Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ethical Decisions

Your job is to make decisions. But your duty is to make the right decisions...the ethical decisions. In my first letter to all Flag and General Officers of the Navy and Marine Corps, sent the day I was confirmed as Secretary of the Navy, I stated this duty very frankly: "If we cannot do something ethically, if it is not in keeping with our values--then we just won't do it."

I want to restate that to each and everyone in the Naval Service...to make sure that every Sailor, Marine and civil servant knows that that is the standard. If we can't do something ethically, I don't want it done. We need to develop and maintain--within each of us individually, and collectively within the entire Naval Service--the character to make ethical decisions. 
Former Secretary of the Navy, John Dalton


Anonymous said...

vititCaptain Lambert,

This is a little confusing to an old Sailor, is it ethical to kill the enemy who will kill you if he gets the chance? We practiced continually during my entire Naval career and understood many years ago that our job was to eliminate the enemy as necessary, when the Navy’s primary concern is to determine if it is ethical we have lost our way and that will lead to our defeat. We followed orders and that’s what our job was, we did not consider whether it was ethical or not. Check with President Harry Truman, in his grave, if the decision to save American lives by dropping the first atomic bombs was an ethical decision.

Very Respectfully,

Anonymous said...


Apples and oranges.

SECNAV is an administrator responsible for providing Service capabilities, i.e., people and materiel. He does not direct combat operations.

Anonymous said...

March 29, 2012 8:59 AM

You are correct of course, and I must chastise myself for overlooking that, when the present SECNAV does his job in naming Navy ships for what would appear to be political reasons such as Murtha or Gabrielle Giffords, was that ethical, political or just dumb. He may have failed to meet the standards set down by the Honorable Former Secretary of the Navy, John Dalton.