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Military Accountability and General Orders

Fundamentally, accountability refers to willingly accepting responsibility for one’s actions. In other words, an accountable person owns their responsibilities and decisions and does not attempt to make excuses or blame others. It is an essential trait for every person, but more important for those individuals charged with tasks such as leadership. In a military context, accountability is the responsibility of a soldier or a military unit to take commands and complete the mission assigned by the superiors. The military operates in an environment where superiors make decisions, meaning that the soldiers and the units must adhere to the commands and execute the missions assigned. This creates an environment where the military focuses on common goals, which helps ensure the military successfully prevents domestic and foreign aggression from any malicious parties.

On the other hand, it is worth stressing that every soldier has to portray a sense of accountability at a personal level. Soldiers are accountable for their actions, such as the whereabouts of their tools and equipment and the welfare of their colleagues and subordinates. The military is a big family where each soldier is responsible for the wellbeing of the others, which calls for a high sense of accountability. Also, the soldier shows accountability by taking responsibility for their mistakes and reporting issues and incidents that need the attention of the military leadership. Today, issues such as sexual harassment in the military are attributed to a general lack of accountability, as victims and witnesses sometimes fail to report the incidents (Torres, 2020). If all soldiers can exhibit accountability, the incidents will be reported and necessary action taken.

In the military, accountability is a strong value with a direct impact on the success of the institution. Soldiers must fulfill their duties and take responsibility for their actions, creating an environment where rules, policies, and procedures are followed without fail. A sense of accountability is instilled during the training, but soldiers must take extra steps to fulfill their purpose in the military. Such a culture must be sustained to ensure leaders can trust the soldiers required to fulfill missions. As such, the leaders portray a high sense of accountability to serve as role models to the subordinates. It not only cements the culture of accountability but creates cohesive military units catering to every soldier’s wellbeing.

In addition to exhibiting a sense of accountability, the soldier must adhere to a basic outline of orders when not given specific orders. Popular as three general army orders, they cover what duties a soldier must fulfill on a day-to-day basis. The first order requires the soldier to guard everything within the limits of their post and quit when properly relieved. The second order requires soldiers to obey special commands and perform all duties in a military manner. The third order requires soldiers to report violations of special orders, emergencies, and other relevant incidents (Hachey, Libel & Dean, 2020). The three orders require a soldier to maintain assigned duties, only quit when relieved, and perform duties in a military manner, which aligns with the procedures and standards set in the military.

The three orders are vital because they provide every soldier with rules and guidelines that must always be followed. The orders instill discipline, making soldiers aware of how they should always conduct themselves. Unlike in the general population, the military requires self-awareness, discipline, and commitment to set rules and guidelines, which creates an environment where all persons are willing to follow orders and commands. Also, the orders ensure that soldiers are accountable and responsible for their actions whenever they make any mistakes.

Additionally, the orders make the soldier aware that professionalism is always required, as the military is charged with a noble responsibility that involves protecting the citizens and territorial integrity. Such goals may only be achieved adequately if the soldiers exhibit discipline and professionalism. For example, soldiers know that they should always be ready for military action, meaning they should respond immediately whenever called. Also, they know that the military is a respected institution, which requires them to maintain it by respecting military ethics and values.

In conclusion, the soldier should show accountability and adhere to the set general orders, which require them to meet duties, quit when relieved, and always act professionally. These requirements are vital because they establish performance standards that every soldier must meet to enable the military to create goal-oriented and cohesive teams that serve the nation. Over the years, the military has succeeded in instilling discipline and accountability by setting requirements and executing the three general orders. As such, every person joining the military must uphold the requirements for them to adapt to the military environment and help the institution pursue its set goals and objectives.


Hachey, K. K., Libel, T., & Dean, W. H. (2020). Rethinking Military Professionalism for the Changing Armed Forces. New York, NY: Springer.

Torres, E. (2020, August 28). Military sexual assault victims say the system is broken. Retrieved from ABC News:


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