The level and structure of power delegated to high-ranking military officials in a democracy : a case study of the United States
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Hungary is in transition to democracy. The country is democratizing its institutions, including the armed forces. The process of establishing democratic civil-military relations, adequate command and force structures as well as re-professionalization of the military personnel is based on Euro- Atlantic model. In democratic civil-military relations the military must be excluded from political decision-making. However, as the cases of established liberal democracies demonstrate, the military often attempts to exert influence on political decisions. The Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 dealt with the question of how much influence the military should have, and who should exercise this influence. By strengthening the position of the Chairman of the JCS, who is the principal military adviser, the Congress intended to improve professional military advice. Even though the American society generally evaluates Goldwater-Nichols as a success, opinions on the consequences of the Act vary considerably. The thesis argues that a Chairman fully exploiting his position and bringing subjectivity into decision-making processes can weaken the civilian authority over the military, which contradicts the intentions of the legislation. Hungary can make good use of the U.S. case in finding the appropriate balance between civilian and military influence on political decisions related to national security
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