The U.S. Army is a brand name. Many factors help generate a brand, which builds itself around values, ideas and services. While there is no doubt that the U.S. Army and specific units meet the criteria for a brand, the question for command teams and their units is what the brand represents. How do other units, militaries, host nations and civilian communities see your team as a professional organization? How are command teams generating that perception?One of the challenges in Mission Command is ensuring that soldiers underneath any echelon of command understand their vision and purpose as part of a larger team. Army Doctrine Publication (ADP) 6-0 Mission Command highlights that military operations are “complex, human endeavors,” which the commander influences through principles of Mission Command. If everyone understood and acted out the commander’s intent, it is a safe assumption that ill-disciplined acts would occur less frequently and the unit’s effectiveness would be higher.The greater challenge is getting soldiers to commit to the commander’s intent by blending the art of command with the science of control. Although it sounds easy, command teams and units struggle with this. The solution is to implement the principles of Mission Command through mutual trust: creating shared understanding, providing clear intent, exercising disciplined initiative and accepting prudent risk.How Do You Get There?Great organizations and units have strong purposes and causes that they live for and breathe every day. In these units, soldiers develop shared understanding of the purpose and cause with mutual trust, intent and end state to motivate them. Four basic steps are required in creating those organizations and teams, which establish a brand for the unit.The first step is identifying what a unit must have in a soldier. The core foundations for every soldier are character (ethics), competence (ability) and commitment (determination and resilience). If a soldier possesses these attributes, everything else can ultimately be reinforced.Next, the commander must determine what soldiers cannot have. A professional unit cannot tolerate unethical decisions, misconduct or substandard performance of duty. Rarely would anyone say that a missing skill set is a cannot-have, since we can train those missing skill sets.The third step is determining the threshold, which is part of the art within Mission Command. A command team is not always going to get the must-have attributes in a soldier and will encounter the cannot-have attributes within their formation. The command team must determine how many cannot-have attributes they can tolerate and then, using the science of control, apply it as an art to each soldier and his or her unique situations. Tools such as counseling, bar to re-enlistment, administrative flags, administrative separation and the Uniform Code of Military Justice are all parts of the science of control that can shape a unit.Finally, the command team must put together the rest of the team through talent management. This includes creating a systems-based organization while simultaneously managing talent to influence leadership at all echelons. At the company, troop and battery levels, this requires professional soldiers and subject matter experts within orderly rooms, the Digital Training Management System, company intelligence-support teams and other special taskings such as Soldier Readiness Processing tracking and execution. The same concept is applicable at higher echelons within various staff sections.What Does Professional Mean to You?Webster’s Dictionary defines a profession as “a calling requiring specialized knowledge and often long and intensive academic preparation.” Webster’s further defines a professional as someone “characterized by or conforming to the technical and ethical standards of a profession.” In Army Doctrine Reference Publication 1 The Army Profession, the Army professional is defined as “a member of the Army Profession who meets the Army’s certification criteria of character, competence, and commitment.” The Center for the Army Profession and Ethic has focused specifically on this goal as we continue to develop soldiers to live by and uphold the Army Ethic within the Army culture, reinforcing trust within the Army profession and with the American people.As the command team builds their unit’s brand by establishing a culture and climate of trust with shared understanding and purpose, there is no greater statement for their soldiers to live up to than “I am an expert and I am a professional.” No other creed, no other statement, no other cliché is greater than “I am a professional.” A professional is everything that any other creed embraces. Although some may debate what a professional is, everyone knows when they see something that is not professional.The Army has given command teams tools to help them brand the reputation of their unit and ultimately the Army. They focus on the five essential characteristics for the Army profession: trust, honorable service, military expertise, stewardship and esprit de corps. Furthermore, the Army expects command teams to indoctrinate soldiers within the Army culture of trust through Mission Command so they can proudly say they are professionals. The Army’s leaders expect credible command teams to demonstrate character, competence and commitment to accomplish the mission and generate results as opposed to effort.There is no doubt that senior leaders reading this article agree with the philosophy of Mission Command and the Army profession. As is the case with many Mission Command issues, though, it is not enough for senior leaders to understand this complex issue. If it were that simple, there would be fewer drug offenses, alcohol offenses, sexual harassments, sexual assaults and other acts of ill discipline that occur within our ranks. Leaders need to ensure a shared understanding with junior officers and junior NCOs by inculcating the message and setting the example. Weekly safety briefs or forwarding emails are not enough. A sprinkling of mandatory training, resiliency weeks or safety stand-downs does not achieve shared understanding.Certainly, these all play a role in inculcating the message, but it takes more and must be personal to the soldier on the ground. It is personal when commanders sit down with junior leaders over breakfast, after physical training or at a scheduled event and discuss vignettes in small groups that allow junior leaders to discover the meaning of Mission Command and the Army profession. It is personal when we teach and mentor individual soldiers. It is even more personal when soldiers receive one-on-one time with leaders to reach understanding and achieve mutual trust in their chain of command. It does not matter what a senior leader thinks, believes or practices if we cannot get our soldiers to embrace the intent, commit to the mission, and live by and uphold the Army Ethic.Mentality is infectious, and it starts with command teams understanding how Army Doctrine Reference Publication (ADRP) 1 The Army Profession is integrated within Mission Command on a daily basis. Ask yourself, “What does your brand represent?” Are the team leaders and soldiers pursuing the same thing? How are we using Mission Command to reach team leaders and soldiers? The tools—ADP 6-0, ADRP 1 and the Center for the Army Profession and Ethic—are out there. The issues of sexual assault, hazing, unethical behavior and ill discipline can be fixed if our leaders understand and integrate these toolboxes. If done correctly, the implementation of these tools and the art of Mission Command will continue to define our brand in a positive light and continue to reinforce trust within our profession and with the American people.