Ethics and Military Leadership


‘Ethics’ derived from the Greek word ‘Ethicos’, means character or manners and guide actions thereby becoming a ‘normative discipline’. Military Ethics applies to a specialized realm and has developed principles appropriate to it over time to help guide future operations. The armed forces must be always ethically led to uphold the defence of the nation and its national interests. Ethical leadership embodying the ideals of the profession of arms entails creating ethical command climates that set the conditions for positive outcomes and ethical behaviour. This article identifies commonly observed fault lines in the ethical conduct of a few members in the armed forces. Without being over-critical of ethical lapses in recent times, it suggests certain steps that could be emphasized to enhance the prevalent ethical climate.

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