This edited collection will expand upon and refine the ideas on the role of ethics and the profession in the 21st Century. The authors delve into whether Samuel Huntington and Morris Janowitz still ring true in the 21st Century; whether training and continuing education play a role in defining a profession; and if there is a universal code of ethics required for the military as a profession. 

Redefining the Modern Military is unique in how it treats the subject of ethics and the military profession, as well as the types of writers it brings on board to address this topic. The book puts a significant emphasis on individual agency for military professionalism as opposed to broad organizational or cultural change. Such a review of these topics is necessary because the process of serious, intellectual self reflection is a requirement - especially in a profession that involves life and death...of people and nations.


Endorsements and Reviews:

  • “As the United States confronts new and increasing threats to our security and vital interests, it is important that military institutions and leaders stay connected with those in whose name they fight and serve.  That is why Redefining the Modern Military is an important book that deserves a wide readership.  Reading this book will help citizens understand better not only the physical, but also the moral, ethical, and cultural elements of military effectiveness.”  - H.R. McMaster, Former U.S. National Security Adviso, Fouad and Michelle Ajami Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace

  • "Compelling and topical, Redefining the Modern Military challenges readers to dissect the profession of arms against the backdrop of historical and contemporary challenges. A very timely work to help strengthen our understanding of what it means to be a professional fighting force in the 21st Century." - Lieutenant General Rick Burr, AO, DSC, MVO, Chief of the Australian Army

  • “This is a thorough, sober, and thoughtful analysis of the profession of arms in the 21st century.  Ethics lie at the beating heart of service in America’s military, and we stray from the moral core evident in this volume at great risk.  Timely and profoundly important!” - Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret), Dean, The Fletcher School, Tufts University, Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander

  • “An essential, thought-provoking analysis of military professionalism – an elusive concept long pursued - but often misunderstood - by soldiers and civilians alike.  The ideas in this book should be pondered and argued over in classrooms, tents, and around the 21st century equivalent of campaign campfires." - GEN Stan McChrystal, USA (Ret), Founder of the McChrystal Group, Former Commander of the International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF), Afghanistan

  • "The 21st Century environment requires competent leadership, but competent leadership without character is failed leadership. Nowhere is that more true than within the Profession of Arms. Now, more than ever, leaders must not only possess the professional expertise and competence to operate in today's challenging and dynamic global environment, but more importantly, the moral-ethical foundation to build trust and live and lead honorably. Redefining the Modern Military astutely describes why both competence and character are vital to leadership in the military profession.” - LTG Robert L. Caslen, Jr., USA (Ret), Former Superintendent of the United States Military Academy

  • "With the honor and humility that make it unique, the profession of arms has repeatedly reflected and adapted following periods of armed conflict. How then can it learn in the midst of the longest period of continuous war in American history? in Redefining the Modern Military Nate and Ty have endeavored to lead a conversation that not only reflects on where the profession stands today, but perhaps more importantly, how our civilian-led institutions adapt our military to the future nature of warfare and the increasingly heavy responsibility placed on the individual citizen-service member." - Daniel Feehan, Former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Readiness)

  • “Redefining the Modern Military reminds us that the ‘military professional’ draws upon an established body of knowledge. Undeniably, there is an intellectual component to professionalism; an obligation to be inquisitive, particularly in times of intense change. True military professionals, however, go beyond admiring the problem; they actively find ways to turn concepts into actionable reform plans, drive those reforms through ‘learning by doing,’ turn theoretical knowledge into executable, practical improvement, and create new knowledge as well as relevant military capabilities. Today’s true military professionals will find much in this collection to set their necessarily ambitious, but essentially pragmatic, reform agendas.” - Lt Gen Sir Paul Newton, KBE, CBE, MPhil, UK Army (Ret)
    Director, Strategy and Security Institute, University of Exeter

  • “While the technology of our great profession of arms has changed through the ages, it’s essence remains the application of force in a manner aligned with the values and expectations of our society. Finney and Mayfield have assembled in Redefining the Modern Military a masterful exploration of ethics and the profession of arms.” - MAJGEN Mick Ryan, Commander, Australian Defence College

  • “Defining our profession and adhering to and championing our ethic is most challenging when we, as the collective Armed Forces, struggle to study, structure, and learn from our past.  Ty and Nate developed a great volume composed of varied perspectives that provide insight and historic context so WE can maintain and cultivate our profession for the coming decades.” - MG John Kem, Commandant, US Army War College

