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

Let the War Games Begin!

Let the War (Games) Begin!'

Two gaming enthusiasts roll the dice at the Australian Command and Staff College to demonstrate how wargames can be a creative engagement and learning tool that enhances the learning experience.

Phil Baldoni and Mark Mankowski
22min

Australia’s Military Strategic Challenges – Close to Home

The 16 September 2021 announcement of an enhanced trilateral security partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States (AUKUS) confirmed beyond any remaining doubt that the Australian Government considers its strategic environment to have permanently changed. The 2020 Defence Strategic Update presaged the announcement by highlighting a number of developments which had swiftly altered the strategic landscape of the Indo-Pacific region since the publication of Australia’s 2016 Defence White Paper.

Chris Watson
40min

The Art of Pacifism in the Conduct of War

For some, pacifism is a dirty word, shorthand for an unwillingness to fight on behalf of your country. However, pacifism is not just about being anti-war or anti-fighting. It is also about how not to get into a war. It is this latter meaning of pacifism that I draw on in this essay to discuss ethical issues in security strategy, not to undermine the willingness to fight but to consider the pragmatic tools that pacifism provides to prevent the need to fight. I am an amateur boxer, so I understand the inclination to fight and the desire to confront an adversary with force.

Dr Richard Davis
15min

Three words that conjure dangerous oversimplification

The Defence Strategic Update of 2020 provided three words that neatly encapsulate Government’s strategic objectives. The words also capture the raison d'etre of the Australian Defence Force and the tasks it is likely to execute in a period of ‘the most consequential strategic realignment since the Second World War’.[1]

Simon Hunter
8min

How Australia’s ethical failures with Timor-Leste should inform a future shaping strategy for the Indo-Pacific

Australian military planners are grappling with a grey-zone Chinese shaping strategy that threatens to disrupt[1] ‘stability, security and sovereignty’[2] in the Indo-Pacific. China’s strategy utilises a whole-of-government approach to influence competitors and potential partners through all means short of war.

Daniel-Thomson
34min

Defining ‘Right’: What are the ADF’s Ethics?

Overture

Andrew Stokes
30min
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Intellectual Edges: Relating to the Radical

This article explores the unfolding conversation on ‘intellectual edges’ to advance a radical proposition to unpick and gently challenge the thinking established on the topic. The ‘intellectual edge’ is explored in an alternative way, with the aim to open-up new possibilities that have otherwise been missed in the rush to give a type of functionality to the idea.

Matthew Gill
5mins
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Do we have permission for an Intellectual Edge?

This article explores how hierarchical interpersonal permissions generally inhibit tangible innovation within the ADF. This argument is explored through the forced changes due to the COVID-19 situation, and contends that risk-averse leaders usually withhold permission for reform due to a fear of failure. The article concludes that a JPME continuum that seeks to provide an individual Intellectual Edge must also deliver an institutional learning culture that develops risk tolerance and the acceptance of error so that an organisational intellectual edge is pursued in parallel.

Andrew Garnett
6mins

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
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Kill them with kindness - Emotional intelligence as a leadership enabler

One of the most important success factors for any military organisation is the ability to identify and select effective leaders. The purpose of this article is to discuss the role that emotional intelligence can play as a leadership enabler for officers and recommend how it can be incorporated into the officer training continuum. The article provides an overview of the current training curriculum and highlights the advantages of developing emotional intelligence from the ab-initio training level to application in real time situations.

Liz Daly
8min
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Synchronising Counterinsurgency Ops with Effective Intelligence

All combat operations need real-time, concrete intelligence, but the counterinsurgency operations’ (COINOPS) margin of error runs thinnest. In their fast, multidimensional context, COINOPS demand more comprehensive intelligence at platoon/company levels than conventional warfare does. This article explores the need for tactical unit leaders fighting insurgencies to have more intelligence assets available in the field in order to offer swift analyses to aid decision making in highly fluid environments.

Anant Mishra
6mins