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Title: Civil-Military Relations:

Civil-Military Relations Timeless and Timely
Gregory D. Foster
July 16, 2009
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Civil-Military Relations Timeless and Timely
Gregory D. Foster
July 16, 2009
Civil-Military Relations
The complex of interactions among the military,
the elected and appointed civilian government
officials who exercise proper authority over the
military, and the larger society both parties are
supposed to represent and serve in a democracy.
The Terms of Discourse
  • Civil-Military Relations
  • Civilian Control/Supremacy
  • (Democratic Control of Armed Forces)
  • Armed Forces and Society

The Strategic Context
  • The continued viability and legitimacy of the
    state (the United States or any other) will
  • depend on how well the state meets societys
  • The performance and behavior of the
  • military (as a major institution of society
    charged with managing violence on behalf of the
    state) will be instrumental in determining
  • the viability of the state.

A Central Question
How does an inherently authoritarian institution
that employs violence on behalf of the state,
subscribes to an ethos of obedience, cloaks
itself in secrecy, and demands exclusivity
achieve legitimacy?
Trust But Verify?
As far as an army may be considered as a
dangerous weapon of power, it had better be in
those hands of which the people are most likely
to be jealous than in those of which they are
least likely to be jealous. For it is a truth,
which the experience of ages has attested, that
the people are always most in danger when the
means of injuring their rights are in the
possession of those of whom they entertain the
least suspicion.
Alexander Hamilton

Federalist 25
The Civil-Military Ideal(?)
  • A strategically effective military,
  • Whose leadership provides strategically sound
  • advice,
  • To strategically competent civilian authorities,
  • Representing and overseen by a civically engaged
  • (and strategically aware) public,
  • Complemented by
  • A critical free press.
  • A vibrant civil society.
  • A properly subordinated military-industrial

Why Be Strategic?
  • Moral Obligation of Government
  • Crisis Inoculation
  • Sustainable Consensus
  • Strategic Leadership
  • Enhanced Civilian Control of Military

The Purpose of Government
  • To secure the natural (human) rights all human
    beings deserve to enjoy.
  • To do for the people what they cant do at all,
    or as well for themselves.

Administrative Imperatives of Democracy
  • Public Accountability
  • Popular Consent
  • Neutral Competence
  • Bureaucratic Efficiency
  • Meritocracy
  • Administrative Discretion

The Civil-Military Contract
  • The People
  • Civilian
  • Authorities

Social Contract
The Social Contract
  • Mutual Rights
  • Obligations
  • Expectations

The Militarys Proper Role?
  • To serve itself?
  • To serve the regime in power?
  • To serve the state?
  • To serve society?
  • To serve humanity?

What the Military Expects
  • Appreciation (unconditional)(?)
  • Support (unequivocal)(?)
  • Trust (unquestioning)(?)
  • Discretionary License (unlimited)(?)
  • No meddling by amateurs(?)

Whats Expected of the Military (Democracys
Military Imperatives)
  • Operational Competence
  • Sound Advice
  • Social Responsibility
  • Political Neutrality

Whats Expected of the Military (Democracys
Military Imperatives)
  • Operational Competence
  • Sound Advice
  • Social Responsibility
  • Political Neutrality

The Military Contribution
Military Effectiveness (An instrument of force
for managing violence on behalf of the
state) vs. Strategic Effectiveness (An instrument
of power for serving the larger security aims of
society and humanity)
The Cosmic Pecking Order
Superpowers Possessions/Resources
Knowledge Great Powers
Wealth Viable Institutions Major
Powers Productive Territory
Productive Population Minor Powers
Strategically Effective Military
Leadership/Example Credibility/Stature
Reach (Cultural, Economic, Political,
Military) Unity
Militarily Effective butStrategically Ineffective
  • Disproportionately Destructive
  • Indiscriminately Lethal
  • Exorbitantly Expensive
  • Overly Provocative/Escalatory
  • Unduly Consumptive
  • Separated (alienated) from Society

Democracys Strategic Aims
  • Assured Security
  • Crisis Prevention
  • Preservation of Civil Society

The Threat to Civil Society
  • That which, in providing for the common defense
  • creates or feeds injustice,
  • foments civil unrest,
  • diminishes the general welfare,
  • infringes on civil liberties, or
  • aggravates tensions, instability, and
  • thereby undermines civil society and produces
  • rather than security.

