accepted. This toleration directly relates to an example from Kurlak’s speech with the Roman soldiers, “They took their armor off, and when the armor came off – so too came their integrity.” If one does ‘wear’ their integrity daily, everything associated with it will fall apart. Many of cadets at NMMI do not know who or what their inner character represents and what it stands for. Classes on integrity and ethics are crucial to the understanding of how these traits develop and what they symbolize. A famous saying states, “How can you lose something you never knew you had.” General Krulak’s speech argues how “sound morals and ethical behavior cannot be established or created in a day … a semester … or a year.” One must first learn their true character before personal integrity can develop. These classes must teach how Krulak indicated, “Integrity is also an ideal … a goal to strive for.” Cadets need to set and achieve goals to improve their wholeness and help one another achieve the same by not tolerating immoral behavior within and outside of the corps. Educating the Corps of Cadets of NMMI on military ethics and integrity development is vital to setting standards, because by developing these skills, essential leadership qualities, including moral principle and character, uprightness, and honesty, will develop as well. Krulak articulates in his speech how honesty is a valuable asset to integrity. Without honesty in the corps, integrity cannot be developed. Second standards are very real in the Corps of Cadets at this institute.