Law

King’s Centre for Military Ethics

By Dr David Whetham

I have written here before about why the subject of ethics is so important for professional militaries. Globally, there is a growing acknowledgment that military ethics and a genuine, deep appreciation of human rights issues is a crucial component of the education of every service member, wherever they may serve. There is a clear linkage between ethical behaviour within armed forces and their conduct on operations. Fostering ethical awareness and moral decision-making in military personnel is a proven way of reducing unnecessary harm and suffering in conflict situations. It would seem obvious that there is substantial benefit for everyone in making tools to make this happen available as widely as possible.

We know that there is a proven but largely unsatisfied demand for military ethics education that simply cannot be met by the few existing professional military ethicists worldwide (there is a difference in this context between philosophers with an interest in the normative dimension of the use of force, and someone who actually works with the military to translate concepts into applied ethics across the huge range of subjects that military ethics touches upon (from the values and standards expected of members of professional militaries, the norms, rules and laws that cover the way that profession should carry out its business, through to civil military relations and the limits of what they can be legitimately expected to do). That is why the King’s Centre for Military Ethics was established in 2015, to conduct research into the best ways of delivering effective professional military ethics education, and to develop material and tools to support those seeking to do it.

Online Tools

One of the ways to try and meet that demand is to offer quality distance learning material that can be accessed by anyone. Therefore, the Centre offers an expanding range of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), designed according to research-led findings, run by the Centre for Military Ethics and open to all free of any charge, to deliver this vital area of military education to a global audience. Because it is intended to be a global asset, we have had input and support from many different military institutions, universities and international organization such as the International Committee of the Red Cross and the European Chapter of the International Society for Military Ethics (Euro ISME). Our first modules can be found here: http://militaryethics.uk/en/course/

We have employed a version of the creative commons licensing that allows people to use each section for non-commercial purposes as long as they give full credit and do not abridge the material in any way. That way, all of the material can be incorporated into courses and used by universities or military institutions around the world. The first military institution to adopt the online material was the Romanian Staff College in Brasov, who provided valuable feedback for further development. We will continue to refine the material as we go along and learn from our experiences through both institutional and student engagement.

As well as an introduction to the broad subject of military ethics, the first module is Armouring Against Atrocity and is aimed at how to maintain high moral standards while in extreme situations while deployed on military operations. This module is led and delivered by military practitioners who bring alive the research by drawing on their own extensive experience of military operations. The second module is an introduction to the Just War Tradition, where it comes from, what it says today, how it relates to international law and the challenges that the contemporary operating environment pose for it. Other modules we are currently developing include: Conflict Resolution & Jus Post Bellum (Glasgow University), Military Medical Ethics (Leeds, Geneva & ANU), the Cultural and Heritage Property Protection in Conflict (Oxford and the Blue Shield), and Gender & the Military (KCL) with more to follow.

As we secure additional resources, we are translating the course material into different languages to increase the global coverage and make military ethics education available as widely as possible. In 2016, the Centre received a grant from the UK Government to translate two modules into Spanish to support military ethics curricula capacity building in South America. These have been embraced by the Colombian War College and are currently being incorporated into their formal courses.

Military Ethics Education Playing Cards

The Centre is also developing other tools to help promote engagement with ethical issues. Starting with the assumption that playing cards are a ubiquitous, everyday part of life, the idea is to use them as a vehicle for raising ethical awareness. Fifty-two questions from across the broad area of military ethics have been carefully developed, based on professional military ethics education curricula, in conjunction with research and testing on military focus groups, and in consultation with specialist lawyers. The cards are available to military units or private individuals and can be used to prompt informal discussion and debate, normalising the discussion of ethical challenges faced in military environments.

Questions are generally open ended and encourage people to think about key issues that may arise in a military setting. For example:

  • Is it ever acceptable to challenge an order from a superior?
  • Is necessity ever a reason to break the laws of war?
  • Can soldiers refuse to serve if they disagree with their government’s decisions?

One of the dangers of ethics education is that it can reinforce the wrong lesson if it is done badly. To help support the right ‘take away’ from each topic, there is supporting material for each card that can be easily accessed by anyone. Each card has a QR web link to the King’s Centre for Military Ethics webpages where there are additional prompts, questions, appropriate answers and information for each question, along with reading and some suggestions about different ways that the cards can be used. Groups of questions can be thematically linked so impromptu or pre-planned supported discussions can quickly be developed using the open-access material.

