The Importance of Accountability and Responsibility in the U.S. Army

The following essay is a compilation of my personal experiences, definitions, and examples of how responsibility and accountability are important to surviving in today’s U. S. Army. Responsibility is increased when soldiers have a single, clear set of rules that apply to a specific event. When the guidelines are unclear, or when more than one set of rules seems to apply to an event, responsibility is decreased. Responsibility is: the obligation for the proper, custody, care, and safekeeping of property or funds entrusted to the possession or supervision of an individual.

Being responsible in the US Army has got to be of the utmost importance in my opinion. Throughout the past few months I have been dealing with many problems physically and mentally, and I strongly believe that this has, in part, to blame for my lack of responsibility. Even so, this is really no reason at all to slack on any part of being a responsible Private E-2. Soldiers must be and act responsibly in every situation they may find themselves in, whether it’s in or out of uniform.

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Responsibility increases when soldiers believe that they have personal control over their mission performance, performing out of desire to do well instead of just following orders. There have been many studies that have suggested that when a Soldier feels that they have personal control over work performance the result is that the Soldier has a better task performance, better problem solving, a higher persistence in accomplishing the task, more positive emotions and even better psychological and physical health. Responsibility and accountability are two of the main factors in being a successful Soldier in today’s U.

S. Army. You must be a responsible soldier if you want to make it through deployment alive. Or even worse, if you fail to be responsible you could risk someone else’s life or your entire squad’s lives. One example of being responsible would be to remember to properly PMCS you’re vehicle prior to taking it on mission. The responsible thing to do would be to go through every aspect of the PMCS and not taking any shortcuts. If your vehicle were to fail on you while you were outside the wire you could potentially endanger everyone’s lives on the entire convoy.

As said before responsibility must be used in every part of being a Soldier in the U. S. Army, not just PMCSing a vehicle, responsibility falls under just about every topic such as, waking up with enough time to prepare for your first formation, or mission, being in the proper uniform, and having all of the inspect able items without having to be reminded or helped in any way. Accountability is: the obligation imposed by law or lawful order or regulation on an officer or other person for keeping accurate record of property, documents, or funds.

The person having this obligation may or may not have actual possession of the property, documents, or funds. Accountability is concerned primarily with records, while responsibility is concerned primarily with custody, care, and safekeeping. Being accountable in the U. S. Army is another very important aspect of being a good Soldier as well. The U. S. Army values Soldiers that are accountable for their actions. Being accountable means being dependable, arriving to work and appointments on time, meeting deadlines, being in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing at the right time.

Morning formation is the most important formation of the day. It is made to get accountability of everyone and put out any information that there needs to be dealt with. Without having accountability there is not knowing of where everybody is or what’s going on. Not only does accountability matter in formation it is also imperative to have accountability of all your weapons and sensitive items. So why is accountability important to the U. S. Army? Accountability is a very important part of an enlisted and an NCO’s job.

The enlisted Soldier is responsible for all items issued to him weather it be a weapon, NVGs, clothes, a vehicle, or some TA-50, a field manual, medication (morphine, or any narcotics), BII, etc. The NCO’s responsibility is to make sure that the Soldier is accountable for the items and has eyes on these items when needed, so that he can report it to his higher command. Accountability is a concept in ethics with several meanings. It is often used synonymously with such concepts as answerability, responsibility, blameworthiness, liability and other terms associated with the expectation of account-giving.

At its root, accountability involves either the expectation or assumption of account-giving behavior. In another view, accountability is a simple word that, at its root, means: “the willingness to stand up and be counted — as part of a process, activity or game. ” In this sense, then, accountability is less something I’m held to, or something done to me; rather, it is a word reflecting personal choice and willingness to contribute to an expressed or implied outcome. Accountability is increasingly becoming an important issue for the non-profit world. I am an American Soldier.

