Note: The Law of Armed Conflict, or LOAC, Competition for Military Academies aims to teach cadets LOAC and its application within the context of contemporary armed conflict. It is intended to complement the national training of LOAC and to ensure military cadets develop an early appreciation of the critical importance of LOAC in multinational military operations.
Six cadets from The Citadel attended this year’s competition, held on March 20 – 24 in Sanremo, Italy. They competed alongside cadets from more than 20 military colleges and academies from 11 different countries.
One cadet involved in the competition wrote about the experience from her perspective.
By Cadet Alexandria Carter, ‘23
When the opportunity arose to compete in a law of armed conflict competition in Sanremo, Italy, I was extremely hesitant considering my background. I am a senior Physics major who studies electromagnetism and quantum mechanics, whereas the people I was competing against were more experienced in law. However, once the team was chosen and we began working together, we were all provided with equal opportunities to succeed. As we delved into studying and practicing various scenarios involving the Geneva Convention, Additional Protocols and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, we became eager to absorb as much knowledge as possible. Finally, on March 18, we arrived in a new land, ready to compete alongside men and women from all nations, representing different branches and disciplines at the International Humanitarian Law Institute.
The sessions were challenging, and we were tasked with representing a fictitious country in a coalition with the objective of briefing the leader of the joint operating center on a decision. War crimes, human shields and chemical weapons were some of the topics that were discussed, and lines between black and white text blurred when dealing with complex and controversial legal issues. We had to engage our critical thinking skills, stay sharp and communicate with concise clarity, all while keeping in mind that our decisions could impact the fate of the world.
Despite the demanding competition, we were still able to explore the city and indulge in its cuisine, including classic pizza and pasta dishes, gelato desserts and even McDonald’s. We got to spend the evenings learning from them and listening to their experiences, helping to deepen our connections.
I would like to express my gratitude to LTC Hartley for instilling in us the importance of law and inspiring us to do what is right, not what is easy.
Cadet Alexandria Carter is from Scranton, Pennsylvania, and serves as the Regimental Academic Officer. She is a senior majoring in Physics and plans to accept a commission into the U.S. Navy upon graduation.