The cards, and the supporting website material, are being translated into different languages to support military ethics education initiatives in as many different environments as possible. As feedback continues to come back to the Centre, the material available to support the cards will expand, with a linked book coming out in 2017.

The Future

 The King’s Centre for Military Ethics will continue working with our partners both in the UK and internationally to make military ethics education available as widely as possible. If you would like to know more, have resources that could be directed towards a shared goal, or would like to become part of our growing network, please do contact us.

Image: King’s College London Military Ethics Education Playing Cards.

“The Room Where it Happens” Enforcing Neutrality in the West Indies during the American War of Independence

ANNA BRINKMAN

International agreements are often touted as great achievements of a nation’s foreign policy and are usually accompanied by great fanfare. Peace treaties, meant to offer some form of conflict resolution, and treaties which govern the conduct of neutral nations during times of war are no exception. Once the fanfare has subsided, however, there remains the problem of enforcement and interpretation. In a time of fanfare around the Paris Climate deal, Britain’s EU referendum, and America’s changing relationship with Iran, it is perhaps apposite to look to the late 18th Century when the balance of power within Europe’s empires, and the treaties which governed it, witnessed shifts as dramatic as those we are experiencing today.

The opening of hostilities between Britain and her North American colonies in 1775, followed over the subsequent five years by ruptures with France, Spain, and Holland, created an increasingly hostile environment in the West Indies. Since the Seven Years’ War (1756 -1763) commerce between two of the largest colonial empires, Britain and Spain, had supposedly been regulated by the 1763 Treaty of Paris which was partly written to codify the rights and limits of neutrality should one signee enter a war in which the other declared itself neutral. The treaty failed in its most basic task because neutrality in the Americas was almost impossible to enforce. When the War of American Independence began Spain declared itself neutral. However, the war raging in North America opened up very lucrative smuggling opportunities for Spanish and British merchants operating in the West Indies: the rebels needed military supplies which came mostly from Europe through the West Indies and the British islands needed food from the mainland American colonies to feed their slave populations.

18th century colonial wars were usually detrimental to merchants and planters but those who were already adept at smuggling in Europe or the West Indies were keen to make a profit during North America’s rebellion. The ministers in London prosecuting the war against the American rebels wanted two things in the West Indies: to isolate the rebels from foreign aid, and to maintain Spain’s neutrality. A rebellion might be quashed but war with a European power was to be avoided. Britain’s foreign policy in the Americas, therefore, was a balancing act: the Royal Navy, privateers, and existing treaties were employed to shut down wartime smuggling through commerce predation, whilst being instructed not to overstep the bounds of the 1763 treaty. Unfortunately for all European colonial powers the ability to directly control or oversee the actions of their citizens and representatives whilst abroad or at sea was minimal. Britain’s policy was at the mercy and whim of officials and subjects of all nations who twisted international treaties to their advantage. Incidents involving neutral rights were therefore mostly resolved after the fact by politicians in Europe scrambling to ameliorate the diplomatic damage done at sea or in the colonies. Normally, any event involving neutrality, smuggling, and the capture of foreign vessels was resolved in Admiralty courts which were notorious for their lengthy proceedings and legal incompetence. In an attempt to lend credence and consistency to their enforcement of neutral rights British ministers often settled disputes extra-judicially to avoid lengthy trials and accusations of violating the neutrality of other nations.

The 1763 Treaty of Paris was partially intended to resolve the disputes over which Spain and Britain went to war in 1761. Satisfactory resolution, however, proved ellusive. One of the points of contention which remained unresolved was the violation of Spanish neutrality through illegal seizures of Spanish and British merchant shipping. The admiralty courts of both countries had addressed the issue erratically and by the end of the Seven Years’ War neither country had faith in the others court system. Spain’s mistrust, however, extended beyond Britain’s Admiralty courts. Throughout the 18th Century the Spanish Court believed that British aims in the America’s were to expand commercial influence, oppose the commerce of other powers, and to invade their colonies. As such, they were greatly concerned with the balance of power in the Americas and constantly feared that it would tip in favour of the British as it had during the Seven Years’ War when, after a humiliating defeat the Spanish King Charles III became bent on pursuing imperial commercial reform, building up the Spanish naval forces, and strengthening defences in America.