I am a Warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values. I will always place the mission first. I will never accept defeat. I will never quit. I will never leave a fallen comrade. I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills. I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself. I am an expert and I am a professional. I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat. I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.

I am an American Soldier. The most important part in the Soldier’s Creed for me in this moment and time is I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself. For if I didn’t have those things I could put myself in danger or some of my battle buddies. Assertions of responsibility can mean a number of different things. We might be making a judgment of someone’s character, implying that a Soldier can be trusted to act responsibly. We might mean that someone was responsible for bringing something about. But these responses don’t take us far towards a atisfactory answer to the question, what do we mean when we talk about responsibilities? To advance our understanding of responsible action we need to know who is responsible, and for what. To lose a sensitive item can be detrimental to the readiness of your unit in times of war or training. The consequences of losing sensitive items vary from item to item according to its value and importance. In times of war losing a sensitive item is crucial considering you have just given your enemy the ability to intercept these weapons and/or sensitive items.

Could you live with the knowledge that you are responsible for the death of your team, squad, platoon, unit, or your own battle buddy or best friend? I think not. There are many other punishments such as life in prison. To lose a sensitive item can also be a violation of the U. S. Army values. It violates the values of Duty and Integrity. It violates duty because without the proper equipment you cannot perform your duties. You also let down your platoon by not knowing where your items are. It violates the integrity of yourself by letting your platoon down. Your platoon counts on you to make sure you know where all your items are.

Imagine you are in a situation and you need your night vision goggles, but you cannot account for them. The enemy is approaching rapidly and the sun is setting even faster. You are the spotter for your team and your night vision is not so good. You have been placed far from your other platoon members and have to relay information to the rear. During your guard shift you hear shots ring out through the quiet night sky. You cannot determine where the shots came from. Your battle buddy is now screaming in pain. You turn to see him lying on the ground and blood is pouring from the wound in his abdomen.

He dies on the line. Now you must explain to the commanding officer how you ‘misplaced’ your night vision goggles that are a sensitive item. Now you must write a letter to the relatives of the soldier whose life was taken because of your inadequacy to maintain accountability of your sensitive items. Now had you not lost your sensitive items your battle buddy would still be alive laughing with you about the stupid things you did as a private in the good ol’ days. In battle night vision goggles are important because you need to be able to see everything from the flash of the muzzle o the movement of your own battle buddies. Some valuable items are the simplest of things that you never realize you had. Such as your identification tags or your identification card. Sometimes it may even be the password to your ako account. You never really know what can be considered a sensitive item until your system has been compromised and your mission is a failed mission. A failed mission is not what you want to be responsible for. Especially if it’s for not keeping account of your items. You should not expect your team leader to make sure your sensitive items are accounted for like they are suppose to.

If you leave your weapon in an insecure area make sure you leave a capable guard with it so that no one can come by and retrieve it and you lose accountability for it. Sensitive items are important because if the enemy gets a hold of them it makes for a very bad day. The enemy would like nothing more than to get a hold of weapon systems and our radios. The enemy wants to know everything about how the military works and about our operations. The U. S. Army was founded on the values and the ability for soldiers to follow the orders given to them by their superiors. Without orders in the U. S.

Army nothing would get done the way that it needs to get done. Soldiers must obey their orders so that the jobs that need to get done get done properly. If a Squad leader gives a Soldier an order to shoot and they do not shoot what happens? If the Soldier does not shoot he may let the enemy go and that enemy might later attack and kill someone from another unit. Soldiers must understand that the orders given to them are given for a reason. They must also be able to distinguish between Lawful and Unlawful orders for they are inevitably the ones responsible if they follow an unlawful order that was given to them.

It is their responsibility as a Soldier to know the difference between what is right and what is wrong. Following orders is the simplest thing to do yet so many Soldiers do not want to do so. In times of war the more sensitive an item is the more the enemy craves the item. You should never leave equipment lying around. If you see that your battle buddy has left any equipment lying around no matter what it is from patrol cap to an TA-50. Secure it and make sure you let them know off line the mistake they have performed. It does not matter what rank they are.

