Monday, March 21, 2016

The future of open-source as we know it...

4 August 2008

how far is far ?



















Linux is the new frontier, where is it going to take us, especially since monopolies exist in the desktop space as well as in the miniaturised & internet world? Is entrepreneurship in the IC&T world over-rated ? Here are some basics, for us to consider...

BSD


(Berkeley Software Distribution) The software distribution facility of the
Computer Systems Research Group (CSRG) of the University of California at Berkeley.
CSRG helped develop the TCP/IP protocols for DARPA and the ARPAnet and released
them in the early 1980s along with the Unix source code from AT&T. BSD charged for
the media, and a license from AT&T was required for use. Throughout the 1980s,
this operating system release from BSD was known as "BSD Unix."



Bill Joy ran the group until 1982 when he co-founded Sun Microsystems, bringing
4.2BSD with him as the foundation of SunOS. The last BSD version released by BSD
was 4.4BSD.



Many Offshoots
In the 1990s, the AT&T kernel was removed from the BSD release, and several
different groups developed new kernels to replace the AT&T code.



BSD/386 and BSD/OS


In 1991, former CSRG members founded Berkeley Software Design, Inc.,
Colorado Springs, CO, and released BSD/386 for the Intel platform.
A decade later, Wind River Systems (www.windriver.com) acquired
BSDI's software assets and turned the OS into its
BSD/OS Internet Server product.



FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD


Out of all open source BSD operating systems, FreeBSD (www.freebsd.org) is the
most widely used. It runs on Intel and Alpha platforms and is known for its
ease of use. NetBSD (www.netbsd.org) runs on the greatest number of platforms,
and OpenBSD (www.openbsd.org) is the most security-oriented. OpenBSD evolved
from NetBSD and also runs on a variety of hardware. A long-established BSD
support site can be found at www.daemonnews.org.


BS 7799

(British Standard 7799) A code of practice for information assurance originally
developed in the U.K. in 1995. It later became the basis of the ISO 17799
standards.


bank switching

Engaging and disengaging electronic circuits. Bank switching is used when the
design of a system prohibits all circuits from being addressed or activated at
the same time, requiring that one unit be turned on while the others are
turned off.


Banyan Vines

ePresence

(ePresence, Westboro, MA) A well-established consulting company specializing in
systems integration and secure identity management that was acquired in 2004 by
Unisys. Its history dates back to 1983 when it was founded as
Banyan Systems, Inc., named after the Banyan tree.

Banyan was known for its sophisticated VINES network operating system and
Streettalk directory products, which were way ahead of their time and which became
dominant in federal government before Novell and Microsoft made major inroads.
Banyan discontinued its products in 1999, but used its vast experience to
reposition itself as a consulting services organization. In 2000, Banyan acquired
ePresence, Inc., a privately held company specializing in Web design and
development, and changed its name to reflect its e-business offerings.
See VINES, Streettalk, BeyondMail and Intelligent Messaging.

[OpenBSD]

Copyright Policy

    *


      Goal

      Copyright law is complex, OpenBSD policy is simple - OpenBSD strives to
maintain the spirit of the original Berkeley Unix copyrights.



      OpenBSD can exist as it does today because of the example set by the
Computer Systems Research Group at Berkeley and the battles which they and
others fought to create a relatively un-encumbered Unix source distribution.



      The ability of a freely redistributable "Berkeley" Unix to move forward
on a competitive basis with other operating systems depends on the willingness
of the various development groups to exchange code amongst themselves and with
other projects. Understanding the legal issues surrounding copyright is
fundamental to the ability to exchange and re-distribute code, while honoring
the spirit of the copyright and concept of attribution is fundamental to promoting
the cooperation of the people involved.

    *


      The Berkeley Copyright

      The Berkeley copyright poses no restrictions on private or commercial use
of the software and imposes only simple and uniform requirements for maintaining
copyright notices in redistributed versions and crediting the originator of the
material only in advertising.



