A variety of news sources are now reporting the US Air Force ended a training class after an internet article belittled its religious content. Contrary to some assertions, this is actually not a big deal.
This much has been accurately reported: The Air Force training slides had Bible verses, and the course was led by a Chaplain. There was a public article. The Air Force pulled the course to “review it.”
Beyond that, much of the other reporting has been misrepresented or inaccurate.
The Washington Post said
The Air Force has suspended a training course for nuclear missile launch officers that used Bible passages and religious imagery to teach them about the ethics of war.
Unfortunately, that’s essentially a misrepresentation, likely because the conclusion was drawn solely from a copy of the slides used in the brief — sans notes or context. The course did not use Biblical citations to teach ethics. The ~40-slide PowerPoint presentation was an ethical discussion on the conduct of war, with emphasis on the application of nuclear weapons. (The title of the first seven slides is “Ethics;” the second section is “Nuclear Ethics and Nuclear Warfare.”)
The course’s focus was to address common Read more
In a recent address at the National Defense University, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said this in response to a question about whether the “tolerance…has changed regarding ethics” in the military:
We have to have a true compass ethically. We have to have a true compass morally. We have to have a true compass inside our profession.
He’s right, of course. No one has ever debated the need for a moral standard by which military members must live and serve. The question, however, has been what defines the truth of that “true compass.” “True” implies Read more
With an interesting sense of timing, an Air Force article on “Comprehensive Airman Fitness,” focusing on “Spiritual Fitness,” was recently published at Charleston Air Force Base.
As military articles on such topics often do, it calmly predicts and answers the questions of the recent uproar over Spiritual Fitness in the military.
There are three concepts associated with spirituality, according to [Chaplain (LtCol) Michael] Brown.
“The first is to discover meaning in your life and a meaning that transcends anything in the physical world,” he said. “Some find that through Read more
Gallup’s annual survey of the American perceptions of the honesty and ethical standards of professions shows “military officers” at #2, with 73% “very high/high,” behind only nurses.
For contrast, police were at 57% high/very high, lawyers at 17%, and Congress at 9%, just above car salesmen.
It would appear, despite scandals and press to the contrary, the American public continues to view military leadership as morally upright and honorable. Obviously, it should — if society every views its military otherwise, it should take action to correct that ethical failure.
Those who are the physical guardians of the nation cannot be morally destitute, else they will no longer be trustworthy guardians of anything.
According to the Navy Times, Capt Charles Maher of the attack submarine Memphis was relieved of his command over allegations of a 10-person cheating ring under his watch. There was no evidence Maher was directly involved in the cheating.
Unlike several prior instances of cheating in all of the military services (Navy, Marines, Army), this appears to be the first time the commanding officer has been relieved over ethical failures in testing by subordinates.
Not long after talking about the discharge of the cheating Marines, Stars and Stripes noted that two Navy Chiefs are being “forced to retire” after helping a Sailor cheat on a military advancement exam.
During a rare court-martial at sea, chief petty officers Reynaldo M. Bernardo and Ferdinand P. Quinto were found guilty May 24 of failing to obey a lawful order, said the aircraft carrier’s spokesman, LtCmdr Bill Urban…
It appears the cheating, which occurred on the USS George Washington, was fairly obvious:
During the exam, Bernardo and Quinto moved a sailor to a different table and then instructed the sailor to cheat off another sailor’s test, Read more
Former US Marine 2nd Lieutenant Adam Ballard has given his excuse for his lapse in integrity, in which he cheated on a land navigation test: everybody’s doing it, and it was the school’s fault:
Ballard admits his actions were wrong but said they were facilitated by “inordinately lax procedures at [the basic officer school]…”
Over half of the three hundred Marines in our company possessed the same information that I had and that those numbers were comparable, if not more, in all the other training companies past and present…
As noted here often, neither a “culture” that seems to encourage cheating, nor a tangible disadvantage for not cheating are excuses for making the “easier” wrong choice.
Just days after noting the ethical challenges inherent in military service, the US Marines have booted 13 officers for cheating during a land navigation exam at Basic Officer School at Quantico. Among the 8 men and 5 women, at least one was a recent US Naval Academy graduate and football player.
Apparently the officers gave wrong answers to test questions — but Read more