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Last Updated: Wed Feb 12 06:09:35 UTC 2014

Military Ethics, Culture, Education and Training

The human dimension is a critical component of any military force, upon which everything else is predicated. The great air campaigns of the Second World War, and Cold War era, all hinged upon the performance of individuals and organisations. Depicted 9th Air Force B-24Ds during Operation Tidal Wave, the daring long range strike at Ploesti in August, 1943, which cost the lives of more than 400 aircrew (U.S. Air Force).

Integrity Matters!

The subjects of professional military ethics, culture, education and training have in recent years elicited considerable interest, especially in numerous instances where breakdowns have occured. By their very nature, military organisations are especially vulnerable when the professional culture and ethics have been compromised or indeed damaged, a reality recognised for as long as scholars of matters military have recorded the collective wisdom and experience of the military profession.

This webpage will post a selection of relevant articles, submissions and papers, and hosts the Air Power Australia
Essays on Military Ethics and Culture series.

My challenge to you is simple but often very difficult…wear your armor of integrity…take full measure of its weight…find comfort in its protection…do not become lax. And always, always, remember that no one can take your integrity from you…you and only you can give it away!

Online Journal: Air Power Australia Essays on Military Ethics and Culture ISSN 2201-9502

Military Ethics Topics

Alexander Moseley et al
Encyclopedia of Military Ethics
Rielle Miller
Ethics Resource Center
Mar 2005
Moral Courage: Definition and Development
James H. Toner
Air Chronicles Jun 2003
Military OR Ethics
Edward. J. Bushell and Dr Carlo Kopp Air Power Australia Vol. V APA-2008-10
Rebuilding the Warrior Ethos
Edward. J. Bushell Air Power Australia Vol. V APA-2008-01 Is This the Future for
Australia's Military Capabilities?

Martin L. Cook
US Army War College
Jan 2001
Moral Reasoning as a Strategic Leader Competency
Ethics Resource Center Ethics Resource Center 2011
Retaliation: When Whistleblowers Become Victims
Ethics Resource Center Ethics Resource Center 2011 Building a Corporate Reputation of Integrity
Oak H. DeBerg
2012 ISME
Jan 2012
The Philosophical Demands of the Military’s Social Relationships
The Public Relations Society of America
Ethical Guidance for Public Relations Practitioners
Jeffrey Gingras and Tomislav Ruby
Air Command and Staff College, Air University, Maxwell AFB
Apr 2000
Morality in Modern Aerial Warfare
Ronald J. Scott, Jr.
Air Chronicles Apr 2002
Ethical  Decision-Making:
The Link Between Ambiguity and Accountability

Scott B. Sonnenberg
Air University Review
Jul-Aug 1985
A Philosophical Conflict: A Fighter Pilot's Views on The Ethics of Warfare
Clark C. Barrett
Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College Sep 2012
Finding "The Right Way": Toward an Army Institutional Ethic

Military Culture, Organisation and Breakdown Topics

Jörg Muth
The Bridge; Policy, Strategy, and National Security
Feb 2014
A Crisis in Command and the Roots of the Problem
Williamson Murray
Does Military Culture Matter?
John Hillen
FPRI 1999
Must U.S. Military Culture Reform?
Peter A. Goon Air Power Australia Vol. II APA-2005-01
The Root Cause of What Ails Defence Today
Edward. J. Bushell Air Power Australia Vol. VII APA-2010-03
The Widespread Consequences of Outsourcing
Edward. J. Bushell Air Power Australia Vol. VIII APA-2011-04
Australia's Failing Defence Structure and Management Methodology
Anthony Carr
John Q. Public Blog
Mar 2013
Last Wishes of a Dying General
Emma Watts-Plumpkin Military History Monthly 09/12/2011 The Anatomy of Military Incompetence
George R. Mastroianni
U.S. Army War College
Occupations, Cultures,
and Leadership
in the Army and Air Force

Charles C. Krulak
Drexel University
Oct 2005
The Fourteen Basic Traits of Effective Leadership
Carlo Kopp Monash University
A Primer on Leadership Technique

