Reading for War

FORCOMD Commanders' PME Activity 2020-2021 | 16 Aviation Brigade

By 16th Aviation Brigade December 9, 2020

On Nov 19, 16 Avn Bde chose the book Redefining the Modern Military – The Intersection of Profession and Ethics edited by Nathan Finney and Tyrell Mayfield, to conduct the Forces Commander’s PME activity. Finney is an officer in the U.S. Army and Mayfield is an officer in the U.S. Air Force. Both are well known for their published works and as co-founders of 'The Strategy Bridge' (a Friend and Partner of The Cove).

This edited collection examines the changing character of military professionalism and the role of ethics in the twenty-first century. The authors of the book range from active-duty military to academics to non-uniformed professionals on the battlefield, who delve into whether the concepts of Samuel Huntington, Morris Janowitz and Sir John Hackett still apply, how training and continuing education play a role in defining a profession, and if a universal code of ethics is required for the military as a profession.

Led by the RSM 16 Aviation Brigade (WO1 Trudy Casey), this PME activity was a joint effort with our units. The book was divided up and units were required to discuss, draw comparisons and/or question the information that was being presented.

As you can see in the recordings, members of the Brigade explored a number of parallels between various professional organisations and attempted to draw conclusions as to how ‘we’ are actually a professional organisation and ‘we’ are held in high regard in the eye of the general public. The term we, clearly suggests Army as an organisation and more broadly the ADF.

The various conversations drew similar conclusions in that we are a professional organisation and the balance of morals and ethics, at times, can be a very fine one. This was accentuated via a number of examples and in particular the use of an atrocity in the Vietnam War where participants clearly drew the line at barbaric behaviour and a ‘win at all costs’ mentality. If this was always the case, morality and ethical behaviour would be in great jeopardy.  

Overall, the activity went very well and whilst no one in the filming of the videos will be seen as a burgeoning movie star, it can be said that the requirement to delve into a topic that generally only occurs on career courses was a worthwhile one that has broadened the awareness and understanding of the convergence of ethics and professionalism in the Army. 













16th Aviation Brigade

The 16th Aviation Brigade (16 Avn Bde) is an aviation brigade of the Australian Army. The 16th Aviation Brigade currently commands most of the Australian Army's aviation units.

Formed on 2 April 2002 from the amalgamation of the Aviation Support Group and the 1st Division's Aviation unit, it is headquartered in Enoggera, Queensland with units based throughout Australia.


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

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