      For instance:

       * Copyright (c) 1982, 1986, 1990, 1991, 1993
       * The Regents of the University of California.  All rights reserved.
       *
       * Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without
       * modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions
       * are met:
       * 1. Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright
       *    notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.
       * 2. Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright
       *    notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the
       *    documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.
       * 3. All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this software
       *    must display the following acknowledgement:
       * This product includes software developed by the University of
       * California, Berkeley and its contributors.
       * 4. Neither the name of the University nor the names of its contributors
       *    may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software
       *    without specific prior written permission.
       *
       * THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY THE REGENTS AND CONTRIBUTORS ``AS IS'' AND
       * ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE
       * IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE
       * ARE DISCLAIMED.  IN NO EVENT SHALL THE REGENTS OR CONTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE
       * FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL
       * DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS
       * OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION)
       * HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT
       * LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY
       * OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF
       * SUCH DAMAGE.
       *



      Berkeley rescinded the 3rd term (the advertising term) on 22 July 1999.
Verbatim copies of the Berkeley license in the OpenBSD tree have that term removed.
In addition, many 3rd-party BSD-style licenses consist solely of the first two
terms.



      Because the OpenBSD copyright imposes no conditions beyond those imposed by
the Berkeley copyright, OpenBSD can hope to share the same wide distribution and
applicability as the Berkeley distributions. It follows however, that OpenBSD
cannot include material which includes copyrights which are more restrictive than
the Berkeley copyright, or must relegate this material to a secondary status,
i.e. OpenBSD as a whole is freely redistributable, but some optional components
may not be.

    *


      Copyright Law

      While the overall subject of copyright law is far beyond the scope of this document, some basics are in order. Under the current copyright law, copyrights are implicit in the creation of a new work and reside with the creator, unless otherwise assigned. In general the copyright applies only to the new work, not the material the work was derived from, nor those portions of the derivative material included in the new work.



      Copyright law admits to three general categories of works:

      Original Work
          A new work that is not derived from an existing work.
      Derivative Work
          Work that is derived from, includes or amends existing works.
      Compilations
          A work that is a compilation of existing new and derivative works.



      The fundamental concept is that there is primacy of the copyright, that is a
copyright of a derivative work does not affect the rights held by the owner of the
copyright of the original work, rather only the part added. Likewise the copyright
of a compilation does not affect the rights of the owner of the included works,
only the compilation as an entity.



      It is vitally important to understand that copyrights are broad protections
as defined by national and international copyright law. The "copyright notices"
usually included in source files are not copyrights, but rather notices that a
party asserts that they hold copyright to the material or to part of the material.
Typically these notices are associated with license terms which grant permissions
subject to copyright law and with disclaimers that state the position of the
copyright holder/distributor with respect to liability surrounding use of the
material.

    *


      Permissions - the flip side

      Because copyrights arise from the creation of a work, rather than through a
registration process, there needs to be a practical way to extend permission to
use a work beyond what might be allowed by "fair use" provisions of the copyright
laws.



      This permission typically takes the form of a "release" or "license" included
 in the work, which grants the additional uses beyond those granted by copyright
law, usually subject to a variety of conditions. At one extreme sits
"public domain" where the originator asserts that he imposes no restrictions on use
of the material, at the other restrictive clauses that actually grant no additional
rights or impose restrictive, discriminatory or impractical conditions on use of
the work.



      Again, an important point to note is that the release and conditions can only
 apply to the portion of the work that was originated by the copyright holder - the
holder of a copyright on a derivative work can neither grant additional permissions
for use of the original work, nor impose more restrictive conditions for use of that
work.



      Because copyright arises from the creation of a work and not the text or a
registration process, removing or altering a copyright notice or associated release
terms has no bearing on the existence of the copyright, rather all that is
accomplished is to cast doubt upon whatever rights the person making the
modifications had to use the material in the first place. Likewise, adding terms
and conditions in conflict with the original terms and conditions does not
supersede them, rather it casts doubts on the rights of the person making the
amendments to use the material and creates confusion as to whether anyone can use
the amended version or derivatives thereof.

 

   Finally, releases are generally binding on the material that they are
distributed with. This means that if the originator of a work distributes that work
with a release granting certain permissions, those permissions apply as stated,
without discrimination, to all persons legitimately possessing a copy of the work.
That means that having granted a permission, the copyright holder can not
retroactively say that an individual or class of individuals are no longer
granted those permissions. Likewise should the copyright holder decide to
"go commercial" he can not revoke permissions already granted for the use of the
work as distributed, though he may impose more restrictive permissions in his
future distributions of that work.



    *
      Specific Cases



      This section attempts to summarize the position of OpenBSD relative to some
commonly encountered copyrights.



