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Civilian control of the military is a doctrine in
military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or pa ...
and
political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of ...
that places ultimate responsibility for a
country's
country's
strategic Strategy (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxim ...
decision-making In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as the Cognition, cognitive process resulting in the selection of a belief or a course of action among several possible alternative options, it could be ...
in the hands of the
civilian Civilians under international humanitarian law are "persons who are not members of the armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War ...

civilian
political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as the Cognition, cognitive process resulting in the selection ...

political
leadership Leadership, both as a research area and as a practical skill, encompasses the ability of an individual, group or organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and B ...

leadership
, rather than professional
military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or pa ...

military
officers An officer is a person who has a position of authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It ...
. Civilian control is often seen as a prerequisite feature of a stable
liberal democracy Liberal democracy, also referred to as Western democracy, is the combination of a liberal Liberal or liberalism may refer to: Politics *a supporter of liberalism, a political and moral philosophy **Liberalism by country *an adherent of a L ...
. Use of the term in scholarly analyses tends to take place in the context of a
democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to cho ...

democracy
governed by
elected
elected
official An official is someone who holds an office (function or , regardless whether it carries an actual with it) in an or government and participates in the exercise of , (either their own or that of their superior and/or employer, public or legally ...

official
s, though the subordination of the military to
political control
political control
is not unique to these societies. One example is the
People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

People's Republic of China
.
Mao Zedong Mao Zedong pronounced ; also Romanization of Chinese, romanised traditionally as Mao Tse-tung. (December 26, 1893 – September 9, 1976), also known as Chairman Mao, was a Chinese communist revolutionary who was the Proclamation of the ...

Mao Zedong
stated that "Our principle is that the Party commands the gun, and the gun must never be allowed to command the Party," reflecting the primacy of the
Communist Party of China ) , anthem = "The Internationale "The Internationale" (french: "L'Internationale", italic=no, ) is a left-wing anthem. It has been a standard of the socialism, socialist movement since the late nineteenth century, when the Second ...

Communist Party of China
(and
communist parties A communist party is a left-wing Left-wing politics supports social equality and egalitarianism Egalitarianism (), or equalitarianism, is a school of thought within political philosophy that builds from the concept of social equal ...
in general) as decision-makers in Marxist–Leninist and
Maoist Maoism, officially called Mao Zedong Thought () by the Chinese Communist Party ) , anthem = "The Internationale" , seats1_title = National People's Congress (13th National People's Congress, 13th) , seats1 = , s ...
theories of
democratic centralism Democratic centralism is a practice in which political decisions reached by voting processes are binding upon all members of the political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a country's electi ...
.
Mao Zedong Mao Zedong pronounced ; also Romanization of Chinese, romanised traditionally as Mao Tse-tung. (December 26, 1893 – September 9, 1976), also known as Chairman Mao, was a Chinese communist revolutionary who was the Proclamation of the ...

Mao Zedong
, English language translation by Marxists.org.
Problems of War and Strategy
'. 1938. (''See also: Wikiquote: Mao Zedong''.)
As noted by
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC, UNC-Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Chapel Hill, or simply Carolina) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information f ...
professor Richard H. Kohn, "civilian control is not a fact but a process". Affirmations of respect for the values of civilian control notwithstanding, the actual level of control sought or achieved by the civilian leadership may vary greatly in practice, from a statement of broad policy goals that military
commander Commander is a common naval A navy, naval force, or maritime force is the branch of a nation's armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfa ...

commander
s are expected to translate into
operational An operational definition specifies concrete, replicable procedures that reliably produce a differentiated, measurable outcome. For example, an operational definition of fear often includes measurable physiologic responses such as tachycardia, galva ...
plans, to the direct selection of specific targets for attack on the part of governing
politician A politician is a person active in party politics A political party is an organization that coordinates candidate A candidate, or nominee, is the prospective recipient of an award or honor, or a person seeking or being considered for some ...

politician
s. National Leaders with limited experience in military matters often have little choice but to rely on the advice of professional military commanders trained in the
art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use ...
and
science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of ...
of warfare to inform the limits of policy; in such cases, the military establishment may enter the
bureaucratic The term bureaucracy () may refer both to a body of non-elected governing officials and to an administrative policy-making group. Historically, a bureaucracy was a government administration managed by departments staffed with non-elected offi ...

