Soldier for Life: Professional Soldier Identity in the U.S. Army

  • Lieutenant Colonel Charles H. Koehler III

In 2012, the Chief of Staff of the Army (CSA) established the Soldier for Life program and charged it with enabling Army, governmental, and community efforts to improve soldier transition into the civilian world. A subordinate component of this effort is the CSA’s vision of a lifelong “Soldier” mindset soldiers will carry with them to assist them in civilian success. This Strategy Research Project posits that a deeper concept of soldier identity is a foundational requirement inextricably linked to the profession of arms and trust inside and outside the Army. This identity must be established first in order to build trust in the institution, narrow military-civilian social gaps, and improve integration of transitioning soldiers into communities. The Soldier for Life program is best postured to champion this endeavor. This project provides a roadmap that logically advances Soldier for Life efforts towards an enduring and valued Army capability that instills soldier identity, builds trust, and compliments both the profession of arms and soldier transition.