      Berkeley

          The Berkeley copyright is the model for the OpenBSD copyright. It retains
the rights of the copyright holder, while imposing minimal conditions on the use of
the copyrighted material. Material with Berkeley copyrights, or copyrights closely
adhering to the Berkeley model can generally be included in OpenBSD.



      AT&T

          As part of its settlement with AT&T, Berkeley included an AT&T copyright
notice on some of the files in 4.4BSD lite and lite2. The terms of this license
are identical to the standard Berkeley license.

          Additionally, OpenBSD includes some other AT&T code with non-restrictive
copyrights, such as the reference implementation of awk.



      Caldera


          Caldera (now known as the SCO group) is the current owner of the Unix code
 copyrights. On 23 January 2002, the original Unix code (versions 1 through seven,
including 32V) was freed by Caldera. This code is now available under a
4-term BSD-style license. As a result, it is now possible to incorporate real
Unix code into OpenBSD (though this code is quite old and generally requires
significant changes to bring it up to date).



      DEC, Sun, other manufacturers/software houses.

          In general OpenBSD does not include material copyrighted by manufacturers
or software houses. Material may be included where the copyright owner has granted
general permission for reuse without conditions, with terms similar to the
Berkeley copyright, or where the material is the product of an employee and the
employer's copyright notice effectively releases any rights they might have to the
work.



     Carnegie-Mellon (CMU, Mach)

          The Carnegie-Mellon copyright is similar to the Berkeley copyright, except
that it requests that derivative works be made available to Carnegie-Mellon.
Because this is only a request and not a condition, such material can still be
included in OpenBSD. It should be noted that existing versions of Mach are still
subject to AT&T copyrights, which prevents the general distribution of Mach sources.



      Apache

          The original Apache copyright is similar to the Berkeley copyright,
except that it stipulates that products derived from the code may not have
"Apache" in their name. The purpose of this clause is to avoid a situation in
which another party releases a modified version of the code named in such a way
to make users think that it is the "official" version. This is not an issue with
OpenBSD because OpenBSD is a Compilation, and not a Derived Work. Source code
published under version 2 of the Apache license cannot be included into
OpenBSD. As a consequence, OpenBSD now maintains its own version of Apache based
on version 1.3.29. The OpenBSD version includes many enhancements and bugfixes.



      ISC

          The ISC copyright is functionally equivalent to a two-term BSD copyright
with language removed that is made unnecessary by the Berne convention. This is the
preferred license for new code incorporated into OpenBSD. A sample license is
included in the source tree as /usr/src/share/misc/license.template.

      GNU General Public License, GPL, LGPL, copyleft, etc.



          The GNU Public License and licenses modeled on it impose the restriction
that source code must be distributed or made available for all works that are
derivatives of the GNU copyrighted code.


          While this may be a noble strategy in terms of software sharing,
it is a condition that is typically unacceptable for commercial use of software.
As a consequence, software bound by the GPL terms can not be included in the kernel
or "runtime" of OpenBSD, though software subject to GPL terms may be included as
development tools or as part of the system that are "optional" as long as such use
does not result in OpenBSD as a whole becoming subject to the GPL terms.


          As an example, GCC and other GNU tools are included in the OpenBSD tool
chain. However, it is quite possible to distribute a system for many applications
without a tool chain, or the distributor can choose to include a tool chain as an
optional bundle which conforms to the GPL terms.



      NetBSD

          Much of OpenBSD is originally based on and evolved from NetBSD, since
some of the OpenBSD developers were involved in the NetBSD project. The general
NetBSD license terms are compatible with the Berkeley license and permit such use.
Material subject only to the general NetBSD license can generally be included in
OpenBSD.

          In the past, NetBSD has included material copyrighted by individuals
who have imposed license conditions beyond that of the general NetBSD license,
but granted the NetBSD Foundation license to distribute the material. Such material
can not be included in OpenBSD as long as the conditions imposed are at odds with
the OpenBSD license terms or releases from those terms are offered on a
discriminatory basis.

      FreeBSD

          Most of FreeBSD is also based on Berkeley licensed material or includes
copyright notices based on the Berkeley model. Such material can be included in
OpenBSD, while those parts that are subject to GPL or various individual copyright
terms that are at odds with the OpenBSD license can not be included in OpenBSD.

 

    Linux

          Most of Linux is subject to GPL style licensing terms and therefore can
not be included in OpenBSD. Individual components may be eligible, subject to the
terms of the originator's copyright notices. Note that Linux "distributions" may
also be subject to additional copyright claims of the distributing organization,
either as a compilation or on material included that is not part of the Linux core.