bureaucratic
arena to advocate for or against a particular course of action, shaping the policy-making process and blurring any clear cut lines of civilian control. The reverse situation, where professional military officers control national politics, is called a
military dictatorship A military dictatorship is a dictatorship in which the military exerts complete or substantial control over political authority, and the dictator is often a high-ranked military officer. The reverse situation is to have civilian control of the m ...
. A lack of control over the military may result in a
state within a state A deep state (translation of Turkish "derin devlet") is a type of governance made up of potentially secret and unauthorised networks of power operating independently of a Sovereign state, state's political leadership in pursuit of their own agend ...
. One author, paraphrasing
Samuel P. Huntington Samuel Phillips Huntington (April 18, 1927 – December 24, 2008) was an American political scientist, adviser and academic. He spent more than half a century at Harvard University Harvard University is a Private university, private Ivy ...
's writings in '' The Soldier and the State'', has summarized the civilian control ideal as "the proper subordination of a competent, professional military to the ends of policy as determined by civilian authority".


Rationales

Advocates of civilian control generally take a
Clausewitzian
Clausewitzian
view of
war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (new ...

war
, emphasizing its
political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of res ...

political
character. The
words In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most lang ...
of
Georges Clemenceau Georges Eugène Benjamin Clemenceau (, also , ; 28 September 1841 – 24 November 1929) was a French statesman who served as Prime Minister of France from 1906 to 1909 and again from 1917 until 1920. A popular figure of the Independent Radicals ...

Georges Clemenceau
, "War is too serious a matter to entrust to military men" (also frequently rendered as "War is too important to be left to the
general A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines Marines or naval infantry, are typically a military force trained to operate on Littoral Zone, littoral zone in suppo ...

general
s"), wryly reflect this view. Given that broad
strategic Strategy (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxim ...
decisions, such as the decision to declare a war, start an invasion, or end a conflict, have a major impact on the
citizen Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection. Each state determines the conditions under which it will recognize persons as its citizens, and t ...

citizen
s of the country, they are seen by civilian control advocates as best guided by the will of the people (as expressed by their political representatives), rather than left solely to an elite group of tactical experts. The
military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or pa ...

military
serves as a special
government agency A government or state agency, sometimes an appointed commission, is a permanent or semi-permanent organization in the machinery of government The machinery of government (sometimes abbreviated as MoG) is the interconnected structures and proce ...
, which is supposed to ''implement'', rather than ''formulate'', policies that require the use of certain types of physical force. Kohn succinctly summarizes this view when he writes that:
The point of civilian control is to make security subordinate to the larger purposes of a nation, rather than the other way around. The purpose of the military is to defend society, not to define it.
A state's effective use of force is an issue of great concern for all national leaders, who must rely on the military to supply this aspect of their
authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social science that uses various methods of Empiric ...

authority
. The danger of granting military leaders full
autonomy In developmental psychology Developmental psychology is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions ...
or sovereignty is that they may ignore or supplant the democratic decision-making process, and use physical force, or the threat of physical force, to achieve their preferred outcomes; in the worst cases, this may lead to a coup or
military dictatorship A military dictatorship is a dictatorship in which the military exerts complete or substantial control over political authority, and the dictator is often a high-ranked military officer. The reverse situation is to have civilian control of the m ...
. A related danger is the use of the military to crush domestic
political opposition Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. The branch of social science that stu ...
through intimidation or sheer physical force, interfering with the ability to have free and fair
election An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or multiple individuals to hold Public administration, public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative dem ...

election
s, a key part of the democratic process. This poses the paradox that "because we fear others we create an institution of violence to protect us, but then we fear the very institution we created for protection". Also, military personnel, because of the nature of their job, are much more willing to use force to settle disputes than civilians because they are trained military personnel that specialize strictly in warfare. The military is authoritative and hierarchical, rarely allowing discussion and prohibiting dissention. For instance, in the
Empire of Japan The was a historical nation-state A nation state is a political unit where the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of Sta ...

Empire of Japan
,
prime ministers A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpar ...
and almost everyone in high positions were military people like
Hideki Tojo Hideki Tojo (, ', December 30, 1884 – December 23, 1948) was a Japanese politician, general officer, general of the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) and convicted War Criminal, war criminal who served as Prime Minister of Japan and President ...

