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Military Professional Ethics


The power of decision develops only from practice. There is nothing mystic ... Abu Ghraib and Military Ethics. Prisoners in US Custody were severely mistreated ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Military Professional Ethics

Military Professional Ethics Decision Making
Leadership and Decisions
  • The power of decision develops only from
    practice. There is nothing mystic about it. It
    comes of a clear-eyed willingness to accept
    lifes risk, recognizing that only the enfeebled
    are comforted by thoughts of an existence devoid
    of struggle.
  • BG S. L. A. Marshall

What is Ethics?
  • Ethics refers to the principles or rules of good
    conduct based on our beliefs of what is right or
    wrong, good or bad.

How Do We Know What Is Right?
  • Intuition, Self Evident
  • Standards of Excellence (Virtues)
  • Greatest Good for Greatest Number
  • Duty to Others
  • Care for Others
  • Professional Standards
  • Law of Land Warfare
  • Army Values Warrior Ethos
  • Oaths

Ethical Conduct is Critical
  • We represent the military profession
  • People look at our behavior
  • What we do affects many others
  • Power brings responsibility
  • Military leaders serve as role models

Common Ethical Concepts
  • Means ways we seek to achieve our goals
  • Ends goals of our actions
  • Culture patterns and traits of group action
  • Conscience internal judgments of right and
  • Character patterns and traits of individual
  • Conduct actual behavior what is said and done

Common Ethical Concepts
  • Consequences the end result of our conduct
  • Intentions the desired end of what we do
  • Justice the quality of being right, fair, or
  • Morals individual social beliefs about
  • Rights privileges guaranteed to individuals
  • Responsibilities duties to the common good

Two Types of Ethical Issues
  • Micro ethics is the consideration of day-to-day
    expressions of character and conduct.
  • Macro ethics is the consideration of long-term,
    far-reaching social consequences of character and

Primary Ethical Tensions
  • Conflicts of Interest
  • Individual vs. Collective Good
  • Conflicts of Values
  • Forced choice between two different values
  • Fair Treatment
  • Favoritism, Double Standards, Discrimination
  • Distribution of Goods or Wealth
  • Safety and Bodily Harm

Ethical Decision Making Process
  • Identify the Ethical Problem
  • Identify the Key Issues
  • Generate Alternatives
  • Analyze Alternatives
  • Compare Alternatives
  • Make and Execute a Decision
  • Assess the Results

Identify the Ethical Problem
  • Conflict of Interest?
  • Conflict of Values?
  • Fair treatment?
  • Distribution of wealth?
  • Safety or bodily harm?
  • Rights or responsibilities?

Identify the Key Issues
  • What is the potential good or evil?
  • What conflicting values are involved?
  • What are your personal motives?
  • What are the long-term consequences?
  • What benefits or harms are associated?

Generate Alternatives
  • Gather information from other sources
  • Consider different points of view
  • Evaluate cross-cultural factors
  • Consult with trusted colleagues
  • Recall historical experiences

Analyze Alternatives
  • Create the greatest good
  • Align with your mission
  • Align with Army values
  • Consider long-term consequences
  • Maintain a clear conscience
  • Honor your character and reputation

Compare Alternatives
  • What is the greatest good?
  • What action best supports your mission?
  • What conduct most reflects Army values?
  • What creates best long-term consequences?
  • What allows your conscience to be clear?
  • What most honors your reputation?

Make and Execute a Decision
  • Often there is no perfect action
  • Lesser of two evils
  • Greater of two goods
  • No decision is a decision
  • Accept your responsibility

Assess the Results
  • Ethical Examine character building
  • Financial Evaluate economic impacts
  • Operational Measure effects on quality
  • Relational Consider cohesiveness
  • Cultural Evaluate social contributions
  • Educational Reflect on learning

Abu Ghraib and Military Ethics
  • Prisoners in US Custody were severely mistreated
  • How has this affected the reputation of the
    military profession of arms?

Army Ethical StandardsBLUF
  • Live the Army Values (LDRSHIP)
  • Empathy
  • Model the Warrior Ethos
  • Follow the Soldiers Creed
  • Honor Your Oath as an Officer

Building Ethical Character
  • How do you build physical strength and stamina?
  • How do you develop mental capacity and sharpness?
  • Build ethical character the same way
  • Conscious and diligent effort

Ethical Scenario Questions
  • What would you do in this situation?
  • How would you defend your decision?
  • What do you think the reaction of your squad
    members might be?
  • What kind of courage would this require?

Captured Platoon Sergeant
  • Torn between two good missions
  • Good of the individual Soldier vs. the Army
  • Warrior ethos Mission first vs. fallen comrade
  • Army values Personal Courage
  • Army values Loyalty and Duty Tensions

Civilian Vendors
  • Good to help people who are in need
  • Good to protect yourself from possible threat
  • Good to reduce hostility of the local population
  • Important to know the local culture and customs
  • Army values Personal Courage
  • Army values Selfless Service

  • Ethical decisions can be difficult
  • Ethical decisions are not always clear
  • Cultural moral standards make ethical conduct
    difficult to determine
  • Sometimes you must choose between the lesser of
    two evils or greater of two goods
  • There are often tensions between what is best for
    one individual and what is best for the group
  • Ethical decisions require diligent effort and