  • “Why do our military people need to be ‘professional’? This outstanding collection of thoughts provides the essential context for military professionals who wish both to take their profession seriously and to develop a better understanding of themselves and their peers.” - Maj Gen Dr Andrew R.D. Sharpe, CBE, PhD (Cantab), UK Army (Ret), Director of the Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict Research, Former Director of the UK Ministry of Defence’s  independent think-tank, the Development, Concepts, and Doctrine Centre

  • “The authors put forward a much needed collection on what it means to be a member of the profession of arms in the 21st century.  This book fuels the necessary conversation to make every curious reader a better warrior.  Bravo Zulu!” - RADM Peg Klein, USN (Ret), Former Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Defense for Military Professionalism

  • “It is a dangerous sign that nearly two decades fighting wars we have not won, Americans continue to trumpet “the finest military in the history of the world” instead of ruthlessly abrading the institution to improve.  Redefining the Modern Military is an earnest exploration of what constitutes professionalism in the American military, how it is affected by long wars, technological and societal changes, and an appeal for critical thinking about failures both operational and ethical.  I especially relished the chapters that wrestled with when and why to break the rules of the military profession.  This book will be an educational touchstone and a great teaching tool for and about the American military.” - Dr. Kori N. Schake, Deputy Director-General of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), Author, Warriors and Citizens: American Views of Our Military and Safe Passage: The Transition from British to American Hegemony

  • Redefining the Modern Military brings together an impressively diverse group of writers to examine military professionalism through many different lenses. All share a frank, earnest, often fresh look at the topic. Practitioners and scholars of the military profession will find this collection to be an invaluable source for insight and inspiration.” - Dr. JP Clark, Army officer and former History Professor at the United States Military Academy at West Point, Author, Preparing for War: The Emergence of the Modern US Army, 1815-1917

  • “Finney and Mayfield have put together an important volume on the profession of arms and ethics. We don’t discuss or argue about (in the highest sense of the term) these matters enough in our community. We should, with vigor. Thanks to Nate and Ty for this service.” - COL Celestino Perez, Jr., Professor, U.S. Army War College

  • "This comprehensive text is the closest any student can get to 'one-stop shopping' on the topic of the U.S. military profession." - Dr. Antulio J. Echevarria II
    Editor, Parameters and Author of
    Reconsidering the American Way of War: US Military Practice from the Revolution to Afghanistan

  • “The United States military currently confronts powerful strategic, political, and cultural pressures that will affect how it performs future missions and relates to the republic it serves.  In light of nearly two decades of difficult asymmetric wars, the rise of high-end conventional adversaries, new stresses on norms of civil-military relations, and a citizenry with a penchant for venerating military service, the time has come for a thoroughgoing interrogation of the meaning of military professionalism and ethics.  In Redefining the Modern Military, Finney and Mayfield bring together a stellar group of officers, academics, and lawyers to begin that vital conversation.  The arguments offered in these pages are as shrewd as they are important.  Redefining the Modern Military should be read and debated by military professionals and citizens alike.” - Spencer D. Bakich, Director of the National Security Program at the Virginia Military Institute and Author, Success and Failure in Limited War: Information & Strategy in the Korean, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, and Iraq Wars

  • “An awesome example of collaborative writing to elevate the discourse in the profession of arms. Looking forward to Redefining the Modern Military and proud to see so many of our guild members as contributors.” - The Military Writers Guild

  • "BRAVO for the reflective practitioners! This volume arrives just when needed in the evolution of our military professions. It provides the often irreverent, iconoclastic, yet always well-informed, views of military professionals now serving.  The Stewards of America's military professions should listen carefully to these voices and foster the internal dialogues they initiate." - Don M. Snider, PhD, Adjunct Research Professor, Strategic Studies Institute, Army War College

  • “With this ambitious and impressive new volume, Finney and Mayfield have assembled a premier collection of scholars and officers to explore the foundational questions of military professionalism and ethics.  These issues are too often neglected in peacetime and marginalized in wartime, yet they sit at the heart of maintaining an effective and lethal military in a free society.  Policymakers, scholars, military professionals, and students will all be well-served by this penetrating new book.” - Professor William Inboden, Executive Director and William Powers, Jr. Chair, Clements Center, Distinguished Scholar, Strauss Center, Associate Professor, LBJ School

