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Purple Virtues: Curing Unhealthy Interservice Rivalry
Eric A. Ash
|Dewey Subject Code:||355|
Full Title: Critical Examination of C-130 Programmed Depot Maintenance (PDM) Induction Methodology: Determining PDM Intervals
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Unhealthy interservice rivalry due to poor ethical conduct on the part of individuals and the general military bureaucratic system has long been, and continues to be, problematic for harmonious joint military activity. This paper argues a common code of military virtues would help promote healthy interservice competition and retard unhealthy rivalry by improving the ethical focus of jointness. The study begins with analysis of interservice rivalry, assessing causes and situational variables. Rivalry is traditional and exists due to competing paradigms based on functional differences and competition for resources. It is personal, and it is institutional. Interservice competition itself is not a bad thing-for it can produce initiative, efficiency, and esprit de corps. If manifested in lying or other breaches of integrity, however, interservice rivalry becomes unhealthy to working relations between the military services. This was the situation in the historical case study of the "Revolt of the Admirals" in 1949. After showing unhealthy interservice rivalry at work in this case, this study analyzes ethics, integrity, values, and virtues to argue virtues are fundamental to healthy jointness. Presently the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marines have different "core values" to help members focus on professional performance. Yet, all members of the same profession of arms, regardless of service component, should have a common virtuous bond-which different core values may not effectively promote. A better system would be to use the West Point motto, "Duty, Honor, Country," or a DoD code of virtues, since virtues correspond more appropriately than values to morality and ethics. Suggested in the paper is a code of cardinal virtues, based on the four ancient cardinal virtues-prudence (or wisdom), fortitude (courage), temperance (selflessness), and justice (truthfulness). If leadership implements it properly through a continuing educational program, a code of virtues could help cure unhealthy interservice rivalry as it exists today.
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