FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — The Army Command and General Staff College conducted its annual Ethics Symposium here April 30 and May 1 with the theme “The Impact of Diverse Worldviews on Military Conflict.”
Standing in front of a graphic depicting North Korea, Russia, Iran, and the South China Sea, CGSC General Hugh Shelton Distinguished Visiting Chair of Ethics, Dr. Shannon E., French, asked the audience “What kind of person do you want to be and why?” The natural follow-up, she said, is how do you become that person and retain that identity?
French was the closing speaker for the 2-day Ethics Symposium. After reminding her audience “Everyone is capable of doing anything,” she shared with them some ways to prepare for coming ethical crises. First, she said, figure out who you can trust — friends and mentors. Secondly, learn what can interfere with making the ethical choice — avoid false dilemmas. Thirdly, develop the ability to shift between different kinds of tasks. And last, learn the stories of people who have made the right decision.
As an example of the last, she told several stories of Saladin, leader of the Muslim tribes during the crusades, making ethical decisions. This included allowing the survivors of Jerusalem to depart rather than slaughtering the inhabitants as had been done when Christian forces took the city from the Muslims years earlier.
More than 1,000 members of the Command and General Staff Officers Course along with guests and visitors participated in the ethics conference that featured a variety of guest speakers, three panel presentations and over thirty breakout topics. More than 50 papers were submitted for discussion at the symposium. Top papers were “Criminal Ethos of Russia. The Great Western Dilemma of Fighting New Generation Warfare” by Maj. Egidijus Cuitas, and “What were you thinking? How to discover your moral philosophy: a forensic approach,” by Dr. Richard McConnell and Maj. Evan Westgate.
Panel presentations included “Salafi-Jihadism: A look at the individual and organizational level ethical framework,” “Cultural Perspectives, Geopolitics and Energy Security of the Koreas,” and “Understanding the Chinese Perspective — What History Tells Us About the Future.”
The Culture, Regional Expertise and Language Management Office put together an outstanding panel on North Korea. Three internationally known Korea experts and one subject matter expert from CGSC talked about one of the hottest topics of the day.
CRELMO Director Mahir Ibrahimov, moderator, welcomed Dr. Bruce Bechtol Jr., Professor of Political Science at Angelo State University, addressing: “North Korea’s Military, Governmental Infrastructure and Proliferation;” Dr. Jae Ku, Director of the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies discussing “Regime’s Anti-American Propaganda and the Potential for Popular Resistance During a Military Conflict;” Greg Scarlatoiu, Executive Director of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea addressing “Human Security in North Korea and Its Impact on the Korean Peninsula;” and Lt. Col. John Reynolds, Department of Joint, Interagency, and Multinational Operations, CGSC, covering “Historical, Economic, and Sociocultural Factors relevant to the current situation on the Korean peninsula.”