Hideki Tojo
, and advocated and basically pressured the leaders to start military conflicts against China and others because they believed that they would ultimately be victorious.


Liberal theory and the American Founding Fathers

Many of the
Founding Fathers of the United States The Founding Fathers of the United States, or simply the Founding Fathers or Founders, were a group of American revolutionary Patriots (also known as Revolutionaries, Continentals, Rebels, or American Whigs) were those colonists of the Thi ...
were suspicious of standing militaries. As
Samuel Adams Samuel Adams ( – October 2, 1803) was an American statesman, Political philosophy, political philosopher, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was a politician in Province of Massachusetts Bay, colonial Massachusetts, a l ...

Samuel Adams
wrote in 1768, "Even when there is a necessity of the military power, within a land, a wise and prudent people will always have a watchful and jealous eye over it". Even more forceful are the words of
Elbridge Gerry Elbridge Gerry (; July 17, 1744 (Old Style and New Style dates, OS July 6, 1744) – November 23, 1814) was an American Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father, politician, and diplomat who served as the fifth Vice President of t ...
, a delegate to the American Constitutional Convention, who wrote that " anding armies in time of peace are inconsistent with the principles of republican Governments, dangerous to the liberties of a free people, and generally converted into destructive engines for establishing despotism." In Federalist No. 8, one of ''
The Federalist ''The Federalist Papers'' is a collection of 85 articles and essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay under the Pseudonym, collective pseudonym "Publius" to promote the History of the United States Constitution, ratificat ...
'' papers documenting the ideas of some of the Founding Fathers,
Alexander Hamilton Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757July 12, 1804) was an American statesman, politician, legal scholar, military commander, lawyer, banker, and economist. He was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States The Founding Fa ...

Alexander Hamilton
expressed concern that maintaining a large standing army would be a dangerous and expensive undertaking. In his principal argument for the ratification of the proposed constitution, he argued that only by maintaining a strong union could the new country avoid such a pitfall. Using the European experience as a negative example and the British experience as a positive one, he presented the idea of a strong nation protected by a navy with no need of a standing army. The implication was that control of a large military force is, at best, difficult and expensive, and at worst invites war and division. He foresaw the necessity of creating a civilian government that kept the military at a distance.
James Madison James Madison Jr. (March 16, 1751June 28, 1836) was an American statesman, diplomat, expansionist, philosopher, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited wi ...

James Madison
, another writer of many of ''The Federalist'' papers, expressed his concern about a standing military in comments before the Constitutional Convention in June 1787:
In time of actual war, great discretionary powers are constantly given to the Executive Magistrate. Constant apprehension of War, has the same tendency to render the head too large for the body. A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive, will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defense against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people. Max Farrand. 1911.
Records of the Federal Convention of 1787
'. New Haven: Yale University Press. 1:465.
The
United States Constitution The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation An organization, or orga ...

United States Constitution
placed considerable limitations on the
legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with the Executive (government), executive and Judiciary, ...
. Coming from a tradition of legislative superiority in government, many were concerned that the proposed Constitution would place so many limitations on the legislature that it would become impossible for such a body to prevent an executive from starting a war. Hamilton argued in Federalist No. 26 that it would be equally as bad for a legislature to be unfettered by any other agency and that restraints would actually be more likely to preserve liberty. James Madison, in Federalist No. 47, continued Hamilton's argument that distributing powers among the various branches of government would prevent any one group from gaining so much power as to become unassailable. In
Federalist No. 48 Federalist No. 48 is an essay by James Madison James Madison Jr. (March 16, 1751June 28, 1836) was an American statesman, diplomat, expansionist, philosopher, and Founding Father who served as the fourth president of the United States fr ...
, however, Madison warned that while the separation of powers is important, the departments must not be so far separated as to have no ability to control the others. Finally, in Federalist No. 51, Madison argued that to create a government that relied primarily on the good nature of the incumbent to ensure proper government was folly. Institutions must be in place to check incompetent or malevolent leaders. Most importantly, no single branch of government ought to have control over any single aspect of governing. Thus, all three branches of government must have some control over the military, and the system of checks and balances maintained among the other branches would serve to help control the military. Hamilton and Madison thus had two major concerns: (1) the detrimental effect on liberty and democracy of a large standing army and (2) the ability of an unchecked legislature or executive to take the country to war precipitously. These concerns drove American military policy for the first century and a half of the country's existence. While armed forces were built up during wartime, the pattern after every war up to and including World War II was to demobilize quickly and return to something approaching pre-war force levels. However, with the advent of the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country loc ...
in the 1950s, the need to create and maintain a sizable peacetime military force "engendered new concerns" of militarism and about how such a large force would affect
civil–military relations Civil–military relations (Civ-Mil or CMR) describes the relationship between civil society as a whole (and its civil authority) and the military organization or organizations established to protect it. CMR incorporates a diverse, often normative ...
in the United States.