      X, XFree86, X.Org


          X, X.Org or XFree86 are not parts of OpenBSD, rather X.Org and parts of
XFree86 3.3.6 are distributed with many OpenBSD ports as a convenience to the user,
subject to applicable license terms.



      Shareware, Charityware, Freeware, etc.



          Most "shareware" copyright notices impose conditions for redistribution,
use or visibility that are at conflict with the OpenBSD project goals. Review on a
case-by-case basis is required as to whether the wording of the conditions is
acceptable in terms of conditions being requested vs. demanded and whether the
spirit of the conditions is compatible with goals of the OpenBSD project.



      Public Domain



          While material that is truly entered into the "Public Domain" can be
included in OpenBSD, review is required on a case by case basis. Frequently the
"public domain" assertion is made by someone who does not really hold all rights
under Copyright law to grant that status or there are a variety of conditions
imposed on use. For a work to be truly in the "Public Domain" all rights are
abandoned and the material is offered without restrictions.



OpenBSD www@openbsd.org


$OpenBSD: policy.html,v 1.25 2007/04/25 06:43:32 tedu Exp $ 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Lying to Ourselves: The Demise of Military Integrity

28 March 2015 at 03:14 24 March 2015 Culture, Defense By David W. Barno and Nora Bensahel Two US Army soldiers during an exercise at Fort McCoy, July 15, 2009. Image: Sgt. 1st Class Mark Bell/Flickr This article was originally published by War on the Rocks on 10 March 2015. Leaders lie “in the routine performance of their duties,” and “ethical and moral transgressions [occur] across all levels” of the organization. Leaders have also become “ethically numb,” using “justifications and rationalizations” to overcome any ethical doubts. This “tacit acceptance of dishonesty… [facilitates] hypocrisy” among leaders. These quotations sound like they are ripped from the headlines about some major corporate scandal. But they’re not describing Enron before its collapse in 2001, or firms like Lehman Brothers and Countrywide before the 2008 financial crisis. Instead, they describe one of the country’s most respected institutions: the U.S. Army. Leonard Wong and Stephen Gerras, who are both professors at the U.S. Army War College, just published a devastating study called Lying to Ourselves: Dishonesty in the Army Profession. They state up front that indications of ethical and moral problems can be found throughout the entire U.S. military, not just in the Army. These include (but certainly are not limited to) U.S. Air Force personnel cheating on tests about nuclear launch systems, and U.S. Navy admirals and others sharing classified information in exchange for gifts and bribes. Last year, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel appointed a two-star admiral as the first Senior Advisor for Military Professionalism to address mounting concerns about ethical issues throughout the force. Nevertheless, this study of the Army deserves special attention, because its findings are so broad and deeply disturbing. Wong and Gerras find that it is “literally impossible” for Army officers to meet all the requirements imposed on them, but that it is also unacceptable for them to fail to meet the requirements. They routinely square this impossible circle by lying – about what they’ve done, who they’ve trained, and to what standard. Yet they maintain a self-image of integrity by rationalizing their lies in various ways. They no longer see this pervasive dishonesty as dishonorable, or even wrong. As Wong and Gerras argue: ‘White’ lies and ‘innocent’ mistruths have become so commonplace in the U.S. Army that there is often no ethical angst, no deep soul-searching, and no righteous outrage when examples of routine dishonesty are encountered. Mutually agreed deception exists in the Army because many decisions to lie, cheat, or steal are simply no longer viewed as ethical choices. This is a particularly damning judgment for an institution that worked so hard to rebuild its honesty and integrity after Vietnam, when the U.S. military was in tatters. By the war’s end in 1973, the services were deeply torn by drug use, racial violence, indiscipline, and ethical lapses. As Army leaders sought to address these immense challenges, one of their highest priorities was to candidly examine and restore the ethical standards of their officers and non-commissioned officers (NCOs). During the 1970s, the Army’s senior-most leaders commissioned numerous studies that examined all aspects of this deep breach of military professionalism. These self-critical assessments were notable for their candor and uniformly dismal view of the state of Army leader and institutional ethical underpinnings. Army leaders responded by creating a uniform set of values that both formalized and subsequently promoted the highest professional standards across the force. These Army Values were spelled out in the (inevitable) acronym LDRSHP: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage. More than just a collection of virtues, these new Army Values – which remain in place today – became a lodestone for professional conduct and were quickly embraced by the force. All soldiers wore them on their dog tags around their necks. Units held professional development sessions to discuss their meaning and importance. Over time, the Army Values became a core part of the Army culture. Leaders and soldiers of all ranks could and were held accountable by one another to meet these new professional standards. One of this column’s authors felt that impact directly, as a junior officer coming into the Army right after the Vietnam War. Army unit leaders often told junior officers of that era that they could professionally survive many different types of failure – flunking a motor pool inspection, for example, or failing a field training evaluation – but that they could not survive a failure of integrity. By the 1991 Gulf War, the Army had largely rediscovered its ethical compass. Those who served at that time could feel a dramatic shift into a new era of standards and accountability, honesty and trust from the dark days following Vietnam.