Just as Britain experienced difficulty exerting control over it’s officials on the spot, Spain’s ill-intentioned, protestations of support and neutrality vis a vis Britain and the rebellious colonies were not always followed by its colonial representatives. On the 17th of April, 1777, The Spanish Governor of Louisiana, Bernardo de Gálvez, ordered his Guards out in the dead of night to proceed quietly up the Mississippi River and seize eleven British merchant vessels which were anchored there. The ships were then taken down to New Orleans where the masters and seamen were imprisoned under the charge of smuggling in Spanish territory. This was but the latest in a series of underhand schemes Gálvez had instigated which violated Spanish neutrality.

On the 4th of May, 1777 the Captain of the HMS Atalanta, Thomas Lloyd, wrote a letter to Gálvez demanding that the British ships be returned and the sailors released. He remarked that it was his ‘Duty, as a commander of one of his Britannic Majesty’s Ships of War, obliging me to take cognizance of such public matters as affect the commerce of his subjects.’ He then pointed out that the seizure of the British ships was illegal because it violated the Peace Treaty of 1673 in which Spain had agreed free navigation of the Mississippi river to British ships. This meant that even had the British ships been trading with Spaniards, which Lloyd denied, it was still illegal for Spanish authorities to detain them. After intervention from more senior British colonial officals Gálvez was obliged to admit that

‘it was done in the Heat of Resentment, (one of his Britannic Majesty’s Sloops of War, the West-Florida, having seized a Spanish smuggling-boat, in some of the British Lakes, with twenty or thirty Barrels of Tar;) that had he, the Spanish Governor, reflected, he should not have done it; but, having sent an account thereof to the Court of Spain, and cause for representation must be there determined.’

He also sent an account of the affair to the Court of Spain, thereby making it impossible for the dispute to be settled by officials in the West-Indies. It seems plausible that he did it both as a stalling tactic, since the Court system in Spain was notorious for being slow to adjudicate cases, and as a way to take the decision out of his hands. Removing the decision to Spain kept the captured British ships within his jurisdiction and local British pressure at bay. The affair, however, never made it to the Spanish court system: it was handled by Spanish ministers and the eventual decision was presented as one taken by the Spanish Court rather than Spanish courts of law. It is possible that this was done in order to put a speedy end to the issue.

News of the capture reached London in July of 1777 and one of the merchants whose ships had been captured met with Lord George Germain, Secretary of State for America, to demand of him what was being done to resolve the issue. In December a similar petition was made to Lord Weymouth, the Secretary of State for the Southern Department, who was known for both drunkenness and laziness, in an attempt to redress the wrongs done them by the Spanish Governor. Weymouth’s reply was that nothing could be done until the Spanish Court gave a decision upon the matter. His answer indicated that he was aware that the affair would not be decided by the due course of law but by ministerial authority.

The Court’s decision arrived in London in February of 1778. Spain’s ministers declared that the seizure of the British ships had been justified since they were illegally trading with Spaniards in a Spanish port. Accepting Spain’s judgement, Weymouth wrote to the British merchants ‘That the state of public affairs was such that, Nothing could be done in this business.’ Five months later, in August of 1778, after continued pressure from the British merchants, Weymouth wrote to the British ambassador of Spain to inquire over the affair and the possibility of a different resolution. The Court of Spain gave no answer to the ambassador’s enquiries. Frustrated by the entire affair, one of the British merchants made an application to the Admiralty for the detention of Spanish property. His ship, Fortune, had captured a Spanish vessel and he wanted to hold it hostage until the Mississippi ships were restored. His application was denied despite the legality of the action under the Prize Act because Weymouth, with the support of other ministers, thought ‘it was not a time to quarrel with the Court of Spain.’ There the affair came to rest despite continued entreaties from British merchants.

Concerned about provoking Spain, the British ministry’s response to Spain’s flagrant violation of neutrality and the Treaty of Paris of 1763 was toothless. Though appeasing Spain supported one pillar of Britain’s policy in the Americas it did little to discourage continued violations of neutrality in the West Indies and therefore encouraged illegal trading with the rebellious colonies. The actions of Gálvez perfectly exploited the weakness of Britain’s position in the Americas in terms of enforcing neutrality. The British navy was largely incapable of enforcing neutrality by preventing the seizure of British shipping and captains like Lloyd could therefore only protest and demand that treaties be observed after the fact. However, when Gálvez refused to engage with the British captain and instead sent the matter back to Spain, Lloyd was left powerless. Any belligerent action against New Orleans to free the ships would have been viewed as a violation of Spain’s neutrality as the case was supposedly being handled through legitimate channels in Spain. By the same token, Lloyd was left without any negotiating power because Gálvez had left himself without any authority over the matter. Spanish neutrality was enforced neither in the Americas nor in Europe.

