Moral Underpinnings of the Military Profession

9 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2016

See all articles by Barry Clark

Barry Clark

The Calhoun Review; Liberty University

Date Written: January 31, 2016


A professional military must be led by leaders that understand the basis for morality, that absolute moral truth exists and is knowable, and they must be secured communally on a foundation that transcends broader cultural trends and relies on more than either reason or emotion for sustenance. Failure to understand and adhere to such a morality corporately has historically led to great failures of commission and omission. Philosophy has proven a poor tool to provision answers to the practical questions of how an organization and the leaders of that organization develop and cultivate such a morality. At the core of the problem remain truths, often either overly complicated or overly simplified by both philosophers and religious leaders. A proper understanding of morality for organizational leaders in the military is to understand that universal truths do exist, they are knowable, but not all men will come to understand them on their own. Such an understanding leads to a moral leadership approach that combines methods. It strengthens common understanding corporately and it includes tools, norms and control mechanisms for a diverse population recognizing that a percentage of the organization will never come to understand higher principles on their own. However, at the foundation of such a system must exist a certain core understanding, even if the entire organization does not personally subscribe to the core beliefs, there must be at the base a tried and true support that all can accept as the foundation.

Keywords: military, ethics, profession

Suggested Citation

Clark, Barry, Moral Underpinnings of the Military Profession (January 31, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Barry Clark (Contact Author)

The Calhoun Review ( email )

Abbevile, SC
United States


Liberty University ( email )

1971 University Blvd
Lynchburg, VA Lynchburg 24515
United States

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