Domestic law enforcement

The United States'
Posse Comitatus Act The Posse Comitatus Act is a United States federal law The law of the United States comprises many levels of codified and uncodified forms of law, of which the most important is the United States Constitution, which prescribes the foundation of ...
, passed in 1878, prohibits any part of the Army or the Air Force (since the U.S. Air Force evolved from the U.S. Army) from engaging in domestic law enforcement activities unless they do so pursuant to lawful authority. Similar prohibitions apply to the Navy and Marine Corps by service regulation, since the actual Posse Comitatus Act does not apply to them. The Coast Guard is exempt from Posse Comitatus since it normally operates under the
Department of Homeland Security The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the U.S. The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country primarily located in North America North Amer ...
versus the
Department of DefenseDepartment of Defence or Department of Defense may refer to: Current departments of defence * Department of Defence (Australia) The Department of Defence (DoD) is a Government department, department of the Government of Australia charged with ...
and enforces U.S. laws, even when operating as a service with the U.S. Navy. The act is often misunderstood to prohibit any use of federal military forces in law enforcement, but this is not the case. For example, the President has explicit authority under the Constitution and federal law to use federal forces or federalized militias to enforce the laws of the United States. The act's primary purpose is to prevent local law enforcement officials from utilizing federal forces in this way by forming a "posse" consisting of federal Soldiers or Airmen. There are, however, practical political concerns in the United States that make the use of federal military forces less desirable for use in domestic law enforcement. Under the U.S. Constitution, law and order is primarily a matter of state concern. As a practical matter, when military forces are necessary to maintain domestic order and enforce the laws, state
militia A militia () is generally an army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" eminine, ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on land. In the broadest sense, it is the land-b ...
forces under state control i.e., that state's
Army National Guard The Army National Guard (ARNG), in conjunction with the Air National Guard The Air National Guard (ANG), also known as the Air Guard, is a federal military reserve force of the United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USA ...
and/or
Air National Guard The Air National Guard (ANG), also known as the Air Guard, is a Reserve components of the United States Armed Forces, federal military reserve force of the United States Air Force, as well as the militia (United States), militia air force of eac ...

Air National Guard
are usually the force of first resort, followed by federalized state militia forces i.e., the Army National Guard and/or Air National Guard "federalized" as part of the U.S. Army and/or U.S. Air Force, with active federal forces (to include "federal" reserve component forces other than the National Guard) being the least politically palatable option.


NATO and EU member states

Strong democratic control of the military is a prerequisite for membership in
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance A military alliance is a formal agreement betwe ...
. Strong democracy and rule of law, implying democratic control of the military, are prerequisites for membership in the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
.


Maoist approach

Maoist Maoism, officially called Mao Zedong Thought () by the Chinese Communist Party ) , anthem = "The Internationale" , seats1_title = National People's Congress (13th National People's Congress, 13th) , seats1 = , s ...
military-political theories of
people's war People's war ( Chinese: 人民战争), also called protracted people's war, is a Maoist Maoism, or Mao Zedong Thought (), is a variety of Marxism–Leninism that Mao Zedong developed for realising a socialist revolution in the agricultural, p ...
and
democratic centralism Democratic centralism is a practice in which political decisions reached by voting processes are binding upon all members of the political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a country's electi ...
also support the subordination of military forces to the directives of the
communist party A communist party is a political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas about politics, and part ...
(although the guerrilla experience of many early leading
Communist Party of China ) , anthem = "The Internationale "The Internationale" (french: "L'Internationale", italic=no, ) is a left-wing anthem. It has been a standard of the socialism, socialist movement since the late nineteenth century, when the Second ...