Britain’s two pronged policy in the Americas of maintaining Spanish neutrality whilst preventing smuggled aid from reaching the rebels was largely a failure because the Treaty of 1763 was unenforceable in the West Indies without granting British officials sweeping belligerent powers. Had such powers been granted by the British the other European empires would likely have perceived the move as a threat to the balance of power in America and opposed it. With the rebellion in North America and concerned about provoking a European war, strict enforcement of neutrality in colonial waters was not worth the risk. When problems over neutrality arose, it was quicker, and easier, to settle them quietly outside of the legal system and maintain the facade that the Treaty of 1763 governed all Anglo-Spanish colonial interactions.

Image: “A new map of North America” – produced following the Treaty of Paris in 1763, via wikimedia commons.

 

The Antigallican Affair: British Foreign Policy and the Personalities of the Spanish Court in the Seven Years’ War

ANNA BRINKMAN

The creation of foreign policy and the prosecution of war are often largely dependent on the personalities and circumstances of those in power. This is, perhaps, a disconcerting truth that can be mitigated by the development of international law, alliances, and multilateral or unilateral treaties. The mitigation, however, only goes so far, as laws and treaties can fall prey to selective interpretation in the service of individual domestic and international political ambitions. Add to this the selective perspectives perpetuated by multiple media outlets on politicians and extra-national populations and the influence of personality becomes very difficult to dismiss. The importance of personalities in shaping foreign affairs is certainly not a new discussion but it can prove useful to look at their effect from a more removed and historical point of view. The case study of a small Anglo-Spanish crisis from the Seven Years War (1756-63) in which British ministers strove to maintain Spanish neutrality illustrates how British foreign policy and strategy could be derailed by the clashing personalities of the Spanish Court.

Maintaining Spanish neutrality was an important element of British strategy in the early years of the Seven Years’ War. The prevailing atmosphere in the Spanish Court was, therefore, a topic of vital importance to the ministers in London carrying out the war. Spanish foreign policy towards Britain was shaped by several trade treaties and by the personalities of King Ferdinand VI and the Spanish Secretary of State, Don Ricardo Wall, an Irishman who held the post throughout the war. The British minister with whom Wall and the King had the most contact was the ambassador in Madrid, Sir Benjamin Keene. Keene worked to maintain friendly and respectful relations with both Wall and Ferdinand. He found Wall to be a man interested in maintaining peace but brought low by the weight of his responsibilities. Accusations of ‘Anglophilia’ had plagued and shaped his political career. Until his death in 1758, Keene remained convinced that Wall would work with him in earnest to maintain Spanish neutrality but that the internal squabbles of the Spanish Court as well as French influence were against them.

King Ferdinand VI is variously described as ‘gentle’, ‘weak’ and ‘inward looking’ by historians of eighteenth century Spain. He had assumed the throne in 1746 after being side lined from politics for most of his youth. Perhaps as a conscious contrast to the policies of his father and step-mother, Ferdinand generally favoured peace as the aim of Spanish foreign policy. Staying out of European conflicts allowed him to focus on internal politics and reforms. Like most monarchs, however, he was influenced by his ministers and Keene feared that he could be persuaded to question the benefit of Britain’s friendship. Despite enjoying a very friendly relationship with the Spanish monarch, Keene was critical of, and clearly frustrated by, Ferdinand’s reliance on the sycophantic ministers who guided him through matters upon which he was ill informed. Unfortunately for Britain, not all of the men easing the King’s conscience were vocal champions of Anglo-Spanish friendship.

As a whole, the impressions made on British ministers by the dynamics of the Spanish Court at the beginning of the war were two fold. There was a running theme of maintained friendship, and thus neutrality, but it was made delicate by a lack of strong pro-British leadership. These dynamics can be seen clearly in the affair of the British privateer the Antigallican.

