The Status of Noncombatants


JSCOPE 2004 attracted nearly 200 participants at the Hilton Springfield Hotel in Springfield, Virginia, once again, this year on 29 and 30 January.  Participants from six foreign countries attended, as well as cadets and midshipmen from all the US service academies.

Brigadier General Charles Dunlap, United States Air Force, presented the keynote address.  He examined the complexity of modern warfare and discussed some of the phenomena that blur the distinction between combatants and noncombatants.  He explained the nature of the threat and left us all with a better appreciation of the need for continued reflection on the strategic and moral issues that bear on war making.


CAPT Robert Schoultz, Director, Character Development, United States Naval Academy, was the after-dinner speaker.  He regaled us with stories about the risks actual soldiers have taken in recent wars in order to reduce risks to noncombatants.  His stirring presentation extolled the virtues of the warrior ethos manifested by the military personnel of the United States and her allies.  After his talk, he invited members of the audience to recount any stories they had of military personnel adhering to the principle of discrimination.  Many moving stories emerged of soldiers accepting great personal risk to protect noncombatants.


This meeting saw our inaugural undergraduate panel.  It was a very successful beginning.



The program and the actual papers presented appear elsewhere on the JSCOPE Web page.  The authors are listed below for your convenience.


Noncombatants: Rights and Responsibilities


“Terrorism and Response: A Moral Inquiry into the Killing of Noncombatants”

Dr. Camillo C. Bica, School of Visual Arts


“Nonlethal Weapons and Noncombatant Immunity: Can We Ever Justify Attacking Noncombatants?”

Captain Christopher Mayer, USM Academy at West Point


Noncombatants and Increased Risk to Soldiers


“The Ethics of Complex Contingencies: Operation IRAQI FREEDOM”

Lieutenant Colonel Tony Pfaff, USA


“On the Moral Importance of Noncombatants”

Major Michael Carlino, USA


“Are there Noncombatants in MOOTW and Homeland Security Activities?”

Dr. Eric Wingrove-Haugland, USCG Academy


Some New Ideas about Right Intention


“Warfare, Hell, and the Best Intentions:  Getting Rid of Right Intentions as a Jus ad Bellum Criterion”

Captain Marc O. Hedahl, USAF Academy


“Giving Right Intention Its Due”

Major Charles McIntyre, USAF Academy


“Double Effect, Double Intention, and Asymmetric Warfare”

Dr. Steven Lee, Visiting Fellow, USN Academy


Intersections of Morality in War and the Law


“Military Tribunals: Necessary Expedient or Lethal Impediment to the Moral Legitimacy of the War on Terror”

Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey S. Wilson, USM Academy at West Point


“Ethical Implications for Military Defense Attorneys Assigned to Represent Enemy Combatants in Military Commissions”

Lieutenant Keith Ryan, USCG Reserve, US Department of Health and Human Services


“The Maritime War on Terror and the Rights of Neutrals: In Need of a Course Change”

Midshipman Frank Megna, US Merchant Marine Academy


Jus ad Bellum: Protecting Noncombatants and the Causes of War


“War on Behalf of Noncombatants?”

Lieutenant Commander John D. Carlson, USNR, University of Chicago


“Worthy and Unworthy Wars: A Critique of Just War Reasoning”

Dr. Tim Challans, US Army Command and General Staff College


“Protecting the Innocent and Intervention”

Dr. Stephen D. Wrage, USN Academy


“Protecting Noncombatants from Biological Weapons:  The Rights and Obligations of States”

Captain Michael W. Brough, USM Academy at West Point


Jus in Bello:  Some Suggestions about Noncombatants and the Rules of Engagement


“Moral Obligations to a Modern Enemy: The Combatant/Noncombatant Distinction in Light of Terrorism”

Cadet First Class Brandon B. Cole, USAF Academy


“Five Steps to Noncombatant Protection”

Dr. Pauline M. Kaurin, Pacific Lutheran University


“Engaging Noncombatants and the Use or Moral Imagination”

Ms. Julia Ragatz, Marquette University


“From Three to One: “Rethinking the ‘Three-Block War’ and Humanitarian Operations in Combat”

Dr. Reuben E. Brigety II, American University


Jus in Bello: Precision Guided Munitions and Morality in War


“Beyond Precision: Issues of Morality and Decision Making in Minimizing Collateral Causalities”

Lieutenant Colonel Dwight A. Roblyer, USAF, National Defense Fellow, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


“The Moral Case for Improved Technology, Training and Intelligence”

Mr. Michael Skerker, University of Chicago


“Standoff Ethics”

Lieutenant Colonel Tim Cathcart, USAF, National Guard Bureau Staff


Jus in Bello: Direct Attacks on Noncombatants?


“May the Well-Being of Noncombatants be Directly Attacked as a Tool of War?”

Dr. Robert G. Kennedy, University of St. Thomas


“Countervalue Nuclear Warfare:  The Limit Case of Noncombatant Immunity”

Lieutenant Colonel John Mark Mattox, USA, Headquarters, United States European Command


“Noncombatant Immunity and Truman’s Decision”

Dr. Richard Schoonhoven, USM Academy at West Point


Jus in Bello: Some Blurred Distinctions


“Guerrillas, Terrorists, Contractors and Voters—A Case for a Sliding Scale of Partial Civilian Immunity”

Dr. Davida Kellogg, University of Maine


“The Ethics of Assassination: When are Political Leaders Legitimate Targets?”

