How should the laws of armed conflict address the rise of AI-augmented decision-making?

Recently, significant effort has gone into deciding what is the appropriate space for algorithmic decision making in domestic law.[1] From discussions about the constitutionality of police officers’ use of algorithms to justify probable cause, to debates about use of recidivism algorithms in parole hearings, and the use of machine learning to aid judges in deciding on […]

A Code of Ethics for the US Armed Services? A Counterpoint

An Ethics Code for the Armed Forces: A Counterpoint Col Bonadonna’s central thesis is clearly stated up front: “The American military needs a code of ethics.”  He argues such a code would “communicate a commitment to the American people.” He goes on to claim “the code would serve as doctrine…concerning the most vital ethical underpinnings of […]

The Least Abhorrent Choice?

The Least Abhorrent Choice?  When gaging the morality of the use of atomic weapons to end the Asia Pacific War, one of the things we are obliged to consider is the likely consequences of other options available at the time. We should project their likely efficacy with regard to bringing about timely capitulation with a […]

Were the A-Bombs the Last Resort?

Last August marked the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima; three days later a second bomb obliterated Nagasaki. As early as August 9, the day of the Nagasaki explosion, the Federal Council of Churches of Christ wired President Harry S. Truman: Many Christians deeply disturbed over use of atomic bombs against Japanese cities because of […]

Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – Justified?

This past August marked the 75th anniversary of the most ethically controversial decisions in the history of warfare.  On the 6th of August 1945, and then again on the 9th of August, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. At least 150,000 civilians were immediately killed, and more would later die.  […]

Why Movies to Teach Philosophy?

A ‘stock in trade’ of philosophical literature is the striking thought experiment.  A staple in ethics and law courses is the written case study. The pedagogical advantage of these tools is twofold: They allow us to formulate and hone theoretic systems and guide practical applications of those philosophical paradigms. They also provide avenues through which […]

The Justification for Harm and Intelligence Ethics

Normally, the fact that an act is harmful is a reason not to do it. There is, in other words, a presumption against doing harm. Many theorists of espionage ethics have begun from the observation that the actions of intelligence agents, especially those that constitute human intelligence (HUMINT), are characteristically harmful. Intelligence agents sometimes resort […]

Market Competition, Effectiveness and Ethical Standards of Private Military Contractors

The infamous 2007 Nisour Square shooting in Iraq that led to the deaths of 17 civilians at the hands of American private contractors unleashed public debate about ethical use of these actors in armed conflict that continues to this day. Even before the incident, academics, non-governmental organizations, and some in the Department of Defense have […]

Stoicism at the Stockdale Center

While there are many ways to analyze ADM Stockdale’s life and his leadership, in his writings about both of those, he returned to three themes again and again. The importance of experience in stressful environments The need for principled, reflective, even philosophical leadership How leaders must bridge the gap between practical human experience (#1) and […]

Ethics Across the Curriculum

The Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership is proud to have just completed a week-long inaugural “Ethics Across the Curriculum” faculty workshop. The opening words of U.S. Naval Academy’s mission statement emphasize the great importance to the study of ethics: The mission of the United States Naval Academy is to develop midshipmen morally, mentally […]