Ethics: How do you measure up?

19 Mar 2004 | Cpl. Kat Johnson

When making the choice between right and wrong, the Honorable Gordon R. England, Secretary of the Navy, recommends that Marines and Sailors let ethics be their guide. In an All Marine Message released Mar. 1, England addressed the topic of ethics and how Marines and Sailors should adhere to it.“The American people put their trust in us and none of us can betray that trust,” England stated in ALMAR 013/04. “ It is critically important that we put ethics above personal gain.”By being forthright, honest and direct, problems of ethics can be avoided in every situation.“Everyone should understand that actions that may be permissible for some non-government employees are prohibited for us,” England explained. “We must preserve our trust with the American people.” England reminded Marines and Sailors that accepting gifts from individuals seeking to do business with the Department of Defense is unethical.“We pay for our vehicles, people and personnel with tax payers money,” England stated. “So we must use tax payers money to only accomplish our missions.”The important point is that taxpayers must be confident that service members make decisions for the benefit of the entire nation rather than just for ourselves, according to England.The message also informed users of government resources, such as personnel, property and equipment that such resources should be restricted to government use only. With few exceptions, using these resources in any other way could impair the perception of military ethical standards.“Never for our personal convenience should we use these resources,” England said in the message.For anyone seeking employment with a prospective employer, England stated they must remove themselves from making decisions that would affect the financial interest of the prospective employer. This demonstrates mutual respect for taxpayers.“Adherence to high ethical standards means we treat all people with dignity and respect,” England explained. “When doing this, there is obviously no room for behavior such as sexual harassment or sexual assault. Adherence to high standards of ethical conduct and personal behavior will ensure that we treat others with the dignity and respect that every person desires and deserves.”In addition to requiring all commanders to set a personal example of integrity and ethical conduct, England requested that all service members set a high standard to live by as well.“I appreciate the superb service each of you performs on a daily basis,” England said. “You carry on a long tradition of service that preserves and protects freedom and liberty for all of our citizens.”