12-600500. General. Virtually everyone in Federal Government service makes job related
decisions. Some of these decisions may seem more important than others, but all should be
preceded by a consideration of ethical ramifications. In some cases, the ethical element of
decision-making will go no further than to consciously acknowledge that there are no significant
ethical ramifications to consider. In other cases, in-depth ethical analysis is called for in addition
to application of ethics rules. The following plan for decision-making ensures careful review of
ethical consequences when there are alternative solutions that seem proper under existing laws
and regulations. DoD employees should consider incorporating the following plan in official
DoD 5500.
Change 7, 11/17/2011
12-601501. Ethical Decision-Making Plan
a. Define the Problem. Proceed from a general statement of the problem to specific
statements of the decisions to be made. As you take the following steps, such as identifying
goals and naming stakeholders, new problems or needed decisions may become apparent. Be
willing to add these to your problem list as you go.
b. Identify the Goal(s). Proceed from a general statement of an end result both long term
and short term. Be prepared to add to this list as you take the following steps. Goals are
something to strive toward. They are statements of the best possible results. The very best is not
always achieved for everyone. Many problems do not allow for "win/win" outcomes. Be
prepared to fall somewhat short of some goals for the sake of ethics and other considerations.
c. List Applicable Laws or Regulations. Laws and regulations are basic constraints within
which official decisions are made. Until all relevant laws and regulations are considered, ethical
decision-making is impossible. Although it is conceivable that an ethical decision could violate
a law or regulation,...