Book Review: Military Virtues

oday’s soldiers navigate complex ethical dilemmas. They face new threats and often carry unprecedented potential for destructive power. An unfortunate series of ethical failures in recent conflicts, by members of Western military forces has raised the need for improved military ethics training. As military commanders scramble to correct such failings, so too is the need to identify what moral resources are required for soldiers to choose; right over wrong, justice over injustice, virtue over non-virtuous.

Darren Cronshaw
3min

An Introduction to Moral Injury in Defence

The difference between an individual who returns from a deployment morally injured, and an individual who returns unharmed, may be defined by whether they can answer the following questions: ‘what do I really believe? Who am I? Where do I belong? What is my purpose?’. Can you answer those questions?

Unsurprisingly, ‘knowing thyself’ is not a standardised training package delivered by Defence. Should it be so the ADF can craft efficient personnel encapsulating the totality of fitness: physical, intellectual, moral/ethical, and spiritual?

Samuel J. Cox
6mins
Battle image

Scharnhorst and Professional Mastery


To me, being 'professional' has meant striving for excellence at my everyday job. Until I attended Command and Staff Course at the Australian War College last year, I did not appreciate that being good at my job was not the same as being a military professional. The course broadened my understanding; being a professional requires one to embrace continual learning in all aspects of the profession. I became conscious that through professional mastery, individuals, even those in junior roles, can influence organisational outcomes beyond their job.

SQNLDR Agam Sheldon
3mins

Defence materiel sales - an exploration of the ethical challenges

(Note: This paper is the opinion of the author and does not represent the views of Defence nor the Australian Army. I pose this paper to invoke discussion on the topic).


Research, development, manufacture and selling of military materiel, in particular systems that are designed to deliver kinetic effects and bring harm to others, has always been a contentious issue for members of the public of Western democratic nations - especially during long periods of perceived peace.

Anthony Watson
3mins
Analysis

The Commander’s call: Re-defining rules of engagement (ROE) during Counterinsurgency (COIN) operations

The author writes on the inherent contradiction that exists between the implementation of international humanitarian law and the military operations in the conflict environment. The case in study is about ongoing counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan and Syria, where the U.S troops along with their ISAF colleagues face a dual challenge fighting the insurgents while working within the framework of international humanitarian and domestic laws. The article discusses the necessity of involving the field commander's view while developing rules of engagement so that the operational imperatives aren't lost while guarding against collateral damage.

Anant Mishra
4 min

What is the Most Significant Ethical Challenge for the Application of Military Power in the Twenty First Century?

The purpose of this task was to encourage students to consider ethical themes throughout the package, engage in focussed debate with their syndicate group and synthesise their discussions into a concise, peer reviewed argument.

Compiled by LTCOL Rob Alsworth
15min
General Sir Peter Cosgrove, AK, MC addressing ADFA Trainees

ADFA Presentation 2019 – General Sir Peter Cosgrove, AK, MC

The Governor-General of Australia, General Sir Peter Cosgrove, AK, MC, addresses ADFA staff and trainees

Australian Defence Force Academy
53:06
Australian Defence members sitting in a theatre giving a presentation on the restructure of the Australian Defence College.

An Australian War College

Mick Ryan discusses the establishment of the new Australian War College in 2019.

COMADC Mick Ryan
3 min

Joint Professional Military Education (JPME)

The Australian Joint Professional Military Education Continuum is Australia’s system to develop mastery in the Profession of Arms and aims to cultivate an intellectual edge in warfighting. The Joint Professional Military Education Continuum comprises:

1 min

Links to Follow

Twitter feeds and podcasts to follow.

The Forge
1 min
Books on a bookshelf

Journals

Recommended publications.

The Forge
1 min

CDLE Ethics Paper 1 - 2016

Ethics and morality are often seen as esoteric concepts, and are often misunderstood. Just like good manners, everyone thinks that they have been correctly taught what is right or wrong, good or bad, but the reality is that most people do not have a framework for understanding the conceptual underpinning of why they hold these particular beliefs. In order to behave ethically and know the difference between ethical extremes one must be aware of the different perspectives of ethics.

Dr Guy Forsyth
2h