In 2007 it was decided that with the huge growth in interest in normative issues within the military and in broader society, the climate was right for the foundation of a UK based International Defence Ethics Network, (IDEN) lead by Dr David Whetham. Primarily through the holding of annual conferences and the links that develop from the ensuing exchange of ideas and practical experience, these contacts will build into a permanent network that will provide a focus for informed discussion and debate in this important area. The term ‘defence’ has been deliberately chosen to go beyond a focus on military ethics and to embrace the broader political context within which it sits.
While this subject area is relatively well-served in North America, there is no established, regular defence or military ethics forum in the UK or Europe. While the US has its well-established annual International Symposium on Military Ethics and Canada’s Royal Military College has a conference series dedicated to Ethical Leadership, both the UK and Europe as a whole are left with ad hoc meetings to address specific issues. While the intent is to compliment the work that is already being done, given the wide experience of the British and European defence and academic communities in engaging with these issues, there is a requirement for a regular forum on this side of the Atlantic.