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page updated/reviewed 5 June 07
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The last temptation is the greatest treason: to do the right deed for the wrong reason.
--- T. S. Eliot

Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless,
and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.
--- Samuel Johnson

The good people sleep much better at night than the bad people.
Of course, the bad people enjoy the waking hours much more.
--- Woody Allen

I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us.
Pigs treat us as equals.
--- Winston Churchill

It follows that it was not a very wonderful action, or contrary to the common practice of mankind, if we did accept an empire that was offered to us, and refused to give it up under the pressure of three of the strongest motives, fear, honour, and interest. And it was not we who set the example, for it has always been law that the weaker should be subject to the stronger. Besides, we believed ourselves to be worthy of our position, and so you thought us till now, when calculations of interest have made you take up the cry of justice- a consideration which no one ever yet brought forward to hinder his ambition when he had a chance of gaining anything by might. And praise is due to all who, if not so superior to human nature as to refuse dominion, yet respect justice more than their position compels them to do.
--- Thucydides, in The History of the Peloponnesian War, translated by Richard Crawley

Overall/General ResourcesBack to Top

Ethics of War & Uses of the MilitaryBack to Top Torture?Back to Top Ethical Decision MakingBack to Top Organizations & ConferencesBack to Top U.S. GovernmentBack to Top Joint/DoDBack to Top
  • DoD Standards of Conduct Office (SOCO)
    • "We invite you to use this resource to understand the ethical standards that apply to every DoD employee, both civilian and military."
    • "The General Counsel is also the DoD Designated Agency Ethics Official (DAEO) who oversees the ethics and standards of conduct programs throughout DoD, including providing guidance to the Army, Navy, Air Force, and DoD Agencies."

  • Joint Ethics Regulations
  • DoD Directive 5500.7, Standards of Conduct (local copy)

  • Joint Services Conference on Professional Ethics (JSCOPE) is an organization of military professionals, academics and others formed to discuss ethical issues relevant to the military. The Conference meets each year in late January in Washington, D.C., to present and discuss academic papers. This site is hosted by the U.S. Air Force Academy

  • Ethics and the Armed Forces, bibliography by Naval War College library (local copy)

Air ForceBack to Top ArmyBack to Top NavyBack to Top MarineBack to Top Coast GuardBack to Top InternationalBack to Top Values and Ethics Case StudiesBack to Top Military Journal ArticlesBack to Top Standards of ConductBack to Top Code of ConductBack to Top Oath of OfficeBack to Top
  • The Military Oath of Office, with comments, by Col Orwyn Sampson, in AU-24, Concepts for AF Leadership

  • The Oath of Office - A Historical Guide to Moral Leadership, by Keskel, in Air & Space Power Journal - includes changes over the years

    U.S. Federal and Military Officer Oath of Office

  • 5 USCode Sec. 3331 (01/24/94) Oath of Office
    (Title 5, Part III, Subpart B, Chapter 33, Subchapter II, Sec. 3331)
      Sec. 3331. - Oath of office - An individual, except the President, elected or appointed to an office of honor or profit in the civil service or uniformed services, shall take the following oath: ''I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.'' This section does not affect other oaths required by law.

  • 5 USCode Sec. 2905 (01/24/94) Oath; renewal
    (Title 5, Part III, Subpart A, Chapter 29, Subchapter I, Sec. 2905)
      Sec. 2905. - Oath; renewal
        (a) - An employee of an Executive agency or an individual employed by the government of the District of Columbia who, on original appointment, subscribed to the oath of office required by section 3331 of this title is not required to renew the oath because of a change in status so long as his service is continuous in the agency in which he is employed, unless, in the opinion of the head of the Executive agency, the Secretary of a military department with respect to an employee of his department, or the Commissioners of the District of Columbia, the public interest so requires.

        (b) - An individual who, on appointment as an employee of a House of Congress, subscribed to the oath of office required by section 3331 of this title is not required to renew the oath so long as his service as an employee of that House of Congress is continuous

    Enlisted Oath

  • 10 USCcode Sec. 502 (01/24/94) Enlistment oath, and who may administer
    (Title 10, Subtitle A, Part II, Chapter 31, Sec. 502)
      Sec. 502. - Enlistment oath: who may administer
        Each person enlisting in an armed force shall take the following oath: ''I, _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.'' This oath may be taken before any commissioned officer of any armed force

Honor CodesBack to Top Other Creeds & CodesBack to Top
  • Airman's Creed
  • Soldier's Creed
  • Sailor's Creed
  • NCO Creed

  • The Warrior’s Code (local copy), by French, paper at JSCOPE, 2001
  • The Code of the Warrior: the Values and Ideals of Warrior Cultures throughout History, book by Shannon E. French

  • "The Warrior Creed" by Robert L. Humphrey, 1923-1997 (Iwo Jima Marine)
    • Wherever I go, everyone is a little bit safer because I am there.
    • Wherever I am, anyone in need has a friend.
    • Whenever I return home, everyone is happy I am there.

  • Other creeds

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