The U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the CGSC Foundation cohosted the 2023 CGSC Military Ethics Symposium which was conducted April 21-22, 2023 in Marshall Auditorium of the Lewis and Clark Center on Fort Leavenworth. The CGSC Foundation also provided support to the Combined Arms Center Ethicist Training Conference which occurred in the morning periods of both days
The theme of the ethics symposium was “Revision or Revival?: Examining Just War Theory in Context of the Ukraine-Russia War and its Implications for Organizational-level Leaders in 21st Century Large-Scale Combat Operations.”
The keynote presenter was the CGSC Foundation’s General Hugh Shelton Distinguished Visiting Chair of Ethics Dr. Shannon E. French, who is also the Inamori Professor in Ethics, director of the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence, and a tenured member of the philosophy department with a secondary appointment in the law school at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in Cleveland, Ohio.
Accompanying French from the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence was Dr. Jessica Wolfendale, Professor of Philosophy and senior research associate focused on the ethics of political violence with a focus on torture, terrorism, war, and punishment, and Dr. Jonathan Flint, an Inamori research associate who teaches strategy and military ethics.
The CGSC Foundation has provided the resources and support required for the General Hugh Shelton Distinguished Visiting Chair of Ethics, annual ethics symposia and other ethics-related programs for CGSC since 2009.
On April 21, after the CAC Ethicists Training Conference period with Combined Arms Center Chaplain (Col.) Sean Wead, the CGSC Military Ethics Symposium kicked off with a welcome by Chaplain (Maj.) Josh Grimes from the CGSC Department of Command and Leadership, and opening remarks by CGSC Deputy Commandant Brig. Gen. David C. Foley. Participants included faculty, the CAC ethicists as well as CGSOC students enrolled in the A740 elective “Military Ethics Symposium Independent Study.”
The first panel entitled “Understanding the Ethical Context and Considerations of the Ukraine- Russia War” was presented by Dr. Flint along with Ms. Kate Kilgore, an intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) G-2 (Intelligence), and Dr. Chris Marsh, associate professor at the Joint Special Operations Master of Arts (JSOMA) program at Fort Bragg, a division of the College of International Security Affairs of the National Defense University.
Following the first panel discussion and question and answer period, CGSC Foundation President/CEO Rod Cox provided additional remarks on the importance of ethics education and introduced Dr. French who provided the keynote address entitled “Send a Revival: Do Just War Principles Need Renewal or Revision?” French’s address was followed by a keynote response delivered by Dr. Wolfendale with questions and answers facilitated by Chaplain (Col.) Wead.
The third panel of the afternoon included two special topics presented by Dr. Melia Pfannestiel, who addressed “Sexual Violence and Civilian Harm in Large-Scale Combat Operations (LSCO),” and Dr. Pete Kilner, who addressed “Just Large-Scale Combat and Civilian Casualties.” Pfannenstiel is an assistant professor and Team Leader at the U.S. Army’s School of Advanced Military Studies whose scholarly focus is on the ethical considerations for civilian non-combatants in conflict. Kilner is a retired Army officer who currently serves as associate professor and the Hottell ’64 Chair for Character Development at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York, where he designs and develops the Cadet Character Education Program.
Day 2 was a repeat of the CAC Ethicist Training Conference in the morning followed by the Ethics Symposium in the afternoon period. Dr. Richard McConnell kicked the afternoon off with a presentation on the “Ethical Implications for War Fighting Functions in LSCO.” McConnell is a retired U.S. Army officer who is an associate professor in CGSC’s Department of Army Tactics. He has published several articles on ethics-related topics such as Moral philosophy formulation, Teaching Ethics using games, and Cyber ethics.
Following McConnell were presentations provided by ethicists from three of CAC’s Centers of Excellence. First was Chaplain (Maj.) Stephen Echols from the Maneuver Center of Excellence, Fort Benning, Georgia. Next was Chaplain (Maj.) Robert Cox from the Cyber Center of Excellence at Fort Gordon, Georgia, and last was Chaplain (Maj.) Robert Miller from the Intelligence Center of Excellence at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. Each of the three presenters spoke about the challenges of Just War ethics in LSCO from their warfighting function perspective. After each presentation an expert panel comprised of French, Wolfendale, Flint, Kilner and McConnell provided feedback and the presenters conducted question and answer sessions with the audience.
At the conclusion of the symposium Chaplain (Col.) Wead provided closing remarks.
For more photos see the CGSC Foundation Flickr album
Visit the 2023 CGSC Military Ethics Symposium Archive page for detailed information from this year’s symposium
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