The volume includes articles by Admiral Arliegh Burke and Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale that speak from long personal experience regarding the topics of integrity and moral courage. Articles throughout the book stress the effects of leadership ethics on a unit’s combat readiness and ability to person successfully its missions. Also found in the book are articles that pertain to ethics and emerging military technologies, ethics and civil-military relations, and ethics with respect to leadership in specific historical events such as the failure of leadership in the Iraqi prison at Abu Graib.
The focus of the volume is not “bad apples” in the service but rather the development of “good apples” in a “good barrel.” It argues that regardless of rank or position, leaders in the Navy can affect mission readiness and mission success through ethical leadership and personal example. In so doing, every leader also strengthens the profession of arms. Further, the articles taken collectively contend that ethics is integral to leadership and that attempts to compartmentalize ethics or separate it from leadership is a failure to fully understand the requirements and expectations of those in the profession of arms. Every member of the armed services has been entrusted with a special confidence by the American people that require commitment to the ideals and values of the Constitution. This spans American naval history, culture, and political perspectives and provides naval leaders an honored and unique position in American society. Trust assumes ethical behavior, ethical decision making, ethical warfighting, and ethical leadership.