Stockdale Interactive

The Switchman is a thought experiment in ethics. In our retelling of the Trolley Problem, a runaway trolley is barreling down the railway tracks. Further ahead on the track, there are four people who are unaware of the Trolley and therefore unable to move. The trolley is headed straight for them! You are standing some distance off in the train yard, next to a switch. If you pull this switch, the trolley will turn to a different track. However, you notice that there is one person on that track, similarly unaware of the Trolley and therefore unable to move. The “Trolley Problem” consists of a series of hypothetical scenarios developed by British philosopher Philippa Foot in 1967.

Case Advisor: Michael Sears, JD

Lead Ethicist: Dr. Shaun Baker, Ph.D.

This is a primer on the employment of AI tools in combat. You are a watch officer, with responsibilities to fight the ship along with your shipmates. On this ship, one of your “mates” are AI tools. It is critical that you understand where they fit in the situational assessment, and that you use the tools with an understanding of where humans fit in the loop.

Case Advisor: Dr. Michael Good, Ph.D.

Lead Ethicist: Dr. Jovana Davidovic, Ph.D.

Lead Ethicist: Mitt Regan, JD

Bad weather, crews at risk, and you have to make a decision. Do you double down? Risk more sailors when some others may already be lost. What is the right calculus to use? Is there a right answer? No matter what, everyone is looking to you for the answer.

Case Advisor: Michael Sears, JD

Lead Ethicist: CDR Mike Norton, USN, Ph.D.

Leadership and Speaking Truth to Power on the USS District of Columbia (SSGN). As a young officer on your first deployment, it is your job to use your judgment on how to handle a critical situation. Even when more experienced sailors may have other opinions, how do you stand your ground and add to the decision making of the team?

Case Advisor: LCDR Christopher Hart, USN

Lead Ethicist: Dr. Celeste Raver Luning, Ph.D.

You are out to have a good time. So are your friends. But all of a sudden, that good time can come crashing down when someone says something that may not be appropriate. Is the statement a deeply held bias, or is it just a slip? And how do you, as the bystander act – toward the one making the statement, and toward the one the statement was made about.

Case Advisor: CAPT Timika Lindsay, USN, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Technical Consultant: Maj. Desiree K. Sanchez, USMC

Technical Consultant: LT Shawn Horvath, USN

Dark Waters is a case study involving a collision at sea. The lead actor is a newly reported 2nd Tour Division Officer who is the Officer of the Deck on a DDG as night approaches in high seas and bad weather. Following the collision, the OOD is to give a recommendation to the acting Commanding Officer regarding actions to take to save the ship, at the peril of sailors battling the major flooding in the damaged space. The DCA is calling for the hatch to be closed. But if you close the hatch, you will lose the sailors.

Case Advisor: LT Isaac Losee

Lead Ethicist: Dr. Edward Barrett, Ph.D.

Technical Naval Consultant: LT Isaac Losee

Technical Naval Consultant: CDR David M. Wallace, USN, Ph.D.

Nothing is as easy as it seems. While performing a weapons interdiction mission, in an instant, the situation changes. You are in charge, and you must make the decision of the next step. Mission accomplishment, safety of your crew, as well as humanitarian issues are in play in this scenario.

Case Advisor: Michael Sears, JD

Lead Ethicist Dr. Shaun Baker, Ph.D.

Technical Naval Consultant: LtGen John Wissler, USMC (Ret)

Technical Naval Consultant): CAPT Frank G. Franky, USN

Sometimes, things may appear to be black and white. It may be easy to make a decision when you are not stressed. But let emotions come to play, and the black and white can turn to gray. This is a torture scenario. Should you follow the stressed-out Marine, follow the book directly, or is there a middle ground? You are in charge, and it is your call.

Case Advisor: Michael Sears, JD

Lead Ethicist: Dr. Michael Skerker, Ph.D.

Technical Naval Consultant: LtGen John Wissler, USMC (Ret)

Technical Naval Consultant: Dr. Joseph Thomas, Ph.D.

You’re overseas with your friends. In a foreign land, with histories, traditions and a culture that you might mis-read. How do you navigate the intricacies of operating, when maybe you do not realize what is going on behind the scenes?

Case Advisor: Tim Disher

Lead Culturalist: Dr. Clementine Fujimura, Ph.D.

You are a JO, with new leadership responsibilities in the 7th Fleet. Your ship is operating hard, and you’re given the responsibility to provide liberty activities for your crew. But there’s a problem. It seems that a contractor ashore is taking liberties with the procurement system, and some of your fellow officers may be going along. Where should you turn and what should you do?

Lead Ethicist: Dr. Marcus Hedahl, Ph.D.

Case Advisor: Dr. Stephen Wrage, Ph.D.

Case Advisor: Dr. Michael Good, Ph.D.

You are the CO of the USS Midway, with barely a week into this position, as the Republic of Vietnam is falling to the North Vietnamese troops. You are the first black CO of an American aircraft carrier, and the second black graduate of the Naval Academy. Your career has had its ups and downs, but you have succeeded to command. And now, your leadership, judgment and decisiveness are challenged as you make life and death decisions on the fate of multi-million dollar aircraft, the lives of your crew, and innocents.

Case Advisor: CAPT Tasya Lacy, USN

Technical CAPT Jason Rimmer, USN

After an interaction with your no-nonsense CO, you – LTJG Robert Soto – find yourself reflecting on your time as an Ensign during your previous, and first, assignment. In this journey back in time, you have to find a way to maintain your own professional standards, your commitment to Navy values, and your growth as a young leader in an environment where toxic leadership and an “everyone for themselves” ethos seems to discourage you at every turn.

Lead Ethicist: Dr. Michael Skerker, Ph.D.

Technical Naval Consultant: LCDR Lindsey Santiago

As the Switchman, your job is to keep the trains on the right track. But what happens when various groups or individuals walk along the railroad tracks, unaware of an oncoming train? You control the switch and their fate.

Case Advisor: Michael Sears, JD

Lead Ethicist: Dr. Doug Rau, Ph.D.