The defense industry operates at the intersection of the public and private sectors in a global arena and routinely interacts with foreign legal systems and diverse cultures. Navigating these different contexts creates challenges for the defense industry, particularly where legal and ethical norms conflict. How should a defense industry company conduct business in countries where government officials operate according to different moral norms? Should the defense industry be responsive to ethical objections to technological developments in the context of surveillance or controversial new weapons such as autonomous weapons systems? Should the global defense industry be held to a higher standard than other industries given the sensitive and potentially controversial nature of its enterprise? Domestically, other pressing questions arise. Should partnerships between the defense industry and institutions of higher learning be encouraged? Do such partnerships raise ethical concerns?
The purpose of this conference, held in partnership with Lockheed Martin Corporation, is to inspire constructive discussion pertaining to such questions, by bringing together distinguished practitioners and scholars from the private sector, academia, government service and the military to engage in an in-depth exploration of the moral and legal challenges facing the global defense industry.