The Leavenworth Way of War

History Discussion at CGSC

The Professionals

The 18th Century saw the perfection of the concept of the professional army. From the point of view of the monarch they were a great asset to the kingdom –ensuring protection from enemies from within as well as without the crown’s borders. The professional army had numerous positive attributes. It also had limitations. Both its attributes and its limitations directly effectived how the Kingdoms and Empires of the 18th Century waged wars. What were those effects?

Today the Western military forces, including the U.S. Army, are considered the finest professional military forces ever produced. As a professional military force, what attributes, both positive and negative, does the U.S. military, and the army in particular share with the professional forces of Frederick the Great’s Prussia?

Do the professional attributes of the U.S. military effect how the U.S. military wages war in a way similiar to the professionals effect on war in 18th Century? If so, how?

September 7, 2012 - Posted by | H100, Professional Military Education | , , , , ,


  1. Professionalism significantly impacts how the United States military conducts operations in both times of peace and in war. Our military is regarded as professional because of the training and reputation each member receives upon entering the service and throughout their career.

    The United States military requires the force from day one to be responsible for its actions. The member’s dedication allows the military to make junior enlisted and junior officers responsible for millions of dollars worth of equipment and countless lives. This delegated responsibility is accepted because of the loyalty and integrity of each and every member. Nations stand in awe when they discover the young, dedicated and responsible United States military. So much so, these nations want to emulate the American military. This awe is what makes the United States military stand with a professional presence in both peace and in war.

    The nations we support and the enemies we face in battle know the United States military is an all-volunteer force full of resolve to accomplish the mission. Much like the successful militaries of the 18th century, the American military is the one who holds the battlefield at the end of the day and relishes in victory. These victories could not happen without established trust between each member of the military and the citizens of America. The way the military maintains the trust is through continued professionalism.

    Comment by Bryan J Dutcher | September 10, 2012

  2. With respect to shared attributes between the US Army and the Prussian army of Frederick the Great, both Armies share strong discipline founded in both professionalism of the soldiers and a well established officer corps. Discipline gives both the Prussians and the US Army the flexibility to use novel tactics to defeat enemy units, even when in situation where pure numbers say they should be defeated. Similarly, the two Armies share a common social hierarchy with officers holding positions of respect and maintaining oversight over administration and training.This enables a culture of excellence and order within the respective Armies.

    A negative consequence of professionalization is that quality soldiers cannot be rapidly replaced. Because soldiers in Frederick’s force had to master drill and proficiency with their weapons, it took time to build the effectiveness of his Army and any replacements from combat. In the same way, the US Army invests a great deal of time and effort in training its soldiers, and replacing a soldier or unit comes at a significant cost in terms of money and time. The US Army has addressed this issue by building training infrastructures that provide steady throughput of expert, professional soldiers.

    Comment by Kenneth Mortimer, 11A | September 13, 2012

  3. I would like to comment on, “Do the professional attributes of the U.S. military effect how the U.S. military wages war in a way similiar to the professionals effect on war in 18th Century? If so, how?

    Our military is the greatest in how we apply our professional attributes to wage war because of our effectiveness with logistical support and a great part from the logistical support units we can get from our Citizen Soldiers in both the Reserves and National Guard. This is somewhat similiar to the effects in the 18th centrury, where young men where were used for the fight and middle aged men or married men with their wifes were used to support the logistical functions of the military.

    We have perfectioned that because of the superb workforce we are able to recruit from civilians to our citizen Soldier workforce. For example, when I was Commander of the 613th MP CO (I/R), within my reserve ranks in my logistical section, I had an E-5 who was an Executive Operations Manager for UPS. An E-4 who was a Post Master in the US Postal Service among other professionals. Soldiers like the ones I have mentioned, deploy and we end up using their expertise as civilians in the battlefield or Theater of Operations. Another example in which I can attest to over and over, are the Police Officers we have had in our citizen Soldier ranks who when deployed, where the ones not only training Iraqi Police or Afghan Security Forces, but also teaching Law Enforcement skills to Active Duty Military Police.

    This is one aspect that makes us the greatest military force and able to sustain a war indefinitely in our generation.

    MAJ, MP
    CGSC, SG: 11C

    Comment by MAJ Cesar Rodriguez, SG: 11C | September 16, 2012

  4. The Supposed Excellence of the professional US army is largely a myth propagated by its own members, based on a culture of martial gung ho attitude built up over a series of fifty years. Since World War II the US armed forces has never faced an enemy materially equal to itself, but has still suffered systematic failures (see Vietnam) in propagating there supposed martial superiority. Most of its successes can not be attributed to some kind of professional superiority to other first world armed forces, but rather the US economy which allows the nations armed forces to be equipped with cutting edge weaponry. Weaponry that it’s current enemies effectively lacked, which in turn affected any US victory.

    Comment by Emil Spegel | April 8, 2014

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