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Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership
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Ethics Fellowship Programs


One of the Center’s cornerstone programs is the Fellows program.  The Fellows program is a unique and multidisciplinary effort that brings together academics and military professionals to study a specific topic in the field of military ethics and leadership.  The Fellows meet together for a weekly seminar, host guest speakers, conduct independent and joint research, travel to meet with other experts in the field, publish their findings in journals and books, produce instructional materials for the Academy curriculum, and make presentations at the Academy and other national and international forums.

Each year, the Center advertises widely for civilian candidates interested in the Fellows Program.  The Distinguished Chair in Ethics and the Center’s Director of Research review all submitted applications.  The Center selects three Resident Fellows each year. The Fellows program is funded by Mrs. Susan Rorer Whitby on behalf of the USNA Class of 1958, the Class of 1962, by Mr. and Mrs. Frank Behm on behalf of the Class of 1978 and also by Donald S. Freeman Jr. This Center program has been in existence since Academic Year 2000-2001. 

 Impact on the Naval Academy and Other Institutions:

Research accomplished by the Fellows makes a significant impact on education at the Naval Academy and policy making within our national government. 

Fellows interact with midshipmen in the classroom, both as adjunct instructors and seminar leaders, and provide professional development opportunities for instructors and professors in the Department of Leadership, Ethics, and Law (LEL).  As Fellows tackle emerging issues in military ethics and leadership, they are able to develop case studies and other instructional materials to support the core and elective courses offered by LEL and take on a mentoring role for midshipmen interested in the topics pursued by the Fellows cohort.

The Fellows research is also designed to inform the highest levels of naval service leadership about emerging ethics and leadership challenges for the foreseeable future.  At the conclusion of the research effort, the Center hosts the McCain Conference where the Fellows are joined by military and civilian educators from the nation’s service academies and war colleges and other thought leaders to discuss and debate the research conducted at the Naval Academy. Policy issues and recommendations emerging from the McCain conference are shared with the Secretary of the Navy, Chief of Naval Operations and the Commandant of the Marine Corps.

Additionally, because of the participation of the Fellows in high visibility conferences and meetings and the publications they produce, their work enhances the influence and prestige of the Stockdale Center and the Naval Academy worldwide.

 Academic Year 2018-19 Research Effort

This year’s research and McCain Conference examined ethical issues associated with the phenomenon of moral injury.

In addition to this year's fellow the following individuals are participating in this year’s work:

-          Dr. Ed Barrett, Director of Strategy and Research, Stockdale Center, U.S. Naval Academy

-          Dr. David Luban, the Distinguished Chair of Ethics, Stockdale Center, U.S. Naval Academy

-          Dr. Michael Skerker, Faculty, LEAD Department, U.S. Naval Academy


If you are interested in applying for this opportunity during the 2020-2021 academic year, please apply here.

Current Fellows:

Funded by USNA Classes of 1958, 1962 and 1978. Also made possible by a generous 10 year gift of support from Donald S. Freeman Jr.

September 2018 - May 2019

Dr. Brent Kyle

  • Dr. Brent Kyle: Dr. Kyle is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and was previously an instructor at the University of New Brunswick (Canada).  He completed his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 2011, where he focused on epistemology and ethics.  Prior to that, he received a master's degree from Yale University concentrating in the philosophy of religion.  
    His current research is primarily focused on value—both moral and intellectual.  He engages in contemporary philosophical debates regarding issues of lasting importance, such as the nature of knowledge, the nature of courage, and the objectivity of values. 


  • Dr. Alycia LaGuardia-LoBianco: Dr. LaGuardia-LoBianco received her Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut where she was a 2017-2018 Humanities Institute fellow. Her dissertation, Suffering and Self-Sabotage in Ethical Life, looked at various ethical implications of non-ideal cases of suffering, including self-induced suffering, self-care under conditions of suffering, and the possibility of virtuous responses to suffering. Her project at the Stockdale Center involves identifying the moral damages of trauma and abuse and developing a self-regarding ethics for repairing that damage.


  • Dr. Joshua Kassner: Professor Kassner (Donald S. Freeman, Jr. Resident Ethics Fellow), is a former practicing attorney who left the practice of law to pursue a PhD at the University of Maryland, College Park.  After earning his doctorate he joined the faculty of the Division of Legal, Ethical, and Historical Studies at the University of Baltimore, where he teaches courses in political philosophy, ethics, and the philosophy of law.  His research focuses on the international arena, brining a critical philosophical perspective to bear on the norms and practices that govern the international arena.  In 2012, he published a book on the moral nature of humanitarian military intervention, Rwanda and the Moral Obligation of Humanitarian Intervention.  He is now working on a book that seeks to understand the moral limits of state sovereignty in a globalized age.


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