Clifford “Lee” Rutledge, Brian Ray, Eric Albertson and John McClean.
United States Special Operations Command members Clifford “Lee” Rutledge (left), Eric Albertson (second from right) and John McClean (far right) present Dr. Brian Ray with a Joint Service Commendation Medal at the Poe Business Ethics Center.

Brian Ray awarded Joint Service Commendation Medal for ethics guide

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Dr. Brian Ray, Director of the Poe Business Ethics Center at the University of Florida Warrington College of Business, was honored with an award from the United States Special Operations Command for his work on an ethics guide for the military.

Ray, who is also a chaplain and colonel in the U.S. Army, was presented with a Joint Service Commendation Medal for his contributions to A Special Operations Forces Ethics Field Guide: 13 Ethical Battle Drills for SOF Leaders. The guide is based on material from The Business Ethics Field Guide, which Ray uses in his ethics courses at Warrington, and offers a practical application of ethical decision making in a Special Operations Forces (SOF) environment.   

“[CH (COL) Ray’s] experience as a chaplain and his experience in the field of ethics were instrumental in developing a successful guide,” said John McClean, U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sergeant.

Ray, whose military background includes former infantry officer service, company command, graduation from the Joint and Combined Warfighting School, recognition with a Joint Forces Staff College Dean’s Award for Writing Excellence and publications in Joint Force Quarterly, connected with academics at Brigham Young University to create A Special Operations Forces Ethics Field Guide.

The guide serves as a key resource for helping SOF Support Teams build ethical and moral development training within their units.

“Dr. Ray coined the phrase ‘Ethical Battle Drills,’ which are foundational to this guide,” said Clifford “Lee” Rutledge, U.S. Navy Commander and Chaplain. “This reframed the concept of ‘skill-building’ for ethical decision-making, which is central to The Business Ethics Field Guide, in a way that speaks to a soldier who drills a plethora of skills to perform in military operations. Chaplains have the role as ethical advisors to their commands, and the guide is a powerful tool to help them do that.”

Senior Master Sgt. McClean noted that, to date, more than 10,000 copies of the guide have been distributed across U.S. Special Operations Command, including eight Theatre Special Operations Commands and four Department of Defense Services.

“It has been extremely rewarding to collaborate with the military professionals at Special Operations Command as well as the lead author of The Business Ethics Field Guide, Dr. Brad Agle, the George Romney Professor of Leadership and Ethics at Brigham Young University,” Ray said. “The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines who makeup our nation’s Special Forces are asked to serve in some of the most challenging wartime situations imaginable. It is often said that Special Ops forces find themselves ‘operating in the gray,’ a phrase used to describe combat situations where ethical decisions are extremely complex. I am pleased that my colleagues and I were able to develop a set of resources that will help these brave men and women serve with greater ethical confidence when they find themselves in the gray zone of combat operations.”

The Joint Service Commendation Medal is awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States who distinguish themselves by meritorious achievement or service in a joint duty capacity.