Just remember to be respectful to those that out rank you. If you lose a sensitive item you may have to pay for it by losing money and/ or rank. The reason that accountability is important is to keep track of important and sensitive items so that these items do not get lost and fall into the wrong hands. If some of these items were to fall into the wrong hands they could be used against you or other people for harmful means. For instance if the enemy got their hands on your Identification they could modify it to get onto a post and attack you, other Soldiers, and/or military families.

While in the field you have to have accountability for every weapon and item you withdrew. One person from each squad is designated to see if you have your sensitive weapons every time you leave the fob and/or come back from the ranges. He takes account for them by serial number or rack number. The reason they check by serial number or rack number is to make sure the items did not get mixed up with another squad‘s or another platoon’s that just happen to be joining you at the range that day. If you mix up weapons with another platoon your platoon leadership will be forced to go correct the problem.

No member of your platoon leadership wants to admit to that kind of screw up and go ask for the weapon that belongs to you. If this happens go ahead and get in the front leaning rest and start pushing till he gets back with your correct weapon. Once you are ready to leave the field you will pack your things making extra careful protection by looking under your bunk for any item that may have been left behind. Next you want to store your weapon in the vehicles. As you approach the arms room you must first clear your weapon in the clearing barrel. You have to clear every weapon that you signed out.

The weapons are then turned back into the armory. That being said the enemy really wants our weapon technology. That is how weapons are accounted for in the field environment. After you get back you can turn in your sensitive item. Without loyalty and duty a platoon cannot work like it’s suppose to work. The platoon members do not trust you in any form and/ or fashion now. If your platoon can not count on you to keep account of your weapons in a training environment, then how can they expect you to have their backs in a hostile situation? You cannot hold up the platoon.

Soon your Sergeants will be furious at you and you will be facing Uniform Code of Military Justice Actions. This could lead to your removal from the military. You should always keep account of your sensitive items because you never know when you are going to need them. You should always keep up with your weapons because the enemy could get a hold of the weapon. How would you like to know that you or your battle buddy died because you were shot by your own weapon? In essence, I will never lose account of my sensitive items again even if it means sleeping with it. It doesn’t matter because I have to treat those weapons like they were my family.

I have to treat them with respect and in return they may someday save my life. Sensitive items are important because some day they may save your life in the field. Losing your sensitive items can result in an Article 15, corrective training, or negative counseling statement. Depending on what you lost will depend upon your punishment. Also your environment will dictate what will happen to you. If you are in a wartime environment then the punishment will be more severe, but if you are in a peacetime environment the punishment will be less severe depending on the item that has been lost.

Say you miss placed your wet weather gear. Not so important you think, but now the enemy has it. The enemy can run all kinds of tests on your wet weather gear to see what kind or nuclear, biological, radiological, or chemical attack is the strongest to penetrate what little protection your wet weather gear my provide. They may test to see at what temperature the fabric start to melt or at what temperature the fabric will freeze. If you take the small items for granted, what are you going to do with the bigger more important items?

Will you leave them around for the enemy to just scoop up and find our weak points? Are you going to take care of them like they were your very own? In conclusion, accountability of sensitive items are the most important aspect of the military way of life. To lose something of great importance is to result in a grand punishment. Your team depends on you to keep all your equipment within arms length and in working order. Some days you may not want to but always PMCS your items from radios, to weapons, right down to personal gear.

You never know what will someday save your life or the life of your battle buddy. The word order is defined as an authoritative direction or instruction; command; mandate. You learn to follow orders in order to maintain order and discipline. Without orders in the U. S. Army there will be no structure or discipline. If a Soldier does not follow the orders given to them then you and put someone at risk. Maintaining good order and discipline is the important in the U. S. Army. Without it the U. S. Army would not function and we would not be the force that we are today.

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