Civil-Military Relations and Shared Responsibility
A Four-Nation Study
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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Of all the books and articles I have written, this is indeed one of the most difficult. Attempting to compare four different polities, each with its own history and culture at times seemed like an overwhelming undertaking. Yet, it seemed to me that it was time to try to test at least one proposition on more than one country. I was lucky that I had already done extensive academic work on civilmilitary...
1. A Conceptual Framework for Shared Responsibility
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The primary focus of the study of civil-military relations in established, mature, stable polities should not be political control, for political control in such systems is usually a given: officers in all four armies discussed in this book—Germany, Canada, Russia, and the U.S.—took an oath recognizing civilian supremacy. A more useful approach to understanding this special relationship...
I. United States
2. From John F. Kennedy through Jimmy Carter
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During John F. Kennedy’s presidency, the U.S. military became involved in three major actions—the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Vietnam. Kennedy attempted to move toward a relationship of shared responsibility with the military, but for several reasons he did not achieve it. The main reason was Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara’s refusal to work with the...
3. From Ronald Reagan through Barack Obama
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Despite continued policy differences and a sometimes rocky relationship, civil-military relations saw the emergence of shared responsibility in a number of cases, in particular under Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. Differences of opinion under these administrations were worked out in a congenial, if sometimes energetic fashion...
4. From Konrad Adenauer through Willy Brandt
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Unlike the case in the United States, Russia, and Canada, civil-military relations in the Federal Republic of Germany started from scratch. There wasn’t a German army (Bundeswehr) prior to 1955. When the Germans created it, they not only had to build a structure, find qualified personnel, and obtain weapons, they had to break with Germany’s military past, especially...
5. From Helmut Schmidt through Angela Merkel
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The period after 1974 witnessed a major shift in the focus of civil-military relations. While the issue of tradition gradually moved into the background, focus changed from that of staffing and outfitting a military prepared to face a mass onslaught by the Russians to an expeditionary military. That meant not only a change in psychology on the part of the military, but the construction...
6. From Paul Hellyer through Pierre Trudeau
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One of the main themes underlying civil-military relations in Germany was fear of a resurgent armed forces that could represent a danger to the civilian population: in Canada the populace ignored the military and saw little use for it in the furtherance of national interests. For many Canadians, the armed forces were a unnecessary and expensive organization, useful only...
7. From Brian Mulroney through Stephen Harper
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After fifteen years of the antimilitary Pierre Trudeau and the machinations of Defence Minister Paul Hellyer, the Canadian military was hopeful that the newly elected Conservative Brian Mulroney would be more supportive. At least, the armed forces believed he could not be worse than Trudeau or Hellyer had been. He was making some positive comments about the...
8. From Boris Yeltsin through Vladimir Putin
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The collapse of the USSR in 1991 ushered in a revolution in Russian civil-military relations. When Gorbachev came to power, he was willing to take on one of the country’s most sacred institutions—the Soviet Army, the organization that had saved the country from the German onslaught in World War II, and one of the most trusted and respected institutions in the country.1
9. From Vladimir Putin through Dmitry Medvedev
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Putin understood military culture. He also made it clear that he was in charge, but he believed in attempting to create shared responsibility if possible. He had served as a KGB officer, which is structurally modeled on the armed forces. He knew the military mind differed from the civilian mind, and he understood that Yeltsin had violated just about every precept of military...
10. The Search for Shared Responsibility
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It is now time to return to the questions posed in the introduction. The thesis of this work is that shared responsibility is the most desirable form of civil-military relations. In such a relationship, the civilians are in charge, and there is no question that their policies will be implemented. But the environment in which the decision-making process takes place has a profound impact...
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Page Count: 368
Publication Year: 2013