Whats Expected of the Military (Democracys
Military Imperatives)
  • Operational Competence
  • Sound Advice
  • Social Responsibility
  • Political Neutrality

Sound Advice
  • Strategic vs. Military (tactical?)(?)
  • Candor vs. Silent Compliance(?)
  • Private vs. Public(?)

Whats Expected of the Military (Democracys
Military Imperatives)
  • Operational Competence
  • Sound Advice
  • Social Responsibility
  • Political Neutrality

A Socially Responsible Military
  • Societal representativeness.
  • Affordability.
  • Prestige w/o special privilege.
  • Moral superiority w/o moral arrogance.
  • Professional autonomy w/o societal alienation.
  • Responsible dissent w/o disobedience.
  • Check balance check civilian impetuosity
  • balance civilian strategic shortcomings.
  • Environmental soundness.

A Socially Responsible Military
  • Societal representativeness.
  • Affordability.
  • Prestige w/o special privilege.
  • Moral superiority w/o moral arrogance.
  • Professional autonomy w/o societal alienation.
  • Responsible dissent w/o disobedience.
  • Check balance check civilian impetuosity
  • balance civilian strategic shortcomings.
  • Environmental soundness.

Representative or Not?
  • Demographic

  • Characteristics
  • Societal Life
  • Representativeness Experience

  • Ideology Value Difference?

  • Moral Superiority?

  • Moral Arrogance?

A Problem or Not?
  • The Ruling
  • Political Class

  • The Military
  • Alienation
  • The People

A Socially Responsible Military
  • Societal representativeness.
  • Affordability.
  • Prestige w/o special privilege.
  • Moral superiority w/o moral arrogance.
  • Professional autonomy w/o societal alienation.
  • Responsible dissent w/o disobedience.
  • Check balance check civilian impetuosity
  • balance civilian strategic shortcomings.
  • Environmental soundness.

Aberration or Norm?
A Small Sample of Headlines for a Recent Typical
American Soldier's Trial in rape and killing of
Iraqi teenager is Delayed Missile-Tracking
Problems to Cost Raytheon Plenty U.S. Need for
Blast-Proof Trucks Climbs to 8.4B Friendly
Fire May Have Killed 2 GIs Air Force Officer
Reprimanded Over Incident with Private Security
Guard Sex Assault at Walter Reed Army Suspends
Recruiter for Anti-Gay E-Mail Rants Ranchers and
Army Are at Odds in Old West Enlistment of Blacks
Declining Iraq Duty Stretching National
Guard West Point Grads Exit Service at High
Rate Excessive Force by Marines Alleged New Navy
Ship San Antonio Found to be Rife With Flaws Back
Pay for Thousands of Disabled Vets Will be
Late Pentagon Issues Gag Order to Prevent U.S.
Military Trainers From Testifying Evidence of
Army Cover-Up Key to Tillman Hearings Blue Angels
Pilot Killed in Crash During Air Show At Langley,
Airman Pleads Guilty in Death of Bunkmate in
Iraq Eleven Soldiers Face Charges of Attacking
2 Soldiers Indicted in Killing of Spanish
A Small Sample of Headlines for Another Recent
Typical Month
Key US Army Ranks Begin to Thin 18 Air Force
Cadets Exit Over Cheating Marine is Charged in
Live-Ammo Fatality Troops at Odds With Ethics
Standards Humvee Doors Can Trap Troops 4
Soldiers, Reserve Officer Arrested on Suspicion
of Looting Nevada Navy Copter Crash Kills 5 Four
JASSM Test Failures Cast Doubt on Program's
Future Civilian Deaths Undermine War on
Taliban DOD Blocking YouTube, Others Army Body
Armor Contract Hasn't Been Awarded Yet Extended
Tours Break Bonds of GIs' Families Large Cost
Overrun Likely in Lockheed Helicopter
Contract Suit Claims U.S. Illegally Spied on
Detainees' Lawyers Six Men Charged in Bid-Rigging
at Fort Sam Texas Lawmakers Say They Will Probe
Deaths of Soldiers Rules Skirted, Millions Wasted
on Navy Boat Barriers 30-Year Prison Sentence in
Soldier Sex-Abuse Case Army and Air Force Deny
Formal Links to Christian Event Internal Marine
Document Details How Red Tape Blocked Gear for
Troops in Iraq
Whats Expected of the Military (Democracys
Military Imperatives)
  • Operational Competence
  • Sound Advice
  • Social Responsibility
  • Political Neutrality

Political Neutrality
  • Low (partisan) politics vs. high politics
  • Ideological neutrality(?)
  • Religious neutrality(?)
  • Cultural neutrality(?)

