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Current Canadian Forces Education and Training for Moral and Ethical Decision Making in Operations

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Contract rept.

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The Canadian Forces CF role on the international stage has substantially changed over the past decade. For most of the latter part of the twentieth century, the CF primarily participated in peacekeeping missions e.g., the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, etc.. Though these operations were typically restricted to non-coercive, diplomatic efforts to uphold a volatile peace agreement between two domestic warring factions, many CF members confronted tough moral and ethical dilemmas while in operations. With its most recent deployment to southern Afghanistan Kandahar province, there is also a high probability that CF members will face moral and ethical dilemmas. The CF is involved in counterinsurgent operations on a regular basis, and unlike conventional state-to-state wars, these wars are fought among the people that both insurgent and counterinsurgent forces are trying to win over. Insurgents wage political war through military means, making it extremely difficult for opposing forces to win the hearts and minds of the people they are meant to protect. They also employ strategies and tactics that violate widely held international conventions for waging war. It is important, therefore, to gain a better understanding of the CFs perspective on moral and ethical decision making in order to enhance operational effectiveness in such situations. As part of a long term research program by Defence Research and Development Canada DRDC Toronto investigating moral and ethical decision making, the following report summarizes the current CF efforts for educating and training its members of all ranks to make moral and ethical decisions in complex operational environments. We examined CF institutional programmes and courses as well as met with 5 CF subject matter experts SMEs to gain greater insight into those efforts meant to promote CF members capacity for making moral and ethical decision in an operational context. Recommendations for future work conclude the report.

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  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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