FACE IN THE MIRROR: AN ETHICS CODE FOR THE ARMED FORCES

Historically the U.S. military has enjoyed the trust and respect of its citizenry at levels well above other U.S. institutions. And while that confidence is still high the trust has decreased significantly over the last decade. Reed Bonadonna is concerned that unless the military addresses an ethics problem it will only get worse. To remedy the issues he has observed, he proposes an explicit code of ethics for the Department of Defense that leaves little room for interpretation while supporting the values of the Constitution, human rights and decency.

WHICH WAR WOULD YOU CHOOSE?

The relationship between a nation and its military is an oft discussed topic in government buildings, professional military education (PME) classrooms, the media and ideally among the citizens of the nation. Hopefully the topic never fades from conversations because it is the basis of a healthy civ-mil relationship in the United States; one in which the military is subordinate to the elected civilian authority. WAR ROOM welcomes George Fust as he considers decisions made by the civilian leadership and the impact on the health of the military force and Americans’ appetite for future conflicts. George reminds the reader that obedience of the military is rooted in its trust of the Republic’s judgment.

WHAT NORMS ARE AT STAKE WITH A RETIRED GENERAL AS SECDEF?

The fourth offering in this brief series is this article by Marybeth P. Ulrich and Noah C. Fisher. They examine the erosion of norms that has occurred with the nomination and confirmation of retired Army General Lloyd Austin as the Secretary of Defense. Austin’s confirmation is the third time that a waiver for the “cooling off” period has been granted, but perhaps more importantly the second in four years. Ulrich and Fisher appraise what impact this waiver may have and remind us that “norms that are not enforced cease to be norms, having lost the shared understanding that underpin them.” 

EVERY SOLDIER HAS A PERSONAL STORY

A BETTER PEACE welcomes Ann Meredith to discuss her experience as a female officer in the U.S. Army. She joins WAR ROOM podcast editor Ron Granieri in the virtual studio to discuss what her career has looked like as a woman, a mother and a wife in the Military Police corps. Ann recounts long separations, supportive units, honest mentors and the biases and discriminations that many women must overcome in any branch of the military. 

THE ROLE OF RETIRED SENIOR OFFICERS

This third offering in this brief series is by Jeff Baker. In it he examines the role of the retired senior military leader, generals and admirals, in the political sphere. Their participation in politics, even out of uniform, has long been considered taboo. Perhaps it’s time to re-look the benefits of decades of training, education and experience possessed by these skilled and seasoned leaders.

PRAETORIAN PROPENSITIES

The second offering in this brief series is this article by Todd Schmidt. He claims that the terms “apolitical” and “non-partisan” are often confused and misused. The reality of an apolitical, non-partisan military does not exist. Since the creation of the country the military of the United States has been intensely political, and many senior military professionals have been crucial members of political society. And thoughtful actions must occur to ensure the healthy rebalance of civil-military relations.

MORAL LEADERSHIP IN COMPLEX STRATEGIC ENVIRONMENTS

AT ALL TIMES…LEADERS MUST ENDEAVOR TO DEMONSTRATE UNIMPEACHABLE INTEGRITY AND CHARACTER. We can—and should—expect leaders to make honest mistakes in the face of complex challenges, hardships, dilemmas, and difficult decisions. At all times, however, leaders must endeavor to demonstrate unimpeachable integrity and character. Leaders must be the moral and ethical compass for those they lead […]

WHAT MAKES A CIVILIAN?

But what might the process of civilianizing mean, and what are the results? What is being gained, and what is being lost? What, in short, distinguishes the civilian from the military? Currently, U.S. law requires that a former military officer must be retired from active duty for a minimum of seven years before she or […]

IT’S ONLY A PRE-WAR PERIOD IN HINDSIGHT

The Army prides itself on being able to learn, but it also has shown throughout history it also forgets pretty quick too. A BETTER PEACE welcomes Brian Linn and Conrad Crane to discuss the inter-war periods throughout U.S. history and what they’ve meant to the further development of the U.S. Army. WAR ROOM Senior Editor […]

A QUESTION OF PROFESSIONALISM (DUSTY SHELVES)

For today and tomorrow, I think it can remind us of one tool that’s been tried for some bootstrap professional development, and also make us think about how all officers need to balance deep domain knowledge and broader military knowledge. In 1921, Surgeon General Merritte Ireland needed to reorient his doctors.  He felt they were […]

MEDIA AND THE MILITARY: A MATTER OF PROFESSIONALISM (LOOKING AT YOU, #FOXNEWSIES)

As long as reporters abide by agreed-upon rules of operational security and attribution and make a good-faith effort to provide context and fact-checking regarding the news of the day, the military should continue to work with reporters. Both journalists and military officers envision themselves members of professions, guided by a particular set of values and […]