A Soldier's Values and Standards

Humans are naturally team players, we all seek the company of others and like to share our experiences. The British Army is the ultimate team.

It has an excellent reputation across the World, which is built on trust. A lot is expected of you as a British Soldier; you will be required to serve in dangerous places, risk your life for your teammates and put up with uncomfortable conditions.

Our Values and Standards are essential to the British Army, they define what the British soldier is. They are more than just words, we must all believe in them and live by them. I expect you to behave and conduct yourselves to the highest standards at all times.

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Introduction

The British Army is a professional and disciplined team, with a long tradition of service to the country and it has strong public support. Its job is often difficult, dangerous and demanding; so in order to do it, the Army needs all of us to have high standards of behaviour all the time.

These are our Values and Standards.

The Values guide and develop us into the sort of people we should be: the Standards explain how we should behave.

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The Army's Values

The type of person you are

Being a soldier is not easy. You are asked to do things not asked of other people. You have to be aggressive and strong in battle, yet behave properly and show self-control all the time.

You have to fit in and be part of a team.

You have to trust your teammates and they have to be able to trust you.

To do all of this, the Army has 6 Values that it requires you to live by.

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Courage

Doing and saying the right thing not the easy thing

All soldiers need courage, both physical and moral. Showing physical courage and risking injury or death to complete the mission is about controlling your fear, rather than a lack of fear. Training and discipline will help you to do your duty regardless of the dangers and discomforts. Moral courage is doing the right thing, not looking the other way when you know or see something is wrong, even if it is not a popular thing to do or say.

“With complete disregard for his own safety, continued to charge the enemy position alone. He was everywhere where danger threatened, moving amongst his men and encouraging them by his fearless example to hold out. She acted completely selflessly and, in the face of great danger, concentrated on her job and saved someone’s life. I’m extremely proud of the action of these soldiers. They epitomise the very best qualities of our soldiers. They showed considerable moral and physical courage when they intervened.” CGS

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Discipline

Doing things properly and setting the right example

All teams need discipline. Discipline is vital in our line of work; it means that orders are carried out and everyone is confident that they will not be let down by their teammates.

Self-discipline is the best form of discipline - doing your job without being told. It depends on high personal standards that will earn you the trust and respect of your teammates. It gives you the courage to make the difficult choices that you will face in your career. 

Discipline helps you control fear.

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Respect for Others

Treat others as you expect to be treated

Soldiers come in all shapes and sizes and all deserve to be treated fairly. There is no place for any form of harassment or discrimination in an Army that claims to ‘Be the Best’.

Discrimination damages teams; it excludes members and does not give them a chance to contribute. The Army recognises the importance of humour, but humour must be inclusive. Humour that insults, ridicules or intimidates people is destructive and damages the team.

Respecting others is part of the trust that has to exist between you and your team mates; you must judge people on their abilities and not on their race, religion or sex. Respect for others, including civilians, detainees and captured enemy forces, means treating people decently.

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Integrity

Being honest with yourself and your teammates

Integrity means being honest, not lying, cheating or stealing. If you lack integrity, your teammates cannot trust what you say or do; they cannot rely on you and your team will suffer.

You must look after your integrity as, like trust, once it is lost it takes a long time to earn back, if ever.

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Loyalty

Support the army and your teammates

Loyalty is about supporting your teammates, looking after and helping them, putting their needs before your own, not letting them down, even when the going gets tough. In return, they will do the same for you. 

However, loyalty does not mean you should cover up for illegal or unlawful acts committed by your teammates, as that would show a lack of integrity and moral courage.

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Selfless Commitment

Mates and mission first, me second

The Army is about teamwork - none of us work on our own, we always work in a team: section, platoon/troop, company/squadron/battery, battalion/regiment. 

Teams can only be effective if we all play our part in full, putting the team and the mission before our own needs, trusting each other totally - even with our lives if necessary.

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The Army's Standards

The way we behave

It is difficult to list every standard that affects our professional and private lives. But if we live by our Values, then the Standards are clear. The Army’s Standards are designed to ensure that all our behaviour is:

  • lawful
  • appropriate
  • and totally professional

Low standards, both professional and personal, damage the team. This might cause failure on operations, with soldiers getting seriously injured and killed. This is why the Army depends on high standards, and why it has a more demanding approach towards certain types of behaviour and relationships than the rest of society.

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Lawful

Obey the law, all the time, wherever you are serving

All soldiers are subject to the law wherever they are serving. On operations this includes international law, the laws of armed
conflict and, in some cases, local civil law. 

The Army needs to be tough and aggressive and in doing your job, you will face people who break the law. This does not mean you can break the law. You must always keep your self-control, however angry or provoked you might be, because no soldier is ever above the law.

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Appropriate Behaviour

Don't offend others

Trust underpins all our behaviour. The Army needs a more demanding standard of social behaviour from you, because our job depends upon:

  • putting others’ needs before our own
  • honesty
  • supporting your teammates

Social misbehaviour, particularly the wrong sort of relationships, can undermine trust. Unwelcome sexual attention, taking sexual advantage of someone more junior than you or an affair with a partner of a teammate may damage the integrity and honesty of those involved, and damage the team.

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Total Professionalism

Be the best

As a British Soldier you are trained to the highest standards. It is vital that you maintain those standards all the time, on and off duty. The responsible consumption of alcohol is accepted, but binge drinking is unprofessional: it is dangerous and it damages your health. 

The use of drugs is against the law and also harms you. The effect of drugs can remain in your body for a long time. It may affect your performance on operations, making you unreliable and untrustworthy - you become a liability. Soldiers who are caught using drugs can expect to be discharged.

You must not speak to the press, sell stories or pictures without the permission of your commanding officer. Look after your money carefully, avoid uncontrolled debts and heavy gambling as this shows a lack of self-discipline and others may lose their trust in you.

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Application

Training and guidance

You will be given training and guidance on the British Army’s Values and Standards, so that you understand them and can live by them. Your conduct will be measured against this simple test, known as the Service Test:

“Have your actions or behaviour badly affected, or are they likely to affect the operational effectiveness of your unit”