  • “This fascinating volume on ethics and the military profession in the 21st century makes a tremendous contribution to the literature. It features an array of highly qualified and well versed authors, from active duty officers with very different service backgrounds and experiences to university faculty, lawyers, and aid workers. The chapters tackle difficult questions about the unique responsibilities that face military professionals. Building on classic texts, this volume significantly advances our understanding of how ethics and professionalism will interact for militaries operating in a changing world. It is a great example of interdisciplinary, policy relevant scholarship.” - Michael C. Horowitz, Professor of Political Science , Associate Director of Perry World House at the University of Pennsylvania, Author of Why Leaders Fight and the award-winning The Diffusion of Military Power: Causes and Consequences for International Politics

  • "Redefining the Modern Military is an important and timely work drawing on an interdisciplinary base of scholars and practitioners to examine the core ethics of the US military profession.  Such introspection, as the authors argue, is indeed necessary as practitioners and scholars look back on decades of conflict and attempt to anticipate the changing military profession of arms for the future conflicts looming ahead." - Dan Cox, Professor of Political Science at the US Army School of Advanced Military Studies

  • "A profession cannot remain a profession simply by declaring itself to be one. Its members must earn and re-earn trust daily through ethical behavior and the application of expertise. In Redefining the Modern Military, editors Nate Finney and Ty Mayfield have initiated a long-overdue conversation about what it will take for members of the modern military profession to maintain, and in some cases regain, that trust. Their book asks tough questions that members of the profession should be asking and it will spark new new questions that will drive the conversation about military professionalism for at least the next decade. Redefining the Modern Military is a must-read for anyone who cares about professional military education or civil-military relations." - Jim Golby, PhD, Former Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff & Special Advisor to Vice Presidents Biden & Pence

  • “In the conflicts of the future, professionalism and the ethical use of force will be even more important than today. The diverse approach to the issue in Redefining the Modern Military, provided by a plethora of different perspectives, is a necessary and invaluable re-assessment of this topic for the 21st Century and will hopefully begin a robust discussion that can only improve the effectiveness of our men and women in uniform. Highly recommend this text be used across our leader development institutions, inside and outside of the military.” - Colonel Liam Collins, Director, Modern War Institute, Former Director of West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center

  • “Redefining the Modern Military: The Intersection of Profession and Ethics provides a penetrating analysis of American military professionalism and the ethical culture that underscores honorable service to the country.  Editors Tyrell Mayfield and Nathan Finney, along with an impressive list of contributors from academia, the legal profession and serving officers, deliver a rich exploration of military professionalism from historical, civil-military, social, psychological, legal, and philosophical perspectives.  The authors present not only critical analysis but recommendations for improving the state of the profession.  This thought-provoking volume offers important insights for academia, as well as military professionals and military students charged to lead ethically in an increasing complex and challenging security environment.” - Colonel David Gray, Ph.D., U.S. Army (Ret), Director of the Center for Leadership and Ethics, Virginia Military Institute

  • "Finney and Mayfield offer a stimulating international mix of ideals, opinions, and contemporary looks at the profession of arms and the development of its ethic. The book provides a starting point for military professionals wishing to learn more about their art and the values which shape their profession. Finney and Mayfield offer a variety of viewpoints discussing the future of the military profession and the ethical application of lethal force as driven by technological advances and social morays. Redefining the Modern Military will inspire personal reflection on the meaning and application of the Army Ethic (ADRP 1), spark professional dialog among peers, and assist in strengthening the professionalism of our Soldiers and Army Civilians." - Colonel Geoffrey Catlett, Director for the Center for the Army Profession and Ethic at West Point

Volume Editors:

Nathan K. Finney is an officer in the US Army and the creator, co-founder, and first executive director of the non-profit The Strategy Bridge. He has also been a visiting fellow at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations, a Non-Resident Fellow of the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Modern War Institute at West Point. Nathan is a PhD candidate in history at the University of Kansas and holds masters degrees in Public Administration from Harvard University and the University of Kansas, as well as a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Arizona.

Tyrell O. Mayfield is an officer in the US Air Force and a co-founder and board member of the non-profit The Strategy Bridge. Ty has published photography and written work in a number of online forums, magazines, newspapers, and peer-reviewed journals. Ty is a graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School and the US Army War College and holds masters degrees in International Relations, National Security Studies and Strategic Art. Ty is currently writing a memoir about his time in Kabul.


