The Importance Of Civilian Control Of The Military

1204 Words 5 Pages
“The supremacy of the civil over the military is fundamental to the American system of government, and is wholeheartedly accepted by every officer and soldier in the military establishment.” General MacArthur wrote these words in his book Reminiscences, after he had been relieved from his command in Korea in 1951. Military subordination in civil-military relations would be uncontested in contemporary scholarly discussions, if his statement would have a perpetual validity. Civilian control of the military is the attempt of societies to find a solution to a paradox: Armed forces are created as masters of violence to protect the society against foreign threats, but because of its capacity for violence, this institution can likewise overthrow …show more content…
First, lets turn to the main ideas of the four theorists mentioned above. After World War II, Samuel Huntington was the most influential theorist of civil-military relations and laid the foundation for future discussion in this field. Certainly, Huntington’s theory was influenced by the historical context of the late1940s and 50s in the U.S.: the Cold War and the policy of containing communism, the Korean War with the conflict between President Truman and General MacArthur, and the rise of a liberal society. Furthermore, the U.S. armed forces did not go through a major downsizing after the Second World War, which was typically the case after major conflicts. Consequently, the containment of the Soviet Union required a large standing Army, Navy and Air Force. Huntington reflects on American liberalism and partially criticizes the liberal society and liberal institutions. His aim is to present a holistic theory of civil-military relations and present necessary changes in civilian control in order to maximize military security. Huntington main thesis is that only a professionalized officer corps can allow effective civilian control. Military professionalism is …show more content…
Like Huntington, Janowitz focuses on the officer corps and the concept of professionalism. Janowitz proclaims a more pragmatic approach. He contends that politicization of the military is unavoidable in respect of the Soviet threat because of international and domestic politics. Furthermore, he postulates, that in the nuclear age the military must be able to provide strategic deterrence and be prepared for a limited war. This is Janowitz concept of the constabulary force: "the military establishment becomes a constabulary force when it is continuously prepared to act, committed to the minimum use of force, and seeks viable international relations, rather than victory, because it has incorporated a protective military posture." On the contrary, he admits, that the constabulary force will increase military frustration, which creates new problems of civilian control. His answer to that is a greater civilian oversight of military affairs. This stands in stark contrast to the autonomy of the military of Huntington’s theory. Janowitz proclaims a more pragmatic professionalism of the officer corps, but he does little to provide any solution, if a breakdown in civil-military relations

Related Documents