Professional, Moral and Ethical Lessons From The War on Terrorism | Professional Education Group

Professional, Moral and Ethical Lessons from the War on Terrorism

Lt. General Richard C. Harding (USAF, Retired)

“Can we do that?!” It’s the core question of ethical and professional quandaries. For Lt. General Rich Harding, that question forms the theme of this course. Your professional obligations and aspirations may not be summoned in the command center during the most costly attack in U.S. history, but for each of your clients, their case is a matter of personal terror and your counsel must be just as steady and well-reasoned. From 9/11 through the current war against terrorism, the parallels Harding outlines will strike home.

Beyond the tactical decisions made in a moment of uncertainty, your profession also calls you to address macro-level issues of injustice. For General Harding, what began as a directive to curtail sexual assault in the Air Force blossomed into what is now military-wide policy. His methods of forming and implementing that policy serve as a sturdy guide for you in both your community obligations and in making sure that your office avoids the warning signs of tragedy.

His presentation is enriched by his participation in policy makers’ decisions on 9/11, his service in combat theaters, and his involvement in decision-making in the Pentagon regarding application of law in multiple operations in the Middle East. His views are further informed by his legal leadership at Air Combat Command and Air Force Space Command, and by a childhood spent living in Lebanon and Pakistan.

General Harding offers a fresh and surprising perspective on complex contemporary legal issues associated with the post-9/11 use of military power. He uses real-world examples of how policy makers reach decisions that affect when and how we go to war against terrorist organizations. This presentation is a compelling explanation of how history, military science, and cultural awareness give rise to changes in policy and law.

Program Agenda (3.5 hours professionalism & ethics)

[Part I 90 Minutes]

A View from the Bunker on 9/11

  • U.S. response to commercial aircraft as weapons.
  • Is this law enforcement or war? An important distinction.
  • Is declaring “war on terrorism” legal, or even smart?
  • The enemy’s strategy.
  • U.S. strategy — do we have one?

[15 Minute Break] 
[Part II 60 Minutes]

Confronting Sexual Assault

Weighing the sometimes conflicting loyalties of fighting for a client and fighting for a cause
Seeking justice from within the halls of power—due process for all,

[Part III 60 Minutes]

Practical Ethics Lessons from a Command Position

  • Who is the client – the official or the institution?
  • Is the attorney’s advice confidential?
  • The importance of speaking truth to power—being a zealous advocate and restrained, wise counsel
  • Is legal creativity in the country’s (or the client’s) best interest?
  • The ethics of creating “secret law” in warfighting
  • The ethics of managing and marginalizing others’ legal advice
  • The ethics of issuing “controlling legal advice”


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If you are not convinced that your understanding of the course topic has
improved after completion of any P.E.G.® seminar, we will refund your course tuition.