Communist Party of China
figures may make their status as
civilian Civilians under international humanitarian law are "persons who are not members of the armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War ...

civilian
s somewhat ambiguous). In a 1929 essay ''On Correcting Mistaken Ideas in the Party'',
Mao Mao Zedong pronounced ; also romanised Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for st ...

Mao
explicitly refuted "comrades regard military affairs and politics as opposed to each other and refuse to recognize that military affairs are only one means of accomplishing political tasks", prescribing increased scrutiny of the
People's Liberation Army The People's Liberation Army (PLA) is the armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between St ...
by the Party and greater political training of officers and enlistees as a means of reducing military autonomy.
Mao Zedong Mao Zedong pronounced ; also Romanization of Chinese, romanised traditionally as Mao Tse-tung. (December 26, 1893 – September 9, 1976), also known as Chairman Mao, was a Chinese communist revolutionary who was the Proclamation of the ...

Mao Zedong
,
English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), g ...

English language
translation by Marxists.org.
On Correcting Mistaken Ideas in the Party
'. 1929.
In Mao's theory, the military—which serves both as a symbol of the
revolution In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, suc ...

revolution
and an instrument of the
dictatorship of the proletariat In Marxist philosophy Marxist philosophy or Marxist theory are works in philosophy that are strongly influenced by Karl Marx's Historical materialism, materialist approach to theory, or works written by Marxists. Marxist philosophy may be broadly ...
—is not merely expected to defer to the direction of the ruling non-uniformed Party members (who today exercise control in the
People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

People's Republic of China
through the
Central Military Commission A Central Military Commission or National Defense Commission is an organization typical of socialist Socialism is a Political philosophy, political, Social philosophy, social, and economic philosophy encompassing a range of Economic systems, ...
), but also to actively participate in the revolutionary political campaigns of the Maoist era.


Methods of asserting civilian control

Civilian leaders cannot usually hope to challenge their militaries by means of force, and thus must guard against any potential usurpation of powers through a combination of policies, laws, and the inculcation of the values of civilian control in their armed services. The presence of a distinct civilian
police The police are a Law enforcement organization, constituted body of Law enforcement officer, persons empowered by a State (polity), state, with the aim to law enforcement, enforce the law, to ensure the safety, health and possessions of citize ...

police
force,
militia A militia () is generally an army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" eminine, ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on land. In the broadest sense, it is the land-b ...
, or other
paramilitary A paramilitary organization is a semi-militarized force whose organizational structure, tactics, training, subculture, and (often) function are similar to those of a professional military A military, also known collectively as armed f ...
group may mitigate to an extent the disproportionate strength that a country's military possesses; civilian
gun A gun is a ranged weapon A ranged weapon is any weapon A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or device that can be used with the intent to inflict physical damage or harm. Weapons are used to increase the efficacy and efficien ...

gun
ownership has also been justified on the grounds that it prevents potential abuses of power by authorities (military or otherwise). Opponents of gun control have cited the need for a balance of power in order to enforce the civilian control of the military.


A civilian commander-in-chief

The establishment of a civilian
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role that one adopts, or a fictional ch ...
,
head of government The head of government is either the highest or second-highest official in the executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administrat ...
or other government figure as the military's
commander-in-chief A commander-in-chief or supreme commander is the person who exercises supreme command and control Command and control is a "set of organizational and technical attributes and processes ... hat A collection of 18th and 19th century men' ...
within the
chain of command A command hierarchy is a group of people who carry out orders based on others' authority within the group. It can be viewed as part of a power structure, in which it is usually seen as the most vulnerable and also the most powerful part. Milit ...
is one legal construct for the propagation of civilian control. In the United States, Article I of the
Constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...

Constitution
gives the
Congress Congresses are formal meetings of the representatives of different countries A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, ...

Congress
the power to
declare war ''Declare'' ( 2000) is a supernatural spy novel by American author Tim Powers. The novel presents a secret history of the Cold War, and earned several major fantasy fiction awards. Plot summary The non-linear plot, shifting back and forth in time ...
(in the
War Powers Clause Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the U.S. Constitution, sometimes referred to as the War Powers Clause, vests in the Congress A congress is a formal meeting of the representatives of different countries, constituent state A constituen ...
), while Article II of the Constitution establishes the
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a Chief Executive Officer, chi ...

