Leadership and Ethics for
Leaders must have a strong sense of the great responsibility of their office; the resources they
will expend in war are human lives. —Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication 1, 1997
There are leadership and ethical imperatives that are prominent and, in some cases, unique to counterinsurgency. The dynamic and ambiguous environment of modern counterinsurgency places a premium on leadership at every level, from sergeant to general. Combat in counterinsurgency is frequently a small-unit leader's fight; however, commanders' actions at brigade and division levels can be more significant. Senior leaders set the conditions and the tone for all actions by subordinates. Today's Soldiers and Marines are required to be competent in a broad array of tasks. They must also rapidly adapt cognitively and emotionally to the perplexing challenges of counterinsurgency and master new competencies as well as new contexts. Those in leadership positions must provide the moral compass for their subordinates as they navigate this complex environment. Underscoring these imperatives is the fact that exercising leadership in the midst of ambiguity requires intense, discriminating professional judgment.
7-1. Army and Marine Corps leaders are expected to act ethically and in accordance with shared national values and Constitutional principles, which are reflected in the law and military oaths of service. These leaders