Author(s)Hartle, Anthony E.
Contributor(s)MILITARY ACADEMY WEST POINT NY
KeywordsSociology and Law
Humanities and History
Military Forces and Organizations
MILITARY FORCES(UNITED STATES)
*PROFESSIONAL MILITARY ETHIC
PROFESSIONAL CODE OF ETHICS
CODES OF HONOR
MILITARY CODE OF ETHICS
LAWS OF WAR
Full recordShow full item record
AbstractNational military forces throughout the world today are involved in combating terrorist activity, if only in terms of preparation. Capable organizations formulate and debate at length appropriate tactics and methods that will be effective in reducing the terrorist threat or in countering terrorist actions. As various headquarters and agencies examine the problem, a troubling issue arises for many. They must consider not only what they can do but also what they ought to do. Some measures that might be highly effective will also be highly questionable from a legal or moral point of view. Inherent in most discussions are moral issues that are at least partly determined by the codes of conduct that govern the military forces involved. In particular, the range of permissible actions by American military forces is unquestionably limited by the uncodified professional military ethic that governs its members. The moral complexity of counterterrorist and other likely operational commitments of US forces provides sufficient reason to suggest that a formally codified ethic should once again be considered. In this discussion, I am primarily concerned with revealing the moral structure within which such an ethic would be developed. In the United States today, both within the American military and among those considering and criticizing national policy, we find extensive debate concerning counterterrorist measures. In this context, I want to consider the implications of the professional military ethic for the debate about the moral acceptability of various counterterrorist tactics and techniques. I maintain that specific principles that provide the foundation for the American military ethic also place limits on what U.S. military organizations can do in fulfilling their responsibilities to defend the nation.
Published in Parameters: U.S. Army War College Quarterly, v17 p68-75, Summer 1987.
Copyright/LicenseApproved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Parameters. US Army War College Quarterly. Volume 25. Number 1. Spring 1995,ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA; Madigan, John J., III (1995)This periodical is the quarterly journal of the U.S. Army War College. Partial Contents of the Spring 1995 issue include: Dealing Realistically with Fratricide; Challenges of Ethnic Strife and Humanitarian Relief; Ethnic Conflict- The Perils of Military Intervention; New Global Communities: Nongovernmental Organizations in International Decision making Institutions; Threat Parameters to Operations Other Than War; The International Humanitarian Response System; Does China Threaten Asia-Pacific Stability?; MacArthur, Stilwell, and Special Operations in the War Against Japan. Includes Book Reviews. Parameters is a journal of ideas and issues, providing a forum for the expression of mature professional thought on the art and science of land warfare, joint and combined matters, national and international security affairs, military strategy, military leadership and management, military history, military ethics, and other topics of significant and current interest to the US Army and the Department of Defense. It serves as a vehicle for continuing the education, and thus the professional development, of War College graduates and other military officers and civilians concerned with military affairs.
Professional Military Ethics and the Laws of War: More Important Now than Ever BeforeNAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT; Harrison, Frank (2006-10-23)This essay focuses on one of the intangible elements of the art of operational leadership -- enhancing one's sense of military ethics and knowledge of the laws of war to arrive at a decision. In war, professional military ethics are inextricably woven into the fabric of the decision-making process and, along with other critical elements like desired end state and the laws of war, make up an essential part of a final decision. This essay describes the link between decision-making, ethics, and knowledge of the laws of war. This link is historically based, proven over time, and continues today. Furthermore, understanding it can be a great enabler in making sound decisions and justifying them to national and international audiences. The services should provide the necessary time and effort to ensure their senior officers are educated accordingly, regardless of the cost in time, admittedly a very scarce resource to the flag or general officer. In today's conflicts, the types of ethical issues that the operational commander, or any flag officer, will encounter are graduate level in their complexity. They require careful thought and study. When the time comes to make a decision of enormous consequence, there may not be time to look up terms like noncombatant immunity, double effect requirements, and necessity.