Authentic Assessment Project

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Gumdrop Northern is an American contractor that supplied body armor and armored vehicles for the U.S. military. Our government trusted Gumdrop to develop and manufacture these products in order to protect the lives of soldiers during their duties. However, during their business operations with the U.S. military, many defects were found that lead to the death of U.S. soldiers which eventually lead to the criminal prosecution of the company. This memorandum will analyze the ethical, financial, and legal issues that surrounded this case

The first ethical issue that exists in this case is the fact that Gumdrop decided to export their manufactured landmines to Afghanistan and Iran contrary to international law and treaties. It is also a legal issue because of the fact they violated international law. One of the groups the landmines were sent to was the Iranian government. There have been many conflicts between Iran and the U.S. in the past that have led to the possibility of an attack on the United States. If the Iranian government was able to get the technology we use in our military defense, they could be able to use it against us during an attack. (Shachtman, 2012) The second group was Afghanistan; a country consisting of the Taliban that has been a consistent threat to the U.S. for a long period of time. An American company that is producing technology for the U.S. military should not be sending any type of the same technology to a foreign country, especially when that country consists of one of the U.S.’s biggest threats. It is a direct violation of international law and obviously Gumdrop Northern shows no concern over it since the majority of their profit was coming from these foreign contracts. Did they ever think that these landmines could be used against the U.S. military and kill American soldiers? This adversely affects not only the U.S. military, but American citizens that are a target of terrorist organizations. The case specifically says they sold these landmines to the Taliban. The Taliban was a group that protected the people responsible for the 9/11 attack on the United States, Al-Qaeda. To think that a terrorist organization like Al-Qaeda could possibly get their hands on military technology is frightening. (Nachmias, 1999)

The second ethical issue that exists in this case is quality of the products that Gumdrop Northern sold to the U.S. and foreign countries. First, they were paid a substantial amount of money for their products so it is already assumed that the quality would be as good as possible. I’m sure there were some specifications as to what the quality should be exactly in the contract between the two companies. One of the defects found in the products was that the body armor did not protect service members from most antipersonnel ammunition. If there was a standard issue flak jacket added to it, a majority of the injuries wouldn’t have occurred; however, Gumdrop Northern decided not to disclose this information because of the fear they had of losing the contract. Another defect in their product was found in the armored vehicles; there was only a thin sheet of steel on the bottom of the vehicles which made them vulnerable to IED explosions. The last defect that was found in their products was in the landmines they sent to the Taliban and Iranian government. There were faulty switches in the landmines that killed the soldiers, along with children that were present, trying to use them. This decision affected the lives of the people who used this body armor, and added more expenses for the U.S. military since they would have to continue buying the faulty body armor that didn’t work efficiently.

The third ethical issue is how Gumdrop Northern handled the criminal prosecution they faced from the Department of Justice, and all of the money they owed from the class-action lawsuits. Even though they had sufficient funds to pay the class-action plaintiffs, and replace the top executives if they were...
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