Homeland Security and US Civil-Military Relations; Strategic Insights: v.2, issue 8 (August 2003)
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America's post-9/11 obsession with securing the homeland shifted the domestic political landscape, including American civil-military relations. The American model of civil-military relations has been characterized by a contract according to which the military defends the nation's borders while domestic police keep order at home. On September 11, in the words of DoD Transformation czar Arthur K. Cebrowski, America's contract with the Department of Defense was torn up and a new contract is being written. This Strategic Insight describes some of the forces compelling military changes in the historical context of US civil-military relations. Although the military itself may resist change, institution-building (outside and within that organization) and attitudinal changes in response to massive terrorist attacks at home cannot but alter American civil-military relations. Much of the shift in American politics since 9/11 has to do with the nature and requirements of homeland security: it is both public and private, interagency (involving a number of government elements) and civil-military. Implementing the new national security strategy will require cooperation across sectors of activity and jurisdictions of authority. The quality of America's civil-military relations will be a factor in the effectiveness of America's war on terror, while by the same token, the conduct of the war will irrevocably shape those relations. Given the US military lead in homeland defense, civilian control of the military should be a topic of particular interest to anyone concerned with the function of democracy in wartime.
This article appeared in Strategic Insights (August 2003), v.2 no.8
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