News of the Antigallican’s activities, like those of many successful privateers, often cropped up in British newspapers as accounts of glorious battles against the French. The London Evening Post, a London tri-weekly newspaper, printed a small article on January 18th 1757 which described the Antigallican’s engagement against a French East Indiaman, Le Duc de Penthievre, off the coast of Spain the day before. In true sensationalistic fashion, the article highlighted that the crew of the privateer held off their attack until they were close enough to the French ship to fire their small arms directly into the cabin windows. The Post‘s article is fairly typical for a description of British privateering success and concentrates more on the adventure of the encounter rather than any type of political or anti-French message. Unbeknownst to the writers and publishers of the London newspapers however, bad weather had subsequently forced the Antigallican and her prize into Cadiz where the Spanish Governor claimed that the capture had taken place within cannon shot of the Spanish coast, i.e. neutral waters, and was therefore not a legal seizure. The Spanish Governor at Cadiz ordered the British captain, Capt. Foster, to give up his prize to the French Consul despite protestations from the French crew that it had been a legal capture. Foster refused and two Spanish war ships opened fire on the Prize until she surrendered to Spanish authority.

William Pitt, the de facto Prime Minister, was extremely concerned by the events in Cadiz, and expressed his unease in a letter to Keene on the 25th of February 1757. He wrote that the Antigallican affair showed an alarming partiality toward France on the part of the Spanish Government and that Spain’s own violation of neutrality (firing upon and seizing the British prize) was condoned by the Court. While Pitt had to wait for a reply from Keene to see how the small crisis would play out, the British newspapers indulged in utter speculation. On February 22, the Middlewich Journal published an article that the influence of the French Ambassador on the Spanish King seemed to ‘presage a Declaration of War against Great Britain…orders either have, or will be given to our Ambassador [Keene], to re-demand the abovementioned prize [Le Duc de Penthievre], and, in case of a Refusal, he may perhaps immediately be recalled.’ As the British ministers were still trying to understand exactly what had and was happening in the case of the Antigallican, the writers and publishers of the Middlewich Journal had falsely escalated the affair to one of impending warfare. Though the article had no discernable effect on the actions of British ministers and had no direct anti-Spanish phrasing, it did convey to its readership a sense that war with Spain was inevitable and the fault of French and Spanish connivance. This narrative would continue to play out in the press with an increasingly violent anti-Spanish rhetoric.

The reality of the Antigallican affair, as related by Keene, was much more pernicious than anything yet being printed in Britain. Wall had presented Keene’s complaints about the treatment of the Antigallican to the Spanish King who was seemingly unaware of the extent of the violence which had transpired. It came to light that the Spanish Minister for War, and captain general of the army, Sebastián de Eslava, along with the French Consul at Coruña, had presented Ferdinand with the version of events in which Le Duc de Penthievre had been seized illegally by the Antigallican and that, therefore, the actions of the British captain had violated Spanish neutrality. The King, with these facts before him, gave Eslava leave to order that the prize be secured at Cadiz until more information could be gathered. The King, however, had not authorized the use of force against Captain Foster and his prize, nor had he authorized the return of the prize to French authorities. This had, instead, been ordered entirely by Eslava upon the urging of French representatives in Court. Keene described Ferdinand’s reaction upon learning of Eslava’s cavalier actions: ‘The King railed at Eslava, [and] asked Wall why he was not turned out. He would discard the old Radoteur immediately’ and then ordered the Letter to be wrote to stop further Proceedings.’ The damage, however, had been done. Ferdinand, unable or unwilling to bare to the world that he could not control his ministers neither censured nor contradicted Eslava. Wall, who feared further accusations of anglophilia, remained silent. Keene bemoaned the dynamics of the Spanish Court and feared for Spanish neutrality: ‘Messr. Wall hates his office, and suffers at these matters as much as myself; he sees, as well as I do, the Danger Two Great Crowns are in, from matters of so insignificant a nature compared with their peace, and a good correspondence.’

The controversy over the Antigallican carried on for more than a year without resolution but was soon overshadowed by numerous breaches of Spanish neutrality by British privateers. The French faction in the Spanish court, whose influence was clearly observed by British ministers in the Antigallican affair, seized upon these breaches to further erode Wall and Ferdinand’s pro British position. As the war progressed, British influence in the Court of Spain continued to wane and the Franco-Spanish friendship grew into the Family Compact of 1761. Britain, seeing the cause of Spanish neutrality lost, recalled her ambassador and declared a state of war.

The research discussed in this post will be presented at a King’s College Maritime History Seminar on January 7th at 1715 in Room K6.07, of the Department of War Studies, King’s College London, Strand, WC2R 2LS.