Revolting Generals?
General or Citizen?
From a catastrophically flawed, unrealistically
optimistic war plan to the administration's
latest surge strategy, this administration has
failed to employ and synchronize its political,
economic and military power. The latest revised
strategy is a desperate attempt by an
administration that has not accepted the
political and economic realities of this war. . .
. While the politicians espouse their rhetoric
designed to preserve their reputations and their
political power, our soldiers die! . . . The
administration, Congress and the entire
interagency, especially the Department of State,
must shoulder the responsibility for this
catastrophic failure and the American people must
hold them accountable. There has been a glaring,
unfortunate display of incompetent strategic
leadership within our national leaders. . . .
National efforts to date have been corrupted by
partisan politics that have prevented us from
devising effective, executable, supportable
solutions. At times, these partisan struggles
have led to political decisions that endangered
the lives of our sons and daughters on the
battlefield. . . . By neglect and incompetence at
the National Security Council level, that is the
path our political leaders chose and now America,
more precisely the American military, finds
itself in an intractable situation. Clearly,
mistakes have been made by the American military
in its application of power but even its greatest
failures in this war can be linked to America's
lack of commitment, priority and moral courage in
this war effort. . . . The president's recent
statement to America that he will listen to
military commanders is a matter of political
expediency. . . . LTG
Ricardo Sanchez, USA (Ret.)

Speech, October 12, 2007
Civic Engagement?
Franks Endorses Bush August 31, 2004
Shalikashvili Endorses Kerry July 28, 2004
Political Neutrality?
Subject CSA Sends OPSEC Awareness
(UNCLASSIFIED) CSA Sends Attached for your
information are words of wisdom from one of our
great lieutenants in Iraq that highlights how
OPSEC awareness is gaining momentum across our
Army. GEN Schoomaker
o/a 30 June 2006
From Inside the Ring, Washington Times, July
14, 2006 Gen. Peter Schoomaker, Army
chief of staff, was so taken by Lt. Cotton's
umbrage at the Times for revealing how the United
States tracks al Qaeda cash that the four-star
general sent it to soldiers via e-mail.     Said
an Army spokesman "The Army chief of staff
routinely communicates with the Army's generals
and soldiers about subjects of great concern. One
of those subjects is operational security. In
fact, he has been emphasizing for over a year not
posting on personal Web sites photographs of bomb
damage from attacks on soldiers and not Web
logging information that could assist enemies
targeting our soldiers."
Religious Neutrality?
I knew my God was bigger than his. I knew that
my God was a real God and his was an idol.
LTG William G. Gerry Boykin speaking about
battle with a Muslim warlord
Cultural Neutrality?
I believe that there are certain things, certain
types of conduct that are immoral. I believe that
military members who sleep with other military
members wives are immoral in their conduct, and
that we should not tolerate that. I believe that
homosexual acts between individuals are immoral,
and that we should not condone immoral acts. . .
. If we know about immoral acts, regardless of
committed by who . . . then we have a
responsibility. And I do not believe that the
Armed Forces of the United States are well served
by saying through our policies that its okay to
be immoral in any way, in any way, not just with
regards to homosexuality. This is from that
standpoint saying that gays should serve openly
in the military to me says that we, by policy,
would be condoning what I believe is immoral
activity. And therefore, as an individual, I
would not want that to be my policy, just like I
would not want it to be our policy that, if we
were to find out that so-and-so was sleeping with
someones wife, that we would just look the other
way, which we do not. We prosecute that kind of
immoral behavior between members of the Armed
CJCS Chairman Pace Interview Chicago Tribune
March 12, 2007
Tom TolesResponds
Degrees of Civilian Authority
  • Civilian Supremacy
  • Civilian Control
  • Civilian Subjugation

What is Civilian Control?
  • Oversight
  • Direction
  • Final Decisionmaking
  • Authority

Why Civilian Control?
  • Authority/Legitimacy
  • Restraint/Justification

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power
corrupts absolutely.
-- Lord Acton
A Fundamental Premise
  • Civilian control of the military is possible
    without democracy.
  • but
  • Democracy isnt possible without civilian control
    of the military.