President
as the commander-in-chief. Ambiguity over when the President could take military action without declaring war resulted in the War Powers Resolution of 1973. American presidents have used the power to dismiss high-ranking officers as a means to assert policy and strategic control. Three examples include Abraham Lincoln's dismissal of George B. McClellan, George McClellan in the American Civil War when McClellan failed to pursue the Confederate States Army, Confederate Army of Northern Virginia following the Battle of Antietam, Harry S. Truman President Truman's relief of General Douglas MacArthur, relieving Douglas MacArthur of command in the Korean War after MacArthur repeatedly contradicted the Truman administration's stated policies on the war's conduct, and Barack Obama's acceptance of Stanley A. McChrystal, Stanley McChrystal's resignation in the War in Afghanistan (2001–present), War in Afghanistan after a ''Rolling Stone'' article was published where he mocked several members of the Obama administration, including Vice President of the United States, Vice President Joe Biden.


Composition of the military

Differing opinions exist as to the desirability of distinguishing the military as a body separate from the larger society. In ''The Soldier and the State'', Samuel P. Huntington, Huntington argued for what he termed "objective civilian control", "focus[ing] on a politically neutral, autonomous, and professional officer corps". This autonomous professionalism, it is argued, best inculcates an esprit de corps and sense of distinct military corporateness that prevents political interference by sworn servicemen and -women. Conversely, the tradition of the citizen-soldier holds that "civilianizing" the military is the best means of preserving the loyalty of the armed forces towards civilian authorities, by preventing the development of an independent "caste" of warriors that might see itself as existing fundamentally apart from the rest of society. In the early history of the United States, according to Michael Cairo,
[the] principle of civilian control... embodied the idea that every qualified citizen was responsible for the defense of the nation and the defense of liberty, and would go to war, if necessary. Combined with the idea that the military was to embody democratic principles and encourage citizen participation, the only military force suitable to the Founders was a citizen
militia A militia () is generally an army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" eminine, ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on land. In the broadest sense, it is the land-b ...
, which minimized divisions between officers and the enlisted.
In a less egalitarian practice, societies may also blur the line between "civilian" and "military" leadership by making direct appointments of non-professionals (frequently social elites benefitting from patronage or nepotism) to an officer rank. A more invasive method, most famously practiced in the Soviet Union and
People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

People's Republic of China
, involves active monitoring of the Officer (armed forces), officer corps through the appointment of political commissars, posted parallel to the uniformed chain of command and tasked with ensuring that national policies are carried out by the armed forces. The regular job rotation, rotation of soldiers through a variety of different postings is another effective tool for reducing military autonomy, by limiting the potential for soldiers' attachment to any one particular military unit. Some governments place responsibility for approving promotion (rank), promotions or officer candidacies with the civilian government, requiring some degree of deference on the part of
officers An officer is a person who has a position of authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It ...
seeking advancement through the ranks.


Technological developments

Historically, direct control over military forces deployed for war was hampered by the technological limits of command, control, and communications; national leaders, whether democratically elected or not, had to rely on local commanders to execute the details of a military campaign, or risk centrally-directed orders' obsolescence by the time they reached the front lines. The remoteness of government from the action allowed professional soldiers to claim military affairs as their own particular sphere of expertise and influence; upon entering a state of war, it was often expected that the
general A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines Marines or naval infantry, are typically a military force trained to operate on Littoral Zone, littoral zone in suppo ...

general
s and field marshals would dictate strategy and tactics, and the civilian leadership would defer to their informed judgments. Improvements in information technology and its application to wartime Command and Control (Military), command and control (a process sometimes labeled the "Revolution in Military Affairs") has allowed civilian leaders removed from the theater (military), theater of conflict to assert greater control over the actions of distant military forces. Precision-guided munitions and real-time videoconferencing with field commanders now allow the civilian leadership to intervene even at the :wikt:tactical, tactical decision-making level, designating particular targets for destruction or preservation based on political calculations or the counsel of non-uniformed advisors.


Restrictions on Political Activities

In the United States the Hatch Act of 1939 does not directly apply to the military, however, Department of Defense Directive 1344.10 (DoDD 1344.10) essentially applies the same rules to the military. This helps to ensure a non-partisan military and ensure smooth and peaceful transitions of power.