So with this impressive history of ethical reform, why is the Army facing a crisis of institutional integrity once again? How could an institution that remains so publicly committed to its values and professionalism routinely accept such dishonest and deceitful behaviors? We believe that there are at least three key reasons. First, the explosion of information technology has changed not only how the Army fights wars, but how it demands and collects information. When the Army communicated through couriered papers, radios, or even telephones, there were physical and practical limits as to how much information could be requested, collected, and analyzed. The labor-intensive nature of responding to these requirements also limited their profusion, as did the inevitable time delays of an analog world – a single piece of paper could only travel so quickly throughout the bureaucratic system. Those days are now long gone. Practical limits on reporting requirements for military leaders have disappeared in an era of email, shared digital communications, and unlimited bandwidth (in both combat and peacetime) to accommodate any amount of information instantaneously. Even a young lieutenant at a remote outpost in Afghanistan often has Internet access – and thus can be required to provide multiple daily reports, detailed explanations of past and upcoming operations (often with digital photos), and to complete mandatory briefings and training tasks. Those posted outside the combat zones are doubly inundated with these ever-growing requirements, with no relief in sight. Second, the careerism that inevitably creeps into militaries after wars – and particularly during inevitable postwar drawdowns – remains alive and well. Zero defects and perfect scores on mandatory training subjects are required to remain competitive with peers in an ever-shrinking force. Being the outlier who reports failing to meet 100 percent of compulsory requirements may be the ethically correct choice, but it may also destroy a career. Furthermore, Wong and Gerras find that senior Army officers are clearly complicit in maintaining the expectations of perfect reporting while knowing full well that such outcomes are simply impossible. This erodes individual integrity and promotes deference to a group culture of duplicity as “the Army way.” In effect, the Army’s senior leaders are condoning systemic lying throughout the service by failing to recognize and rein in the aggregate effects of their utterly unconstrained requirements. Finally, the corrosive effects of 13 years of combat operations have helped justify a culture of doing what’s needed to take care of the troops, finish one’s combat tour, and move on. The moral compunction to take care of troops in harm’s way by focusing on wartime tasks (planning the next patrol) can readily justify making ethical compromises for bureaucratic compliance requirements (completing sexual harassment training) that never cease, even in combat. The junior leaders forced to respond to these unconstrained demands all too often simply engage in what Wong and Gerras call “checking the box,” “pencil-whipping,” and “giving them what they want.” The military equivalent of the business world’s incessant focus on metrics and measurable markers of performance has further contributed to this often near-mindless collection of statistics from every level, even in the combat zones – even though Wong and Gerras note that few collectors of the information at higher headquarters actually believe in the data they are collecting. Yet ironically, unlike after Vietnam, the military’s standing in the public square is now unequalled. Year after year, the U.S. military is ranked number one in public confidence among all the nation’s institutions. And by all measures, the all-volunteer force has fought the prolonged and painful wars of the last decade and a half with courage, resilience, and a relatively high degree of professionalism. War crimes and misconduct, desertions and drug use, indiscipline and blatant lying to public officials have been mercifully rare. Today’s ethical problems may be less obvious or visible than those that plagued the Army after Vietnam, but they are no less serious. This quiet cancer in military integrity can have pernicious effects. The pervasive subtle falsehoods that now seem to affect all Army reporting can have – and may have already had – profoundly harmful consequences. At the tactical level, Wong and Gerras show that some Army officers fail to accurately report engagements or to request permission for indirect fire, because they see the reporting process as too demanding. Over time, such seemingly innocuous deceptions cause the higher headquarters receiving these reports to consistently undercount violence and