The International Society for Military Ethics in Europe
Leadership. Ethics. Service.

Winning thesis – 1st Prize

Lt.Col. David Lambert (UK). Killing, living with killing and moral injury. Do we do enough to prepare our warfighters morally to kill and live with killing?

cover thesis 2021 HeamesFyjis Walker


On behalf of the jury, it is my great pleasure, to give recognition to the winner of the best European student’s thesis on military ethics of 2024 Lieutenant Colonel David Lambert for the paper entitled Do we do enough to prepare our warfighters morally to kill and live with killing?

Since its inception the prize aimed to promote involvement in the study and application of military ethics and humanitarian law where they are needed most – during an armed conflict. The thesis prize was also meant to encourage interdisciplinary cooperation and dialogue looking at the relevant issues in military ethics through different lenses afforded by these various disciplines. LTC Lambert’s thesis clearly reflects all these various aims. it addresses a very important topic of ‘moral injury’ and the experience and care of the warfighters. It discusses these issues through an interdisciplinary approach connecting mental health, organizational culture, and moral preparedness. It combines theoretical discussion with empirical research grounding the findings in experiences of participants in the missions in Afghanistan.

That this thesis was written by a serving officer is an indication that European armed forces have insightful and reflective officers capable of shaping their organizations moral compasses and contributing to the overall discussion on the importance to keeping with the principles of ethics in these sometimes seemingly dark and hopeless times. With that, I wish to invite you to present your findings to the distinguished audience tonight as well as thank you for an interesting reading and extend my hand to offer congratulations for this achievement.

  • Download of the thesis will be provided later


Second Prize

Clara Bañares Martín (Spain). Advancing towards the design of a GAR-SI Sahel professional code based on the comparative study of two sociometric tests in the Spanish Civil Guard’s Rapid Action Group and the Spanish Army’s Special Operations Command

Cover Prize2022 AuryAury


This research has shed light on the significance of considering values, attitudes, and aptitudes within three distinct security and defense operations units, while also acknowledging the remarkable parallels among Special Operations Forces units across different Spanish institutions (Civil Guard and armed forces), as well as across various geographical regions (Europe and the Sahel). In addition, it brings useful insights on ethical education in training and access courses, which shows very positive potential impact in future Special Operations Forces agent’s decision-making, shaping unit identity and ensuring both personal and professional excellence of agents.

I do think this research represents a significant contribution to the field of military ethics by illuminating the importance of values, attitudes, and aptitudes within security and defense operations units. By uncovering parallels among Special Operations Forces units across different institutions and geographical regions, it offers valuable insights into ethical education and decision-making processes within these units. And moving forward, further exploration of analogous units can provide a broader perspective on professional military ethics in diverse contexts and cultures, paving the way for future investigations and advancements in this critical area.

Moreover, the development of the official GAR-SI code of professional ethics underscores the tangible impact of this research on real-life applications. Overall, this research serves as an evidence of the commitment to excellence and ethical integrity within the military community, reinforcing the importance of upholding the highest standards of conduct in defense and security operations.

  • Download of the thesis will be provided later




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