Education, Training and Deskilling Topics

Carlo Kopp Defence Today Sep 2009 Lifelong learning in the Information Age [PDF]
Carlo Kopp Defence Today Jun 2009 Fixing the national skills shortage [PDF]
Carlo Kopp Defence Today Mar 2008 Industry Capabilities in Software and Systems Integration [PDF]
Kevin B. Korb et al
Monash University
A Statement on Higher Education Policy in Australia
Donald Meyers
June 2012
Australian Universities: A Portrait of Decline
Edward. J. Bushell and Carlo Kopp
Air Power Australia Vol. V APA-2008-06
The RAAF's Professional Mastery Problem: Symptoms, Causes and Measures to Reskill the RAAF
Edward. J. Bushell Air Power Australia Vol. VI APA-2009-03
The Decay Of Critical Military Thinking And Writing

Psychology Topics

What is Groupthink? [Incl Bibliography]
Robert Hill
Hill Consulting
Eight Main Symptoms of Group Think
Paul 't Hart
Political Psychology Vol.12, No.2, 1991
Irving L. Janis' Victims of Groupthink
Joyce Ehrlinger et al
Organ Behav Hum Decis Process.
01/01/2008, 105(1)
Why the Unskilled Are Unaware: Further Explorations of (Absent) Self-Insight Among the Incompetent
Justin Kruger and David Dunning
J Pers Soc Psychol. 1999 Dec; 77(6) Unskilled and unaware of it: how difficulties in recognizing one's own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments (abs).
David Dunning et al Current Directions in Psychological Science
2003 vol. 12 no. 3
Why People Fail to Recognize Their Own Incompetence
Daniel R. Hawes
Psychology Today
When Ignorance Begets Confidence: The Classic Dunning-Kruger Effect
Norman F. Dixon
Random House
On the psychology of military incompetence (E-Book)
David A. Grossman
Hachette Books
On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society
Stanley Milgram
Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology
Vol.67,No.4, 1963 Behavioural Study of Obedience
Gregorio Encina
Milgram’s Experiment on Obedience to Authority
Thomas Blass
Psychology Today 01/01/2002
The Man Who Shocked The World
Philip G. Zimbardo
Stanford Prison Experiment Website
Reading Topics

Military personnel are subjected to pressures unlike those any other profession is exposed to. This requires unique attention to the professional culture and the ethical qualities of such personnel, as failures in combat can yield catastrophic results. Depicted is the crew of B-52F S/N 57-0170 of the SAC 3960th Strategic Wing returning to Andersen AFB on Guam, from an Arc Light sortie over Vietnam (U.S. Air Force).

Military Classics

Sun Tzu
Project Gutenberg 512 B.C.
The Art of War
Flavius Vegetius Renatus
Digital Attic
390 A.D.
De Re Militari
Niccolo Machiavelli
The University of Adelaide Library
1520 A.D.
The Seven Books on the Art of

General Carl von Clausewitz
Project Gutenberg
1874 A.D.
On War (Vom Kriege)
Giulio Douhet
AF History Support Office
The Command of the Air
John R. Boyd
Air Power Australia
Nov 2009
Briefings - Colonel John R. Boyd, USAF

The fall of the Singapore garrison in 1942 represents a globally accepted case study of the consequences of military incompetence (Image AWM 135867).

The tragic accidents involving Sitka-43 (above) and Czar-52 (below) are generally attributed to a breakdown in flight discipline and poor airmanship by command pilots Maj Michael Freyholtz and LtCol Arthur Holland, respectively. The root cause of both accidents was a series of breakdowns in professional ethics and safety culture in the respective units, the result of which was that both pilots were allowed to continue unsafe flight practices (U.S. Air Force images).

Integrity…it is a combination of the words, "integritas" (in-teg- ri-tas) and "integer" (in-te-ger). It refers to the putting on of armor, of building a completeness…a wholeness…a wholeness in character. How appropriate that the word integrity is a derivative of two words describing the character of a member of the profession of arms. The military has a tradition of producing great leaders that possess the highest ethical standards and integrity. It produces men and women of character…character that allows them to deal ethically with the challenges of today and to make conscious decisions about how they will approach tomorrow. However, as I mentioned earlier, this is not done instantly. It requires that integrity becomes a way of life…it must be woven into the very fabric of our soul. Just as was true in the days of imperial Rome, you either walk in your integrity daily, or you take off the armor of the "integer" (in-te-ger) and leave your heart and soul exposed…open to attack.
I say that the professional soldier should never pull his punches, should never let himself for one moment be dissuaded from stating the honest estimates his own military experience and judgments tell him will be needed to do the job required of him. No factor of political motivation or political expediency could explain such an action.

Gen. Matthew Ridgway,
Soldier: The Memoirs of Matthew B. Ridgway, 1956.

A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world.
Albert Camus

B-52H aircrew (U.S. Air Force).

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