Army Reserve colonel co-authors textbook, influences Air Force cadets

79th Theater Sustainment Command
Courtesy Story

Date: 06.19.2017
Posted: 06.21.2017 16:27
News ID: 238701
Army Reserve colonel co-authors textbook, influences Air Force cadets

JOINT FORCES TRAINING BASE LOS ALAMITOS, Calif.—A Soldier in the 79th Sustainment Support Command can now add “published author” to his resume. Col. Carlos Bertha, who serves as a 79th SSC Defense Support to Civil Authorities officer, recently published “Engineering Ethics: Real World Case Studies,” a text which pulls from his experiences in the military.

Though his background is in engineering both for the Army and in academia, Bertha is also a professor of philosophy at the United States Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in his civilian capacity. The publication of his new book affords Bertha the opportunity to further influence the ethical development of future military officers as he is already the director for the ethics course which all Air Force Academy cadets are required to take.

Originally hailing from Caracas, Venezuela, Bertha graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a PhD in philosophy. He is an engineer branched officer and served with the Army Corps of Engineers from 1989-1994.

Bertha was inspired to write the book after encountering ethical dilemmas while serving as a resident engineer during a deployment to Afghanistan with the Army Corps of Engineers. Engineers working in the field can encounter a variety of ethical issues at any time during a construction project. How they deal with those situations can have a major impact on the project’s success and viability. Ethical issues for engineers can range from not continuing one’s education and improving skills, to the impact the project has on society and the environment.

Bertha says the intent of the book is to give real world examples of ethical issues that engineers working in the profession are likely to encounter. According to Bertha, “The idea was to take the American Society of Civil Engineers Code of Ethics and write a book that would allow people to analyze any moral dilemma that they’re facing.” The book aspires to be a resource for those engineers trying to navigate difficult moral dilemmas.
Bertha lends his ethical guidance to the 79th SSC’s missions which will include working alongside humanitarian organizations in training and real-world scenarios. He is scheduled to teach a future class at the 79th SSC on ethics in Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Relief.

Eventually, Bertha would like to expand his new book to address military ethics. A future edition would focus on the ethical issues military engineers face, ranging from when war is justified, to restraint with regards to the types of weapons used.

“Engineering Ethics: Real World Case Studies,” is co-written by Steve Starret and Amy Lara of Kansas State University. The book took two years to complete, and Bertha gives credit to his boss at the Academy, Air Force Col. James Cook, for motivational support. The text is now available on in both Kindle and paperback versions.