Skip to main content

19 April 2021

Defence Studies Professor helps develop ethics course for the US Navy

David Whetham contributes to new US Naval Community College programme

US Navy Sailors

Director of the King’s Centre for Military Ethics, Professor David Whetham has contributed to the development of a new Navy Ethics course, as part of a national effort to modernise the US Navy and prepare it for future military challenges. Professor Whetham was the only non-American to join a team of some of the top ethics and philosophy researchers in the US.

The ethics course development is part of a larger national initiative to establish a US Naval Community College, which would allow Navy sailors and certain Marines and Coast Guard enlistees across the world to work toward their college education while deployed overseas.

David Whetham is Professor of Ethics and the Military Profession in the Defence Studies Department of King’s College London. He is the Director of the King’s Centre for Military Ethics and delivers or coordinates the military ethics component of courses for between two and three thousand British and international officers a year at the UK’s Joint Services Command and Staff College. David supports military ethics education in many different countries and has held many Visiting Fellowships at various institutions. David is the Vice President and founding member of the European Chapter of the International Society for Military Ethics (Euro ISME).

Professor Whetham created the hugely successful Military Ethics and Medical Ethics playing cards. He has recently received a UKRI grant to research the ethical use of drones in emergency situations and was recently appointed as an assistant Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force to provide ethical insight into organisational failings for the Afghanistan Enquiry/Brereton Report.

It’s great to be involved with this initiative, and a privilege to be included in such a great team. The US Navy is being hugely ambitious here, and the investment they’re making in their serving personnel will provide real returns on an individual, professional and institutional level. Making ethics a core part of the US Naval Community College curriculum, and getting sailors to engage with and think through the ethical challenges they might face in the future as part of their professional lives is a key part of Navy preparedness. I’m delighted the feedback we’ve received so far from course attendees has been really positive.

Professor David Whetham

In this story

David Whetham

Professor of Ethics and the Military Profession