Has war-fighting evolved over the past ten years of continuous war-fighting since the events of September 11, 2001, and what impact has this evolution had on Western armed forces, particularly their armies? Has the public perception of the countries that deploy troops changed significantly towards expectations of ethical and moral conduct of their armed forces in such operations? How have operations in a theatre marked by targeted killings, drone strikes, counter-insurgency, and “green on blue” attacks affected the armies that have fought in these wars? What impact have these operations had on our understanding of just war? How can armed forces maintain leadership development and the successful reproduction of skill sets accumulated during a decade of conflict? What “lessons learned” from earlier eras can be applied for what might be an extended period when the armed forces might not be called on to engage in combat operations? How do armed forces respond ethically to the health and well-being of those members of the armed forces who have served in high-tempo conflict overseas? What challenges do political leaders and armed forces leaders face as they seek to entrench military professionalism and the profession of arms?
This year KCIS will explore the challenges that face Western armed forces in the aftermath of a decade of war. It will examine the ethical challenges posed by recent conflicts such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Mali, and how the lessons of those conflicts have been learned as armed forces anticipate a period of rejuvenation after a period of sustained action, and how the experiences of those who fought can be appropriately transmitted to new cohorts. Panels will focus on the challenges of embedding military professionalism and training that are grounded in an ethical and moral approach to operations, and the equally difficult task of ensuring the well-being of the armed forces, particularly in an era of austerity. And finally, it will look at the crucial relationship between the armed forces as professionals and the political leadership, and how civil-military relations can strengthen the profession of arms.