Accession Number:

ADA463473

Title:

The Joint Force Commander's Ethical Challenges for the 21st Century

Descriptive Note:

Research paper

Corporate Author:

NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT

Report Date:

2006-05-16

Pagination or Media Count:

23.0

Abstract:

The continued development of precision guided munitions and remote targeting technologies, and the US militarys incorporation of effects-based operations, will present ethical challenges to the joint force commander JFC as the 21st century progresses. These technologies are intended to provide the JFC with an unprecedented ability to prosecute targets while at the same time purporting to minimize collateral damage, but have the unintended consequence of blurring the distinction between combatants and noncombatants. This paper does not propose that the US military is explicitly negligent in following the Law of Armed Conflict much less the Just War Tradition JWT rather, the paper argues that there is the real potential for divergence between the ethics of JWT and the joint forces capabilities. It is vital that the US military not lose its ethical bearings when conducting war since the lives of innocent noncombatants are at stake, as well as our countrys international legitimacy, our own countrymens support, our professional military values, and our young warfighters moral health. It is at the JFCs level of command, where strategy is translated to tactical killing that the consideration of ethics in the conduct of war can reemerge. By explicitly providing his ethical decision-making standards, the JFC can ensure 21st century capabilities do not supersede morally right human activity.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Guided Munitions
  • Sociology and Law

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE