Assessing ethical reasoning among junior British army officers using the Army Intermediate Concept Measure (AICM)

James Arthur, David Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Army Officers face increased moral pressure in modern warfare, where character judgement and ethical judgement are vital. This article reports the results of a study of 242 junior British Army officers using the Army Intermediate Concept Measure, comprising a series of professionally oriented moral dilemmas developed for the UK context. Results are suggestive of appropriate application of Army values to the dilemmas and of ethical reasoning aligning with Army excellence. The sample does slightly less well, however, for justification than for action reasoning, and there are differences following initial training for infantry and artillery officers versus other branches of service. Dilemmas involving anti-torture methods and not covering up soldiers' failings generated best results compared to those requiring balance between compassion and mission, and negotiating personal relationships with military needs. Gender differences favouring women were less than those observed for other professional groups using similar measures. This research further develops a much-needed measure of ethical reasoning among junior Army officers, with potential for use among other ranks. This approach is advocated for other professional groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
JournalJournal of Military Ethics
Issue number00
Early online date23 Mar 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding: This work was supported by the John Templeton Foundation: [grant number 39932].


  • army
  • character
  • military
  • moral education
  • virtue


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