President Trumans View
If there is one basic element in our
Constitution, it is civilian control of the
military. Policies are to be made by the elected
political officials, not by generals or admirals.
. . . We have always guarded the constitutional
provision that prevents the military from taking
over the government from the authorities, elected
by the people, in whom the power resides. . . .
Any man who has come up through the process of
political selection, as it functions in our
country, knows that success is a mixture of
principles steadfastly maintained and adjustments
made at the proper time and placeadjustments to
conditions, not adjustment of principles. These
are things a military officer is not likely to
learn in the course of his profession. The words
that dominate his thinking are command and
obedience, and the military definitions of
these words are not definitions for use in a
General MacArthurs View
I find in existence a new and heretofore unknown
and dangerous concept that the members of our
armed forces owe primary allegiance and loyalty
to those who temporarily exercise the authority
of the executive branch of government, rather
than to the country and its Constitution which
they are sworn to defend. No proposition could be
more dangerous. None could cast greater doubt
upon the integrity of the armed services. For its
application would at once convert them from their
traditional and constitutional role as the
instrument for the defense of the Republic into
something partaking of the nature of a praetorian
guard, owing sole allegiance to the political
master of the hour.
The Forms of Civilian Control
  • Objective Control Legal/Structural
  • (Being a
  • Subjective Control Attitudinal
  • (Being Professional)

How to Control the Military?
  • Law
  • Organization
  • Budget
  • Force Structure
  • Doctrine
  • Technology
  • Mission
  • Culture

Two Conceptions of the Military
  • Warfighting machine (armed force that prepares
    for and wages war).
  • Self-contained, self-sufficient, full-service
    enterprise capable of being projected over great
    distances and sustained for long periods of time
    to deal effectively with a full range of complex
    emergencies (on their own terms).

Which is Most (and Least) Controllable?
  • A traditional warfighting military?
  • A special-operations-dominated force engaged in
    covert action intelligence operations?
  • A military whose primary missions are
    peacekeeping, nation building, humanitarian
    assistance, disaster response?

Service Core Values
The Slippery SlopeFrom Virtue to Vice
  • Normative Values
  • Competence
  • Courage Distorted Values
  • Decisiveness Alienation
  • Dedication Arrogance
    Subverted Values
  • Discipline Blind Obedience
  • Honor Exclusivity Incompetence
  • Obedience Intolerance Persecution
  • Parochialism
  • Secrecy Unaccountability

Civilian Subjugation
  • Militaristic civilian officials.
  • Militarily illiterate civilian
  • officials.
  • Civilian officials as military
  • advocates (not overseers).

Civilian Supremacy
  • Public Oversight
  • of
  • Legislative Oversight
  • of
  • Executive Oversight
  • of
  • The Military
  • (willingly accountable, self-policing)

Who Should Decide?
  • What the militarys mission is?
  • How the military is organized, equipped, manned,
  • and trained?
  • What military qualifications and standards should
  • be?
  • Whether, when, and how to use the military?
  • Whether and when to commit the military to
  • (and withdraw the military from) hostilities?
  • How much to spend on the military? For what?
  • Who leads the military?

The military itself?
Executive civilian officials?
Congressional civilian officials?
The People?
Congress, the Overseer
Military Veterans in Congress 111th
Congress 121 out of 535 members 110th
Congress 126 out of 535 members 109th Congress
139 out of 535 members 96th Congress 298
out of 535 members 91st Congress 398 out
of 535 members
The Failure of Intellect
  • Civilians Military Illiteracy
  • Strategic Illiteracy
  • Military Civic Illiteracy

Oath of Office 5 USC 3331
  • An individual, except the President, elected
    or appointed to an office of honor or profit in
    the civil service or uniformed services, shall
    take the following oath
  • ''I, _ _ _ _ _ , do solemnly swear (or affirm)
    that I will support and defend the Constitution
    of the United States against all enemies, foreign
    and domestic that I will bear true faith and
    allegiance to the same that I take this
    obligation freely, without any mental reservation
    or purpose of evasion and that I will well and
    faithfully discharge the duties of the office on
    which I am about to enter. So help me God.''

The Meaning of the Oath
  • On my honor, I willingly and unreservedly promise
    to . . .
  • Believe in, subscribe to, be loyal to, and employ
    legitimately authorized means at my disposal to
    preserve and protect . . .
  • The principles, values, processes, and
    institutional prerogatives and arrangements . . .
  • Specified and embodied in
  • the Preamble
  • the main body
  • the amendments and
  • the philosophical foundation (the Declaration of
    Independence) . . .
  • Of the U.S. Constitution against all
    partiesinside and outside government, inside and
    outside the United Stateswhose actions threaten
    any of the foregoing.

