Since 2007, Dr. Dorn has run a project on the ways in which both war and peace have been justified both religiously and ethically. The original funding came from Defence Research & Development Canada – Toronto (DRDC Toronto).

One sub-project builds on Just War (JW) theory, which posits moral/ethical principles that should be applied to the application of armed force. The Just War tradition has its origins in Roman and Christian thought, but its tenets have been incorporated into many aspects of modern ethics and international law.

It deals with one of the important questions of any armed group or nation: when to use armed force?

This work evaluates conflicts, past and present, on the bases of seven criteria from Just War theory: just cause; right intent; net benefit; legitimate authority; last resort; proportionality of means; and right conduct. It also boldly proposes a sliding numerical scale–the Just War Index (JWI)–to help evaluate and quantify these moral components. One Just War analysis looks at the international deployments in Afghanistan.

The JW Index has been applied to a dozen case studies of wars fought by Canada and the USA. Opinion surveys of experts were also conducted of these wars.

The JWI has been shown to be a novel and useful tool for conflict analysis. The results are being published in books and peer-reviewed journals.