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West Point removes ‘Duty, Honor, Country’ from mission statement

The U.S. Military Academy at West Point. (DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Sean K. Harp)
March 13, 2024

U.S. Military Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Steven Gilland announced a major change in West Point’s mission statement Tuesday with the removal of the academy’s motto, “Duty, Honor, Country.”

In a West Point press release, Gilland revealed the academy’s new mission statement is, “To build, educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets to be commissioned leaders of character committed to the Army Values and ready for a lifetime of service to the Army and Nation.”

Prior to the change, the U.S. Military Academy’s mission statement read, “To educate, train and inspire 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.”

According to Newsmax, the phrase “Duty, Honor, Country” was emphasized in a speech by Gen. Douglas MacArthur in 1962. After appearing in West Point’s mission statement for over two decades, “Duty, Honor, Country” will now be replaced by the words “Army Values.”

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In Tuesday’s press release, Gilland claimed that the U.S. Military Academy’s “responsibility to produce leaders” to win wars requires a periodic self-assessment.

“Thus, over the past year and a half, working with leaders from across West Point and external stakeholders, we reviewed our vision, mission, and strategy to serve this purpose,” Gilland said.

According to Gilland, West Point’s new mission statement “binds the Academy to the Army.” He noted that both Army Chief of Staff Randy George and Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth approved the academy’s mission statement change.

In defense of the change, Gilland explained that the U.S. Military Academy’s mission statement has been changed a total of nine times and that “Duty, Honor, Country” was only incorporated into the mission statement in 1998.

Explaining the decision to replace “Duty, Honor, Country” with “Army Values” in the mission statement, Gilland said the motto is “reflected in Loyalty, bearing true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit, and other Soldiers.”

Despite the change in West Point’s mission statement, Gilland emphasized that “Duty, Honor, Country is foundational” to the U.S. Military Academy and will always be the academy’s motto.

“It defines who we are as an institution and as graduates of West Point,” Gilland said. “These three hallowed words are the hallmark of the cadet experience and bind the Long Gray Line together across our great history.”