This publication defines the ADF’s approach to military ethics. It provides the basis for understanding ethics and is the foundation document for the ADF Ethics Continuum. The ADF Ethics Continuum incorporates ethical capabilities; individual education and training; continuous professional development resources, and ethical learning for groups; collective training; and large-scale activities. While authoritative, this doctrine requires judgement in application.


This publication is intended to be a guide for professional development across all ranks. It informs trainers and educators who develop learning and practical activities for ethical development. It seeks to develop ethical understanding and promote ethical behaviours throughout the ADF.

The publication should also inform Australian Public Service (APS) personnel about the nature of military ethics. As APS personnel play an essential role in the development of policy advice to Government about ADF operations, those personnel should refer to ADF-P-0 Military Ethics where appropriate.


This publication is a distillation of ethical concepts and their application and relevance to the ADF. It draws input from several ethical theories, and from these establishes the ADF’s approach to military ethics.

This publication should be used as a reference and as a start point to encourage further study and discussion.


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Developed and written by the Australian Defence Force.

Welcome Information






Chapter 1 - The Australian profession of arms


Chapter 2 - The ADF's legal and ethical responsibilities for the use of force


Chapter 3 - Ethical theory


Chapter 4 - Ethics in war


Chapter 5 - ADF military ethics


Chapter 6 - Ethical risks