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.
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.
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?
The Thinking Combat Brigade: A Dominant and Prestigious Force
Our command teams are charged with constant decision making, on which hinges the success and failure – the life or death – of battles, operations and campaigns. What if the frames of reference we all possess, imposed on us from our similar training, experiences, and culture, could be hindering our ability to make the best decisions? What if we are not as smart as we think we are?
A Cadet's Introduction to Science Fiction
‘The minute I was bored with a book or a subject I moved to another one, instead of giving up on reading altogether… The trick is to be bored with a specific book, rather than with the act of reading.’ – Nassim Nicholas Taleb
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.
Product innovation success in the ADF – an exploratory study
It is possible for Australian defence companies and the Australian Defence Organisation to achieve greater success and better mitigate the financial, technical and schedule risks in developing new, technology-based equipment and services for the ADF.
The research leading to this conclusion was based on case studies of 20 successful and unsuccessful Australian defence projects, and addressed three key questions:
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.
Air Force launches The Runway
The Runway, Air Force’s new professional development platform designed to foster a broad community of learning was launched on 31 Oct 19 by Commander Air Force Training Group, Air Commodore Glen Braz.
Air Force, Australian Defence Organisation and other government agency personnel are invited to engage with the curated content and take the opportunity to participate in a whole-of-government discussion around the key topics affecting the delivery of air and space power for Australia’s future.
Are we ready for machines to learn and make decisions for us?
LTCOL Jasmin Diab uses the example of her recent work in supporting the International Atomic Energy Agency to ask us to consider the future of machine learning and its ability to support military decision making.
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.
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.