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The Australian National University

Shannon Brandt Ford

PhD student

BA(Qld), MSocSc(Qld), MA(ANU)

Shannon Ford

Shannon Brandt Ford is a Lecturer in Intelligence and Security Studies with the Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security, Charles Sturt University (CSU) and a Foundation Director for the Asia Pacific Chapter of the International Society for Military Ethics. Before starting his academic career, Shannon spent ten years as a Defence Strategist and Intelligence Analyst (1999-2009). This included working in the Strategic Policy Division, the Defence Intelligence Organisation, and the Information Strategy and Futures Branch.

Shannon was previously a Research Fellow at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, CSU, where he was Chief Investigator for a research project on the ethics of cybersecurity (2013-2014). Before that, he worked as a Research Fellow on an Australian Research Council-funded project: ‘Police Leadership in the 21st Century’ (2010-2011). Shannon has taught at the ANU and the Australian Defence Force Academy. He has a Master of Arts (International Relations) from ANU; and Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) and Master of Social Science (Criminology/Sociology) from University of Queensland.

Research interests

Shannon’s current research interests include:

  • intelligence studies
  • cybersecurity and cyber-espionage
  • strategy and just war
  • the morality of using coercive force
  • national security ethics
  • theories of social and political institutions

Thesis topic

Shannon’s dissertation is entitled ‘Security Institutions, Use of Force and the State: A Moral Framework’.

It is generally understood in the post-WW2 era that political conflict is best solved using peaceful means and that resorting to violence should be avoided except in cases of national self-defence. But in recent times, states are concluding that they are morally permitted, and in some cases duty-bound, to use their capabilities for lethal force to deal with situations that do not meet the conventional criteria for self-defence. These capabilities are primarily maintained within the state-based institutions of the police and military.

In order to better integrate the moral principles for using lethal force with the practice of state-based institutions, this dissertation is an ethical analysis of the following question: Under what circumstances, if any, is it morally justified for the agents of state-based security institutions to use lethal force, in particular the police and the military? A particular ethical concern is whether the institutional roles of soldier and police officer give them special permissions and obligations when it comes to using lethal force.




Ford, S. Brandt (forthcoming). Covert Action, Lethal Force and the Problem of Paramilitary Institutions. International Journal of Intelligence and Counter Intelligence.

Ford, S. Brandt (forthcoming). Covert Action. In R. A. Denemark (Ed.), The International Studies Encyclopedia.

Lin, Patrick, & Ford, S. Brandt (forthcoming). I, Spy Robot: The Ethics of Robots in National Intelligence Activities. In J. C. Galliott & W. Reed (Eds.), Ethics and Intelligence Collection: Technology and the Future of Spying: Routledge.

Ford, S. Brandt (2015). Military Ethics and Strategy: National Security, Moral Values and Cultural Perspective. In G. R. Lucas Jr (Ed.), Routledge Handbook on Military Ethics: Routledge.

Ford, S. Brandt (2014). Warfare, Cyberweapons and Morality. In A. Henschke, S. B. Ford, N. G. Evans, A. Gastineau & L. West (Eds.), Cybersecurity: Mapping the Ethical Terrain. Canberra: National Security College, The Australian National University.

Ford, S. Brandt (2013). Jus Ad Vim and the Just Use of Lethal Force Short-of-War. In F. Allhoff, N. G. Evans & A. Henschke (Eds.), Routledge Handbook of Ethics and War: Just War Theory in the 21st Century: Taylor & Francis

Ford, Shannon (2013). Hunters, Warriors, Monsters. In G. Foresman & R. Arp (Eds.), Supernatural and Philosophy: The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series

Conference Papers and Seminars

16-19 March 2016, “Intelligence Education Post 9/11: Australian Trends, Challenges and Issues” Paper at the International Studies Association Conference, Atlanta, U.S.

27 May 2015, Covert Action, Lethal Force and a Normative Account of Intelligence Institutions, Paper for the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics
Charles Sturt University, Canberra

5 March 2015, Covert Action, Lethal Force and a Normative Account of Intelligence Institutions, Seminar for the Intelligence & International Security Programme, Department of War Studies, King’s College London, London, U.K.

27 February 2015, The Policing Paradigm for Using Lethal Force: A Duty to Preserve Public Safety, Seminar for the Institute for Criminal Justice Ethics at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, U.S.

24 February 2015, Jus ad Vim: A Moral Framework for Using Force Short-of-War, Seminar for the Department of Leadership, Ethics, and Law at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, U.S.

18-21 February 2015, “I, Spy Robot: The Ethics of Robots in National Intelligence Activities” (Paper) and “Just War Theory and Uses of Force Short of War: Jus ad Vim” (Roundtable) at the International Studies Association Conference, New Orleans, U.S.

9 July 2014, Conflict and Cyber-espionage: Ridding the World of Cyber War?, Paper at the Oceanic Conference on International Studies (OCIS) 2014 at University of Melbourne

11 June 2014, The Ethics of Cybersecurity, Public Seminar (with Mick Keelty and Adam Henschke) for the National Security College, Australian National University

27 May 2014, The Scope of Military Ethics Education in the Asia-Pacific: The Perceptions of Senior Military Officers on Security, Values and Morality, Paper at the European International Society for Military Ethics Conference, Koblenz, Germany

26 March 2014, Intelligence Agencies and the Use of Lethal Force, Paper at the International Studies Association Conference, Toronto, Canada

14 October 2013, Cyberpower and the Inadequacy of the “Warfighting” Distinction, Paper at the International Society for Military Ethics Conference, Notre Dame University, South Bend, Indiana, U.S.

4 July 2013, Understanding Cybersecurity: Ethical and Conceptual Considerations, Paper at the 18th International Conference of the Society for Philosophy and Technology, Lisbon, Portugal

29 June 2013, Ethics, Cybersecurity and the Military, Paper at the Society for Applied Philosophy Annual Conference, Zurich, Switzerland

19 June 2013, Cybersecurity, Cyberthreats and Responses: Philosophy and Ethics in Practice, Colloquium at Delft University, The Netherlands

19 July 2012, The Use of Lethal Force: Standard, Non-standard, and “Hard” Moral Cases, Paper at the Fifth Oceanic Conference on International Studies (OCIS V), Sydney

26 January 2012, The Problem of Justifying the State’s Use of Lethal Force in Hard Cases, Paper at the International Society for Military Ethics (ISME) Annual Conference, San Diego

29 October 2011, Leadership Ethics and the Police: The Command Responsibility of Police Leaders, Paper at the Sixth International Conference on Applied Ethics in Sapporo, Japan

Awards and Consultancies

2014 Grant from the Fondation Charles Léopold Mayer pour le Progrès de l'Homme to establish the Asia-Pacific chapter of the International Society of Military Ethics (APAC-ISME)

2014-2016 International Consultant on the National Science Foundation (U.S.) grant “Safeguarding Cyberspace with Ethical Rules for Cyberwarfare”

2013 Research Award, The Ethics of Cybersecurity, National Security College, The Australian National University


Updated:  28 October 2015/ Responsible Officer:  Head of College, National Security College/ Page Contact:  Web administrator, National Security College