The Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethic

The Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethic

The William E. Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethic (SCPME) serves as the proponent for the Character Program which helps Cadets understand what it means to be a commissioned leader of character who achieves the West Point Leader Development System's outcomes of living honorably and leading honorably. This includes the following enduring priorities:

crest logo

"A Cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do."

- The Cadet Honor Code

Stewardship Of The Honor Code

The Cadet Honor Code is the foundation for developing leaders of character at West Point, guiding Cadets’ behaviors every hour of every day from Reception Day through Graduation. 

The Honor Code is an ever-present condition designed to mold Cadets into officers who are genuinely trustworthy and categorically trusted. All Cadets are the primary stewards of the Code; however, everyone in the West Point community has a stewardship responsibility. 

crest logo

"Cadets will treat others and themselves with dignity and worth and expect the same from those around them."

- The Respect Creed

Cadet Character Education Program

The Cadet Character Education Program (CCEP) equips Cadets with knowledge that helps them make sense of their life experiences in ways that lead to character growth. The subject matter of CCEP includes the Cadet Honor Code, the Honor System, the West Point Values, the Army Values, and personal virtues essential to Army Professionals.  

The CCEP places specific emphasis on the Army value of Respect, especially as it relates to eliminating attitudes and behaviors that contribute to trust-shattering misconduct such as sexual harassment, sexual assault, and unjust discrimination.

crest logo

"At West Point, Cadets receive a world-class education and robust training to prepare them to serve as Army officers. I believe every Cadet majors in character and leadership."

- Lt. Gen. Steven W. Gilland, 61st Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy
https://www.youtube.com/embed/B7xb1e6fZzY?si=jGIKdLj962KPvC00

The Study of Officership

The culminating experience of the Character Program is the Superintendent’s capstone course, MX400: Officership. 

With its emphasis on each officer’s duty to provide moral leadership, MX400 challenges Cadets to strive to become commissioned leaders of character who are always “good example[s] of virtue, honor, patriotism, and subordination.” 

In MX400, Cadets look backward and forward: reflecting on their own character-development experiences as Cadets while also studying the enduring and emerging ethical challenges of the profession they are about to enter. MX400 empowers Cadets to understand and embrace their ongoing development as leaders of character and their emerging identities as Army officers. 

Character Development by Year

During summer Leader Training Programs, Cadet cadre for CBT, CST, and CLDT reflect on observations and lessons learned of previous details. They then have discussions to gain shared understanding and to affirm their commitment to living honorably and leading honorably in their detail. 

During Cadet Basic Training, Plebes will:

  • Receive an introduction to and initial instruction on the Cadet Honor Code and Honor System
  • Explore scenarios and squad-level discussions on adhering to all tenets of the Cadet Honor Code
  • Learn the Army Values & West Point’s values of Duty, Honor, Country
  • Hold squad-level, scenario-based discussions on the USMA Respect Creed & West Point’s standards of conduct on equality, non-discrimination, and inclusion.
  • Engage in exercises to develop empathy followed by squad-level discussions on preventing and responding to sexual harassment and sexual assault. 

The Character Program builds on Plebes' CBT experience during the Academic Year through the following lessons and activities:

  • Living Honorably in everyday Cadet life 
  • Intro to the Honor System 
  • Policies and expectations regarding fraternization, sexual harassment, and sexual assault
  • Reconciling the Honor Code and the Army Value of Loyalty
  • Character Development lecture       
  • Character Development discussion 

The Character Program builds on Yearlings' CFT experience during the Academic Year through the following lessons and activities:

  • The Cadet Honor System & Cadet Honor Committee
  • Army Values, law, and responsible alcohol use    
  • The State of the Code (& Company Honor-Rep Elections)
  • Character Development lecture
  • Character Development discussion
  • Living with Integrity and Moral Courage
  • Inspiration to Serve Cemetery Tour (Selfless Service) 

The Character Program builds on Cows' CST experience during the Academic Year through the following lessons and activities:

  • Honor, the Army Profession, & the Non-toleration Clause
  • Personal testimony of a victim of sexual assault and toleration
  • Leader Challenge (sexual harassment)
  • Leader Challenge (cheating on a weapon qualification range)
  • The State of the Code: A discussion on stewardship (& elections)
  • Character Development lecture
  • Character Development discussion  

The Character Program reaches its peak  in the Firsties' Academic Year through the following lessons and activities:

  • Capstone Course: MX400
  • Personal testimony of an officer who led honorably
  • Preventing and Addressing SH/SA in the Army
  • Leader Challenge (sexual harassment)
  • Leader Challenge (cheating on a weapon qualification range)
  • Recent-grad panel on living/leading honorably in the Army
  • Character Development lecture
  • Character Development discussion 

SCPME Events

https://www.youtube.com/embed/QH6DD0Nirqs

Inspiration to Serve

TAC Teams lead their 3rd Class Cadets through the West Point Cemetery to hear from graveside speakers who provide personalized stories of recent West Point graduates who died during training or who were killed in action in support and defense of the Constitution. At designated reflection sites in the cemetery, TAC Teams then lead a discussion on the inherent risks and sacrifices of the profession of arms. This formative experience is designed to honor our fallen graduates, connect cadets to the Long Gray Line, and inspire  3rd Class Cadets’ decision to affirm and enter the profession.

Mission Command Conference

The Mission Command Conference, held each spring, supports MX400 and the greater Character Development Program. The conference presents first-class cadets with real-world challenges from NCO and junior officer perspectives to reinforce the importance of character and leading through mission command. 

Class of 1970 National Conference on Ethics in America

Designed to created a forum for service academy cadets, midshipmen, college ROTC, and civilian students to discuss the ethical challenges of applying practical judgment across professional industries and lines of service. Featuring a combination of small group discussions, guest speakers, panels, group work, and social events, this event will develop participants' moral judgment to enable acts of moral courage within their professions.

SCPME Leadership

The William E. Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethic (SCPME) serves as the proponent for the Character Program which helps Cadets understand what it means to be a commissioned leader of character who achieves the West Point Leader Development System's outcomes of living honorably and leading honorably.

Join the Team!

If you believe you would enjoy the challenge of educating, training, and inspiring the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the Nation as an officer in the United States Army, then please reach out to our personnel officer and initiate an application.