Simon Anglim is a Teaching Fellow in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, is the author of two books on Major General Orde Wingate and over a dozen papers in referenced journals, as well as a regular contributor to The Strategy Bridge. He previously spent five years as a historian with the British Ministry of Defence.

William M. Beasley, Jr. is an attorney with Phelps Dunbar, LLP. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Mississippi with a BA and MA in history and a JD from the University of Mississippi School of Law, where he served on the editorial board of the Mississippi Law Journal. Prior to joining Phelps Dunbar, Will worked as a research consultant with the Potomac Institute in Arlington, Virginia. He is a member of the Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC) and his work on maritime history and security has appeared in Proceedings, at The Strategy Bridge, and the US Naval Institute Blog.

Jo Brick is a Legal Officer in the Royal Australian Air Force. She served in Australian Defense Force operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has extensive experience providing legal support to combined and joint air operations, cyber security, detainee operations, and military justice. She is a graduate of the Australian Command & Staff College, and recently graduated from the Australian National University with a Masters (Advanced) in Military and Defence Studies (Hons). Her thesis was on Australian civil-military relations and strategy. Jo is a member of the Military Writers Guild.

Hugh Michael Denny, Jr. is an aviation officer in the US Army National Guard. Formerly, he served as a Field Artillery officer on active duty with two deployments to Afghanistan. As a civilian, he is a management professional in a government agency. Mike is a regular contributor to Task & Purpose, The Strategy Bridge and other outlets. Mike is a member of the Military Writers Guild.

Steven L. Foster is an officer in the US Army and has extensive experience in logistics, with an emphasis in operational and strategic planning. He currently serves as a strategic planner at United States Transportation Command, and holds a Master of Public Policy with emphasis in National Security Policy from George Mason University. Steve’s interests include policy, strategy, and history, and he is a Senior Editor at The Strategy Bridge. He also has experience in the private sector in business management and a strong interest in leader development and talent management. Steve is an Active member of the Military Writers Guild.

Holly Hughson is a humanitarian aid worker and former history teacher with twenty years of international and domestic experience in education, humanitarian programming and training with the US military for complex emergencies. Countries worked include: Macedonia, Afghanistan, Russian Federation, South Sudan, Sudan, Iraq, Denmark, Kosovo, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Presently, Holly is on sabbatical as a cohort participant in the International Gestalt Organization and Leadership Development program and a Visiting Scholar at Sarum College in the UK. Holly is a member of the Military Writers Guild.

Tony Ingesson is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Lund University, Sweden. His research is focused on tactical decision-making and the strategic impact of subcultures at the tactical level, using case studies from 1939 to 1995. He has previously served in the Swedish Army, Air Force, and Navy.

Rebecca Johnson is Dean of Academics and Deputy Director of the Marine Corps War College. Her research focuses on military ethics and leader development. She also serves as adjunct faculty at Wesley Theological Seminary.

Ray Kimball is an officer in the US Army with service from the tip of the spear to echelons above reality. He has an abiding interest in leader development and decentralized learning and is a regular contributor to The Strategy Bridge. Ray is a member of the Military Writers Guild.

Casey J. Landru is a mechanical engineer and former US Army officer. During his service he was a Rifle Platoon Leader, Company Executive Officer, and Scout Platoon Leader with the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, from 2010 to 2013. During that time he deployed to Afghanistan for a year. He has contributed to The Strategy Bridge and is a member of the Military Writers Guild. Casey holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the United States Military Academy.

Brian Laslie is the Deputy Command Historian for the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and US Northern Command and an adjunct professor of history at the US Air Force Academy. After spending six years in the US Air Force, where he served as a logistics officer and instructor, he left active duty to get his PhD in Military History from Kansas State University. He is the author of The Air Force Way of War: US Tactics and Training After Vietnam and Architect of Air Power: General Laurence S. Kuter and the Birth of the US Air Force.

Pauline Shanks-Kaurin is an Associate Professor of philosophy at Pacific Lutheran University and is a specialist in military ethics, just war theory, social and political philosophy, and applied ethics. Recent publications include Achilles Goes Asymmetrical: The Warrior, Military Ethics and Contemporary Warfare.