A Global Network for Research and Advocacy in Applied Military Ethics

 

In January this year Liezl Groenewald attended a Summit on Military Ethics in Canberra, Australia on behalf of the Centre for Applied Ethics at the Stellenbosch University.  She represented Sub-Saharan Africa. The Summit aimed to establish a core group of ethics centres based in top-tier regional universities which work in the field of military ethics or have the potential to do so.  Japan, Hong Kong, the USA, Chile and the UK were also represented by potential and top military ethicists. 

In January this year Liezl Groenewald attended a Summit on Military Ethics in Canberra, Australia on behalf of the Centre for Applied Ethics at the Stellenbosch University.  She represented Sub-Saharan Africa. The Summit aimed to establish a core group of ethics centres based in top-tier regional universities which work in the field of military ethics or have the potential to do so.  Japan, Hong Kong, the USA, Chile and the UK were also represented by potential and top military ethicists. 

 Military

The need for establishing this core group emanated from a realisation among scholars and practitioners in this field that the discipline as it stands suffers from some significant shortcomings. What is taken to legitimately fall under the umbrella of ‘military ethics’ is very broad and diffuse. In the invitation to the Summit the convener, Dr Deane-Peter BakerThe Australian Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict and Society, University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra

  • The Centre for Applied Ethics, Hong Kong Baptist University
  • The Centre for Applied Ethics, Stellenbosch University
  • The Centre for Applied Ethics and Philosophy, Hokkaido University (Japan)
  • The Centre on Law, Ethics and National Security, Duke University (USA)
  • The centre for the Study of Applied Ethics, The University of Chile
  • The Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence, Case Western University (USA)
  • The Kings College London Centre for Military Ethics

The aim of the Compass Group is to:

  • Work in partnership to grow and enhance the academic study of applied military ethics around the globe;
  • Support the creation of university based ethics centers that address applied military ethics;
  • Work with military partners across the globe to increase awareness and understanding of, and proficiency in, applied military ethics among members of the military profession; and
  • Jointly and collaboratively conduct high quality research on topics in military ethics of direct and concrete relevance to the military profession.

Three highlights of the Summit need mention, namely:

  • That the Centre of Applied Ethics at Stellenbosch University will be mentored by The Australian Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict and Society, University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra and The Kings College London Centre for Military Ethics.  This mentoring relationship will focus on assisting the Centre to develop a curriculum to offer the South African National Defence Force Military Academy.
  • The first main joint project of The Compass Group will be to seek grant funding to develop a database capturing the results of a global survey of military education.
  • It was agreed to pursue the idea of a joint project on moral injury.

Where appropriate the results of The Compass Group research will be presented to the United Nations, Regional Organizations and at Government level. At the same time, where appropriate, advocacy and educational efforts will be designed to reach grassroots level in military organizations around the world.

 

Written by Liezl Groenewald


[1] Dr Deane-Peter Baker, Senior Lecturer in Ethics, International and Political Studies Programme, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, The University of New South Wales, Canberra

Australian Defence Force Academy