Political officers

Political officers screened for appropriate ideology have been integrated into supervisory roles within militaries as a way to maintain the control by political rulers. Historically they are associated most strongly with the Soviet Union and China rather than liberal democracies.


Military dislike of political directives

While civilian control forms the normative standard in almost every society outside of
military dictatorship A military dictatorship is a dictatorship in which the military exerts complete or substantial control over political authority, and the dictator is often a high-ranked military officer. The reverse situation is to have civilian control of the m ...
s, its practice has often been the subject of pointed criticism from both uniformed and non-uniformed observers, who object to what they view as the undue "politicization" of military affairs, especially when elected officials or political appointees micromanage the military, rather than giving the military general goals and objectives (like "Defeat Country X"), and letting the military decide how best to carry those orders out. By placing responsibility for military decision-making in the hands of non-professional civilians, critics argue, the dictates of military strategy are subsumed to the political, with the effect of unduly restricting the fighting capabilities of the nation's armed forces for what should be immaterial or otherwise lower priority concerns.


Case study: United States

The "Revolt of the Admirals" that occurred in 1949 was an attempt by senior US Navy personnel, to force a change in budgets directly opposed to the directives given by the Civilian leadership. President of the United States, U.S. President Bill Clinton faced frequent allegations throughout his time in office (particularly after the Battle of Mogadishu (1993), Battle of Mogadishu) that he was ignoring military goals out of political and media pressure—a phenomenon termed the "CNN effect". Politicians who personally lack military training and experience but who seek to engage the nation in military action may risk resistance and being labeled "chickenhawk (politics), chickenhawks" by those who disagree with their political goals. In contesting these priorities, members of the professional military leadership and their non-uniformed supporters may participate in the bureaucratic bargaining process of the state's policy-making apparatus, engaging in what might be termed a form of regulatory capture as they attempt to restrict the policy options of elected officials when it comes to military matters. An example of one such set of conditions is the "Weinberger doctrine, Weinberger Doctrine", which sought to forestall another American intervention like that which occurred in the Vietnam War (which had proved disastrous for the morale and fighting integrity of the Military of the United States, U.S. military) by proposing that the nation should only go to war in matters of "vital national interest", "as a last resort", and, as Powell Doctrine, updated by Caspar Weinberger, Weinberger's disciple Colin Powell, with "overwhelming force". The process of setting List of countries by military expenditures, military budgets forms another contentious intersection of military and non-military policy, and regularly draws active lobbying by rival military services for a share of the national budget. Nuclear weapons in the U.S. are controlled by the civilian United States Department of Energy, not by the
Department of DefenseDepartment of Defence or Department of Defense may refer to: Current departments of defence * Department of Defence (Australia) The Department of Defence (DoD) is a Government department, department of the Government of Australia charged with ...
. During the 1990s and 2000s, public controversy over LGBT policy in the U.S. military led to many military leaders and personnel being asked for their opinions on the matter and being given deference although the decision was ultimately not theirs to make. During his tenure, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld raised the ire of the military by attempting to reform its structure away from traditional infantry and toward a lighter, faster, more technologically driven force. In April 2006, Rumsfeld was severely criticized by some retired military officers for his handling of the Iraq War, while other retired military officers came out in support of Rumsfeld. Although no active military officers have spoken out against Rumsfeld, the actions of these officers is still highly unusual. Some news accounts have attributed the actions of these generals to the Vietnam war experience, in which officers did not speak out against the administration's handling of military action. Later in the year, immediately after the November elections in which the Democrats gained control of the Congress, Rumsfeld resigned.


See also

* Civil–military relations * Might makes right * Military–industrial complex * National Security Act of 1947, National Security Act * Political commissar * Revolt of the Admirals * Separation of powers * State within a state * ''Armed Forces & Society''


References


Further reading

* Carl von Clausewitz, von Clausewitz, Carl. ''On War'' – Volume One **1832 German language edition available on the internet at th
Clausewitz Homepage
**1874 English language translation by Colonel J.J. Granha
downloadable here
from Project Gutenberg. **1982 Penguin Classics paperback version, . * * * * * * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Civilian Control Of The Military Accountability Civil–military relations Constitutional law Government Military doctrines Military science Military sociology