A Value-Based Hierarchy of Objectives for Military Decision-Making
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSONAFB OH SCHOOL OF SYSTEMS AND LOGISTICS
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This study develops a rational model for the incorporation of ethical values into military decision-making. The values considered include obedience to superiors, professional competence, and elements of just war theory such as proportionality and discrimination. A review of the relevant literature on just war theory and professional military ethics points to the science of multiattribute utility analysis as a means of representing the complex value tradeoffs essential to military decisions. The values and tradeoffs identified are interpreted in a hierarchy of objectives model which is used to evaluate value preferences between decision alternatives. With the hierarchy constructed, tradeoffs between values such as preservation of life and preservation of just social order are explained graphically in terms of indifference curves and utility functions. The effect of organizational roles on the evaluation of tradeoffs is also explored in the context of the model. The relevance of the hierarchy is examined by applying it to a historical decision concerning the strategic bombing of Schweinfurt in World War II. This model is useful as an aid to the understanding of ethical dilemmas, and with little further development could be integrated into a decision support system to aid in ethical decision- making.
- Sociology and Law