Dr. Whitley R. P. Kaufman, University of Massachusetts-Lowell


“Applying the Rules of Just War Theory to Engineers in the Arms Industry”

Dr. Aaron Fichtelberg, University of North Carolina--Wilmington


“Intelligence Collection Efforts and the Combatant/Noncombatant Distinction: Permissions and Prohibitions on Information Gathering”

Major William D. Casebeer, USAF Academy


JSCOPE Undergraduate Panel


“A Moral Analysis of the Impact of War’s Destruction of Civil Services on Noncombatants: Atlanta and Baghdad

Midshipman John Pierczynski, USN Academy


“Do We Need to Reinterpret Combatant/Noncombatant Distinctions for Extended Occupational Forces Acting in an Empire-Like Capacity?”

Midshipman Tyson Meadors, USN Academy


“Double Effect”

Midshipman A.S. Martin, USN Academy





The members of the JSCOPE Executive Board for 2004-2005 are as follows:


Dr. Bill Rhodes, USAF Representative and Chairman

            8118 Greeenland Road

            Franktown, CO 80116


LTC Daniel Zupan, USA Representative

            Department of English

            United States Military Academy

            West Point, NY 10996-1791



Dr. Fran Harbour, Civilian Representative

            Dept. of Public/Int’l Affairs

            George Mason University

            4400 University Drive

            Fairfax, VA 22030


LCDR Dale Bateman, USCG Representative

                        Department of Humanities (DH)

                        US Coast Guard Academy

                        New London, CT 06320


Captain Robert Schoultz, USN Representative

                        Director, Character Development

                        United States Naval Academy

                        117 Decatur Road

                        Annapolis, Maryland 21402


Colonel Kenneth Strain, Canadian Forces Representative

Director of Defence Ethics,


MGen Pearkes Bldg

101 Colonel By drive

Ottawa Ontario Canada K1A OK2


Lieutenant Colonel Michael Campbell, USMC Representative

            Ethics Center

            United States Naval Academy

            Annapolis, Maryland 21402


In the meeting the board made several decisions.

1)  We decided to continue the undergraduate panel and to allow undergraduates to submit papers to a separate undergraduate category or submit them in the open category.  We further decided that an undergraduate paper submitted in the open category but rejected would automatically get consideration for the undergraduate category.  We decided that undergraduates must have a faculty sponsor who guides them in the composition of their papers.  To encourage more undergraduate submissions, it was decided that the Call for Papers (CFP) must go out by April.


2)  We decided to initiate a pilot Special Interest Group (SIG) panel on Intelligence Ethics.  MAJ William Casebeer will take the lead on this initiative and will coordinate with LTC Zupan on the CFP.


3)  We decided to have two submission dates for papers.  The first/early date will be for proposals.  The second will be for full papers.  The intent is to reduce the possibility that someone have a proposal approved yet fail to submit a paper, which has happened in the past.  We want to insure papers are complete and on the web prior to the beginning of the conference.


4)  Upon consultation with a lawyer, we concluded that our legal status is as an unincorporated association.


5)  We decided to investigate the possibility of publishing our proceedings.


6)  At the request of Allen Howes, we concurred that we would send a letter of invitation to the Australian Defense Force Academy.


7)  We agreed to continue to offer a reduced registration fee to undergraduates.


8)  We agreed that service representatives would contact their respective ROTC programs of colleges in the D.C. area in an effort to encourage greater undergraduate participation.


As a review:

            Rhodes’ term ends in ‘05

            Harbour’s term ends in ‘05

            Strain’s term ends TBD

            Zupan’s term ends in ‘06

            Schoultz’s term ends in ‘05


We want to thank Captain Bob Ayer and Lieutenant Colonel Gary Slyman for all their hard work, commitment, and professionalism while they served on the Executive Committee.  We also want to give a special thanks to Colonel Anthony Hartle who served for many years as chairman of JSCOPE and most recently as the U.S. Army representative.  He is retiring after forty years of commissioned service.



JSCOPE 2005 will occur January 27-28 in the same hotel.  “Current Ethical Issues Affecting the Military Profession" will continue as a perennial theme, suitable for papers, but the special topic for next year will be:


Preemptive War


The Call for Papers for JSCOPE 2005 will include details about the topic and paper submission requirements.



The papers presented this year, notable in their quality, were also impressive in their scope.  The authors merit special credit for their contributions to the continuing dialogue on professional ethics, and we owe a special thanks to Dr. Carl Ficarrotta, US Air Force Academy, who served as the Program Chair for 2004.  Dr. Ficarrotta also maintains the JSCOPE web site at (

JSCOPE remains the only long-standing international forum for the exchange of ideas concerning the conduct and character of men and women in uniform and the development of professional military ethics. JSCOPE’s success results entirely from the efforts of those who participate so effectively each year as authors and conference participants.  The members of the Board thank you for your insight and your professionalism.