Professional Code of Ethics

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Professional Code of Ethics

Professional Code of Ethics Analysis

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Ethics is grounded on well-established norms of right and wrong that prescribe what humans should do, typically in terms of right, responsibilities, societal advantages, fairness, or special qualities. As members of the United States Armed Forces, we adhere by a code of ethics that obligates citizens and men and women in uniform to comply and follow the code of conduct or code of ethics, and standards of behavior that are required on and off duty. Our ethical standards are based on the innumerable ethical codes and laws in place to protect the people of the country and to defend our beliefs (Hagendorff, 2020). As we serve our country, the code of ethics guides our decisions and actions.

In a military context, the code of ethics is not only based on laws and military regulations but also on our own personal beliefs. In a society full of diverse backgrounds, beliefs, cultures, religions, etc., it is impossible for a single person to create a universal definition for right and wrong. It is very common today for people to follow more than one religion, or in some cases many religions. It is therefore impossible to create a definitive code of ethics that will apply to everyone. In the United States, we have a separation of church and state that prohibits the government from creating laws that favor one religion over another. Without this we would see extreme cases where people are persecuted for their religious beliefs and practices (Clark, 2018). Although this holds true for our military as well, it does not mean our personal beliefs cannot be used to guide us along with military regulations when creating a code of conduct.

There are various benefits of a code of ethics in military contexts; First, it allows the military to adhere to a specific code of ethics that is required to abide by in order to be considered a member of the military. The code sets limits on exactly what is expected and required of the members, which makes it easier for them to know what role they can perform and how they should conduct themselves. It is beneficial that the members are aware of guidelines, because it helps them make decisions within the limits of their profession (i.e., their own ethical standards). Having an established code of ethics does not guarantee that all soldiers will always follow the code of ethics; however, there are those who do adhere to their own personal ethical beliefs and those who do not.

Second, the code of ethical is beneficial in that it can be used as a guideline for logical decisions and actions. Although no one can disclose the exact reason behind a certain situation, they can at least have some sort of rationale behind their decision. This may allow them to think through the options more logically and make better choices. Third and lastly, having an established code of ethics prevents members from acting outside of the limits set by regulations or personal beliefs. For instance, if members are not disallowed from praying to God in a military location, they may feel the need to pray during their shift. However, if a specific area is designated as a prayer space, then this is expected and members should not engage in distracting rituals such as fundamentalism (Baumann, 2019).

In addition to these benefits, having an established code of ethics ensures that people will be held accountable by military regulations and the law. Through adherence to codes of conduct, people are able to adhere to military regulations that are applied during the course of their careers. In the US Armed Forces, we abide by the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), which includes many provisions on what officers and enlisted individuals can or cannot do with each other on duty and off duty.

The code of ethics in military context can guide logical decision-making in that it helps structure logical ideas on what to do and when to act. Rather than having no code of ethics, or having a completely fluid and diverse ethical code, it is much easier for members to follow and understand clearly defined rules that they must abide by both on and off duty. In addition, members of the military have clear-cut expectations of what they should be doing while they are at work or while they are off duty. For example, if a soldier has specific religious requirements within their own personal ethics, then regulations will allow them to attend religious services during their down time; however, these same regulations will not allow soldiers the ability to maintain a prayer space inside an established military building.

The code of ethics can be applied to a specific ethical issue that could arise in military profession. The ethical issue that I have chosen to discuss is one that could arise at work or off duty. If this scenario occurred on duty, then it would fall under the UCMJ (Powers, 2019). However, in this specific scenario it is occurring off duty and therefore falls under a completely different set of ethics. Since there are many laws, regulations, and even constitutional rights that are involved, I will stick with just the moral aspect of the question; which is also very complex because of the number of people involved. In order to best understand how the code of ethics applies in this situation we must first examine who is directly involved and what their roles are.

In conclusion, when creating a code of ethics, we must be careful not to put people in a position where they cannot function properly as part of the military. Although it is one thing to follow our own beliefs and moral standards, it is a completely different situation when you are asked to follow the beliefs and practices of your superiors. I agree that every person has the right to practice their own religious beliefs, as long as they are not attempting to promote devotion to their religion over another. When it comes down to ethics in general, we can gather that certain things will be considered unethical no matter which religion one practices or which set of morals they follow (Meier & Hill, 2018).

References

Baumann, D. (2019, Dec. 01). Military Ethics: A Task for Armies, Military Medicine, Vol. 172, Pages 34-38. https://academic.oup.com/milmed/article/172/suppl_2/34/4578212Clark, C. (2018, Dec. 30). Military Code of Ethics. https://careertrend.com/about-6825168- military-code-ethics.htmlHagendorff, T. (2020). The ethics of AI ethics: An evaluation of guidelines. Minds and Machines, 30(1), 99-120.

Meier, M. W., & Hill, J. T. (2018). Targeting, the law of war, and the uniform code of military justice. Vand. J. Transnat’l L., 51, 787.

Powers, R. (2019, Dec. 12). Military Ethics and Conflicts of Interest. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/military-ethics-and-conflicts-of-interest-3332000

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