overestimate success – thus distorting the entire picture of how the war is unfolding. Moreover, subsequently arriving replacement units will be less prepared to deal with the more deadly realties of the battlefield they will actually inherit when their combat rotation begins. The painted picture will always be far rosier than underreported local reality. At the operational level, ethical erosion compounded by massive reporting requirements undermines the Army’s concept of Mission Command. Mission Command is the way the Army fights: it espouses decentralized command and control and places great authority and trust in the hands of junior leaders. The profusion of reporting requirements demanded of these same leaders, and the tacit acceptance by senior leaders that reports will be false or inaccurate, undermines the very foundation of trust upon which Mission Command is built. Within the Army, this may be the most dangerous consequence of this silent ethical breakdown – that trust is dissolved between leaders and led, between seniors and subordinates. Such evident hypocrisy among seniors can all too easily drive cynicism to replace critical trust, especially among junior officers. A schism between senior and junior officers rooted in this hypocrisy – where, as one junior officer told us, “the audio and the video of senior leaders don’t match” – will drive leaders of integrity out of the force and may ultimately cause others outside and inside the Army to lose faith in the fundamental integrity of the institution. But it is at the strategic level where the effects of this erosion of military ethics may be the most dangerous. To take one important example, Wong and Gerras were frequently told that the readiness assessments of partner forces in Iraq and Afghanistan were an example of ethical deception. These critically important assessments rated the ability of Iraqi and Afghan forces to fight on their own, without U.S. assistance. Yet these ratings usually depended more on the U.S. rotational unit deployment cycle than on the actual capabilities of those partner forces. In other words, partner units received low ratings when a new U.S. unit arrived, better ratings over time, and high ratings right before that unit left – only to plummet once again when a new unit arrived. This rollercoaster annual cycle would almost seem comical were it not for the fact that U.S. strategy in both Iraq and Afghanistan rested heavily on turning over the battlefield to these very same local national forces. This means that senior U.S. military and civilian decision-makers relied on fundamentally flawed data when assessing the progress towards this critical strategic objective. Thus, their decisions about whether the war should continue or end and at what pace U.S. and allied forces should withdraw were deeply distorted. Wong and Gerras’ report is courageous, hard-hitting, and damning. It strongly indicts the Army’s top leaders – and, by extension, the nation’s military leaders – for a lack of leadership. They describe an environment where these leaders are turning a blind eye to a tremendous problem that is in plain sight – and one that is obvious to every junior officer in their ranks. Senior Army leaders are insisting on the highest standards of professionalism and ethical standards – the adherence to Army Values – while at the very same time demanding results that drive their junior leaders to lie as the only means of meeting an unachievable miasma of mandatory requirements. Junior leaders must continually violate their integrity to meet the Army’s demands. Wong and Gerras recommend that the Army needs to acknowledge the problem of preserving integrity in a culture that promotes dishonesty, exercise restraint in generating requirements, and lead truthfully by expecting no more from its leaders than can be actually accomplished. These are certainly worthy reforms, and we strongly endorse their call for a central authority to vet all reporting requirements – something that we’ve described elsewhere as the need for creative destruction. But these recommendations do not go far enough. Their damning findings cry out for a top-to-bottom institutional soul-searching on the state of military ethics in an era of information and requirements overload. This ethical crisis will not be resolved by another catchy program or new Pentagon office. It can only be addressed by strong senior level leadership, marked by candor and transparency. Junior officers deserve public acknowledgement of the irreconcilable ethical conflicts they confront daily and must participate in building the changes needed to reconcile these impossible tensions. Their leaders must now demonstrate the moral courage to acknowledge the depth of this corrosive problem, to listen and seek advice from their subordinates, and to lead their force to a solution. But most importantly, the nation expects – and deserves – complete honesty and integrity from its military upon which so much of the nation’s security depends. Anything less will ultimately put the nation at risk by deeply eroding the foundations of its future strategic choices. You can help War on the Rocks expand – find out how. Lt. General David W. Barno, USA (Ret.) is a Distinguished Practitioner in Residence, and Dr. Nora Bensahel is a Distinguished Scholar in Residence, at the School of International Service at American University. Their column appears in War on the Rocks every other Tuesday.

Lying to Ourselves: The Demise of Military Integrity

Blog Archive