Section 6: Conclusion

The Canadian military ethos is neither static nor fixed but maintained and sustained by the accumulated actions of individuals and groups, shaping it over time and ensuring that it remains relevant. The commitment of leaders, professional development, focused policies, supportive environmental subcultures, and honouring the past all strengthen and sustain the profession of arms in Canada. Each must speak to the military ethos.


Figure 2-1 The Military Ethos 

The diagram is broken up into three sections which include the ethos components, institutionalization, and the goal.

The three ethos components include:

  1. Beliefs and Expectations about Military Services:
    • Unlimited liability
    • Fighting spirit
    • Teamwork
    • Discipline
    • Physical Fitness
  2. Canadian Military Values
    • Duty
    • Loyalty
    • Integrity
    • Courage
  3. Canadian Values, Expectations and Beliefs
    • Democratic principles
    • Peace, order and good government
    • Rights and freedoms
    • Respect the dignity of all persons
    • Obey and support lawful authority
    • Diversity

The Beliefs and expectations about military services contribute to Canadian military values by providing condition and values essential for military effectiveness. The Canadian values, expectation and beliefs contribute to Canadian military values by providing Philosophy of Service shaped Canadian values.

Under the institutionalization section, the ethos components professionalism. These five actions must be done to sustain the ethos:

  • Commitment to leadership
  • Honouring the past
  • Guides education and training
  • Supportive policies
  • Supportive environmental sub-cultures

When the ethos is sustained this governs conduct. The institutionalization section transitions to the goal section which is to perform duty with honor.

The Heart of Canadian Military Professionalism

The Canadian military ethos is not just a statement of values or a checklist of idealized beliefs to be written and hung on a wall. It is a living spirit — one that finds full expression through the conduct of members of the profession of arms.

This ethos holds that armed forces are not inanimate things to be continually reconstructed and remodelled. Rather, professional armed forces pre-eminently rely on the human dimension for success.

Functioning on this basis, the ethos defines and establishes the desired institutional culture of the Canadian Forces. Reflecting national values and beliefs leads to a unique Canadian style of military operations — one in which CF members perform their mission and tasks to the highest professional standards, meeting the expectations of Canadians at large. The result is a Canadian Forces that performs its duty with a warrior’s honour.

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