JOURNAL OF DEFENCE STUDIES

Ethics at the Grassroots: A Values-based Approach

Brigadier (Retd.) Rahul K. Bhonsle is managing a strategic risk and knowledge management consultancy-security-risks.com focusing on strategic culture and security trends in South Asia, future warfare and human security.
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  • April 2013
    Volume: 
    7
    Issue: 
    2
    Articles

    This article addresses the declining standards of morality in the armed forces and suggests measures to address it by undertaking appropriate interventions at the grassroots, unit or battalion. It traces the importance of ethics in the military, particularly in the context of the post-modern state, which grants exclusive authority to the armed forces for the use of violence. Further, it examines the state of ethics today and the challenges in codification to arrive at the basic ethical norms that need to be fostered in the military. Having established this, the article goes on to highlight the context of ethics at the unit level, outlining the challenges faced, including in counter-insurgency operations, normal administrative functioning, and the current approach to ethics training. The author proposes three options as suggestions for building an ethical culture in the unit—the Kohlberg model, the Values and Virtues Approach, and a Code of Conduct.

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