Army Battles Culture of Cheating

An Army Times article notes the US Army’s struggle to end a near-tradition of cheating on military promotion tests.  It appears many of the exams are long-running, meaning that gouge of one sort or another is readily available and frequently used.

The Army is far from the only service to experience such scandals.  The Navy has had its fair share of cheating, as has the Air Force, and cheating scandals at all of the military academies have made headlines at one time or another.

Hunts for online “help” for military courses is so common that one of the frequent searches that leads people to this very site is “pme,” “sos,” or “acsc” “gouge.”  Those who land here will instead find articles on the Ethics of Gouge and Ethics and Professional Conduct.

The article on the Army testing problem notes the most common causes of temptations to cheat:  “Everybody” is doing it, so you may put yourself at a professional disadvantage if you do not (which is actually a true statement); Commanders/leaders practically encourage it; and it is a virtual cultural “norm.”  After all, if it is expected, its not cheating, right?

In the Air Force, those same causes led to several cheating scandals in pilot training and professional development classes, as discussed in the articles on gouge.

When cheating becomes a cultural norm, it is very difficult to combat.  One soldier even said

How can noncommissioned officers, who cheated themselves, be expected to enforce rules against cheating?

Career difficulties and cultural expectations, however, are not an excuse for improper conduct.  One soldier, hopefully representative of others, recognized that fact:

Michelle, who said she plans to make a career in the Army, stopped cheating because she knew it was wrong.

Military members, especially Christians, must continually strive to do the right thing, even if the right thing isn’t the easy thing.  Such moral leadership is the foundation of the honor and integrity for which the US military should continue to be known.

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