The Australian Defence Force – Philosophical – 0 (ADF-P-0) Military Ethics doctrine is a consolidation of the key tenets of ethics, and more particularly military ethics, as understood and applied by the Australian Defence Force (ADF).  The Doctrine provides a foundation for understanding ethics and a guide for ethical training and development across the ADF.  Like all Doctrine, however, judgement is required in its application.

To appreciate Military ethics from an Australian perspective it is essential that a sound understanding of the following is achieved:

  • The Australian Profession of Arms
  • The Australian Defence Force’s legal and ethical responsibilities for the use of force
  • Ethical Theory
  • Ethics in War
  • The Australian Defence Force military ethics
  • Ethical Risks
two soldiers standing by a wall

The Australian Profession of Arms

The ADF uses the ethical, disciplined application of force to achieve the national interest.


The Australian Defence Force’s Legal and Ethical Responsibilities for the Use of Force

In Australia, the National Security Committee of Cabinet (NSC) acts as the legal and ethical authority for the deployment of the ADF.

a soldier armed with a machine gun

Ethical Theory

The ethical theories that provide the basis for the ADF’s approach to ethics

A soldier attending a military drone

Ethics in War

The ethical principles define how ADF members conduct themselves in war.

soldiers resting during a training

The Australian Defence Force Military Ethics

The ADF Ethical Decision-making Framework asks all ADF members to think through four questions when faced with ethical decisions.

a man thinking

Ethical Risks

Some of the more significant ethical risks to ADF members in performing ethically include: abuse of power, normalisation of deviance, the damaging effects of war, moral drift and disengagement
and ethical relativism