Backup Slides
Enlistment Oath 10 USC 502
  • Each person enlisting in an armed force shall
    take the following oath
  • ''I, _ _ _ _ _ , do solemnly swear (or affirm)
    that I will support and defend the Constitution
    of the United States against all enemies, foreign
    and domestic that I will bear true faith and
    allegiance to the same and that I will obey the
    orders of the President of the United States and
    the orders of the officers appointed over me,
    according to regulations and the Uniform Code of
    Military Justice. So help me God.''

The Preamble(Americas Security Credo)
  • A More Perfect Union
  • (national unity)
  • Justice
  • Domestic Tranquility
  • Common Defense
  • General Welfare
  • Liberty

The Main Body
  • Civilian Control of Military
  • Rule of Law
  • Popular Sovereignty
  • Divided/Shared Powers
  • Checks Balances
  • Public Accountability
  • Habeas Corpus
  • Limited Government
  • (Inherent, Implied, Emergency Powers?
  • Judicial Review? Separation of Military-
  • Police Powers?)

The Amendments
  • Separation of Church-State
  • Free Speech, Press
  • Freedom of Assembly, Grievance
  • Armed Militias
  • Citizen Due Process/
  • Equal Protection
  • No Unreasonable Search, Seizure
  • Speedy Public Trial by Jury

The Philosophical Foundation(The Declaration of
  • Equality
  • Natural Rights
  • (specified, unspecified e.g.,
  • privacy, the right to know)
  • Consent of the Governed
  • Dissent of the Governed
  • (including the right/obligation to
  • overthrow tyrannical government!)

Article 88, UCMJ
The Army
The Navy Marine Corps
The Air Force
The Coast Guard
The 90s Crisis Debate
The U.S. military is now more alienated from its
civilian leadership than at any time in American
history, and more vocal about it. . . . The very
worst breach of civilian control occurred just
after Bill Clintons election on the question of
homosexuals serving openly in the armed forces. .
. . The implications of this behavior at the
beginning of the Clinton administration were
enormous. Defiance at the top led to resistance
all down the line, and, even more troubling, to
the ridicule and contempt expressed openly about
the President across the officer corps and
throughout the military. . . . A coup has never
really been a serious threat, and the chances
today, even of an attempt, are virtually nil.
Civilian control is too deeply rooted in our
tradition and in a political system based on the
rule and the legitimacy of the law. Americans are
too imbued with constitutionalism. . . . What has
mattered in the United States . . . has not been
whether civilians are in control. . . . The real
problem of civilian control is the relative
weight or influence of the military in the
decisions the government makes. . . . Active
steps will still be needed to reverse the
corrosion of proper practice that has occurred. .
. . Proper civil-military relations will have to
be taught to the officer corps at every level,
with a new sensitivity and a sophistication of
understanding so that present trends can be
reversed. Over time, that modicum of trust and
confidence between civilian and military that
characterized an earlier age must be rekindled.

Richard H. Kohn
Out of
Control The Crisis in Civil-Military Relations

The National Interest, Spring 1994
The 90s Gap Debate (II)
The gap has been misidentified and highly
oversold. . . . The gap must be kept but managed.
. . . Is there really a fundamental,
irreconcilable, and ultimately dangerous gap in
values between America and its military? No
doubt, the values, beliefs, and patterns of
behavior that define the culture of military
organizations are different from the culture of
society in general. But I believe that most of
America appreciates that difference, recognizing
that the unique values and attributes of military
culture are an occupational necessity for an
institution tasked with winning under the
unnatural stresses of war. . . . Eliminating the
gap might solve the problem that the military
does not look like society, but it might create a
greater one that the military will look too much
like society. . . . If the military goes too
far in pleasing the social mores of contemporary
society, it may lose the culture needed for
success in war. If it goes too rigidly in a
purely martial direction, it could create a
praetorian force contemptuous of the society it
protects with military disobedience toward
civilian superiors being the first sign of
John Hillen
The Civilian-Military Gap Keep It, Defend
It, Manage It
Naval Institute Proceedings, October 1998
The 90s Gap Debate (I)
U.S. military personnel of all ranks are feeling
increasingly alienated from their own country,
and are becoming both more conservative and more
politically active than ever before. . . . The
military appears to be becoming politically less
representative of society, with a long-term
downward trend in the number of officers willing
to identify themselves as liberals. . . . The
United States may be in danger of drifting into a
situation in which the military is neither well
understood nor well used and yet . . . is big,
politically active, and frequently employed on a
large scale to execute American foreign policy. .
. . Mutual distrust between the nations
political elites and military leaders could
ultimately undercut U.S. foreign policy.
Thomas E.
The Widening Gap Between the Military and
The Atlantic Monthly, July 1997