Ethical decision-making for homeland security
Nelson, Aaron G.
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The thesis suggests that homeland security personnel lack a uniform method to make sound and defensible ethical decisions. Building on a foundation of classical ethical thought, it is established that ethics are essential to the work of homeland security. Philosophical underpinnings include virtue ethics, deontology, utilitarianism, decision-making practices, and values common to the homeland security enterprise. Real-world case studies were examined in an attempt to understand and demonstrate what can happen if ethics are neglected, considered incompletely or incorrectly, or thoughtfully applied. Case studies include the response to Hurricane Katrina, motivation and thought behind terrorism, and the discussion on torture. Examples of good ethics programs were analyzed, including the Canadian Defense Ethics Program and the Wildfire Fire Leadership Development Program. From this research, a conceptual framework for understanding was developed. The DRIVE framework (Duty, Respect, Integrity, Vision, Ends/Expected outcomes) is proposed to give homeland security personnel the tools necessary to evaluate a situation, make a decision, and review it retrospectively. The framework is easy to remember, flexible to allow for individual differences, yet comprehensive enough to encompass classical ethical thought, common values, and decision-making. The thesis recommends developing an ethics-training program for homeland security, using DRIVE as a foundation.
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