Image: The Captured Spanish Fleet at Havana, August-September 1762, by Domonic Serres the Elder, via wikimedia commons.

Why Does Ethics Matter for the Military?

DR DAVID WHETHAM

The military profession, as with all professions, is defined and governed in large part by its ethic; the rules and behaviours by which its members conduct themselves. Any professional military force, anywhere in the world, sees itself as distinct from a ‘mere’ group of mercenaries or long-term contractors, and that self-identity is based on more than simply being a recognised servant of the state, authorised to employ violence as and when required. A degree of autonomy over how that violence is employed and the structured adherence to laws, codes and accepted norms is part of that identity. A breach of those rules may be legally wrong and therefore make the perpetrator liable to legal sanction, but it is also likely to be seen as institutionally wrong in the sense that it will be considered unprofessional.

It is hardly surprising that this ethic is so well founded. Ethical failures by the military can have terrible consequences for a huge range of people, including the local civilian populations and the combatants on both sides of a conflict, for the internal health of the military organisation itself, for the relationship between the military and society, and for the strategic utility of forces engaged on behalf of their political community.

The type of ‘discretionary conflict’ that currently appears to be the norm, where vital national interests are not obviously at stake, can pose different ethical and legal challenges for democracies when compared to wars of national survival, where the issues appear more black and white (as far as this is ever possible in war). The potential range of issues that must be addressed is also widening due to the varied types of activity the military can become involved with. Peacekeeping or peace enforcement and humanitarian relief operations pose very different types of challenges to those found in ‘traditional’ high-intensity, state-on-state warfare. Counter-insurgency and irregular wars introduce a whole raft of ethical and legal dilemmas that need to be explored and resolved if campaigns are to be conducted appropriately and ultimately judged as successful.

One of the questions that often arises is why is this an ethics issue rather than simply a legal one? Every professional military around the world is supposed to fulfil its international obligations and ensure that the Law of Armed Conflict is taught and refreshed each year to all serving military personnel, both in peacetime and in wartime. If this is done properly, doesn’t this make military ethics education redundant? Clearly there is a great deal of overlap between the two areas of ethics and law. However, sometimes the contemporary operating environment presents situations in which it might not be clear what the legal position actually is. For example, the 1990 edition of the US Small Wars Manual makes clear:

[s]mall wars demand the highest type of leadership directed by intelligence, resourcefulness, and ingenuity. Small wars are conceived in uncertainty, are conducted often with precarious responsibility and doubtful authority, under indeterminate orders lacking specific instructions.

Even where the framework of the law is absolutely clear, and the range of legally permissible options can be clearly identified, the law is still not enough on its own to provide the actual answers. A decision still needs to be made as to which course of action one should take. Military decision-making requires the ability to answer questions such ‘Would such an action be lawful in this situation?’ but it also needs people who will also ask ‘This course of action is legal but is it actually the right thing to do?’ The best decision-making will therefore be informed by both ethical and legal considerations if the appropriate and most desirable outcome is to be achieved.

The type of issues that come up in military ethics sometimes do not have straightforward answers, thus it can appear that there is a huge amount of disagreement on fundamental issues, leading to the perception that “it’s all relative”. However, it is important to note that the disagreements that arise are actually very narrow in focus. Philosophers and ethicists are drawn to the complicated examples where it is not straightforward to see how to apply the rules in that specific situation. However, that is very different from saying that there is no agreement on the 99.9% of other situations. Discussing the really complicated examples allows us to explore which principle is best applied in which circumstance, and the strengths and weaknesses of different tools.

This is exactly why there is a need for education rather than training in this important area. Training, done well, teaches what to do in a specific situation. Education, done well, is about equipping individuals with the tools and skills to be able to make sense of and do the correct thing in any situation, regardless of whether it has been trained for. It is precisely the questions for which there are not black and white responses that need to be engaged with, thought about and discussed by the people for whom they are most pertinent – military practitioners – before those people are put into situations where they need to actually make those decisions.

Dr Whetham is the Director of the Centre for Military Ethics at King’s College, London (www.militaryethics.uk).

This blog entry is adapted from D. Whetham, ‘Challenges to the Professional Military Ethics Education Landscape’, in Carrick, Connelly & Whetham, Making the Military Moral (Ashgate, 2016 forthcoming). 

Image: Irish Naval Service rescuing migrants from an overcrowded boat as part of Operation Triton, June 2015, via wikimedia commons.