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Free American Civil Military Relations Essay Sample

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In his book "The Soldier and the State" author Huntington (1957), wrote that for a country to be peaceful and prosperous, there should be a good relationship established between the civil society of a nation as a whole and its military organization which is under the duty to protect the nation. Huntington in his book further made a normative assumption that a country would be peaceful and prosperous if the military or the armed forces are under the control of the civilians unlike when the military controls the state. Perhaps to support the theoretical assumptions made by Huntington in his book; author Finer in his studies on civilian military relations in less developed countries show that most countries particularly in Africa after the world war II, which neither had a well established civil-military relationship nor a strong civilian military control, had their government being taken over by the military in coups d'etat, the coup lead the country to human rights violation by the armed forces, poor economic performance because such a state doesn't usually operate in democratic politics or liberal economy, another good example is Chile, where the former President of Mr. Pinochet rose to power through a military take over, and according to studies and researches, during the early periods of Pinochet rule, Chileans civilians were put under worst human rights violation recorded in that country's history and the economy suffered greatly because the country was isolated from the international trade and the benefits that come with it (Huntington, 1957).


Before the September 11th, 2001, bombings in the United States of America, articles written by various authors, indicate that the civil-military relations in the country was generally strong, and only a small number of disagreements were recorded between the to two parties especially in the process of making policies for the state. The law makers are supposed to make decision in regards to the state's policies putting into consideration advice from the military. During Mr. Clinton presidency the military input in policy making were not given the significance they deserve and as a result during that period the military exercised undue influence on the policy making decision. Critics argue that military repelled, when "Powell Doctrine" was used in the policy making process which acted to exclude their input from the process, the military engaged in acts like using excessive force in peace operations than the recommended by the civil government of the US, which had negative outcomes on the policies set by the government.

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Feaver in his book "Armed Servants" praised the Bush administration in its initial days for trying to address the issues surrounding the relationship that were left by his predecessor Mr. Bill Clinton, but it faced some challenges when the then secretary of defense Mr. Rumsfeld was accused by the joint chiefs of staff for excluding them in the process of making his policies, and the major reduction in the size of the armed forces coupled with recent closures of army bases located in various regions revoked some tension in the relationship. But progress has being made so far to foster a good relationship between the civil society and the armed forces with some amendments on the regulations that governs the civil-military relation in policy making which enables the input from the armed forces to be given much consideration, the barriers that were on the budget that limited the demands made by the military have being removed and the military has vowed to act professionally in their role as advisors to the President and the secretary of defense (Feaver, 2003).

Numerous literature works and studies done by authors like Micheal, Feaver and Huntington who all wrote about civil-military relations, show that the armed forces that comprise of America's Army, Navy, Air force and the Marine are capable and equipped to carry out a national duties for defending the country and must not at any time pose as a potential danger to the ruling government, for this reason Feaver (2003) in his book points out that the civilian government of the United States of America should continually exercise control of the military to remain safe from the military institution it established for its own protection (Micheal,1998, Feaver,2003 and Huntington1957).

The establishment of stable and effective civilian military control will greatly depend on the democratic level of the country itself; if the democracy is not there the military will intervene to protect the society as whole which will come with its disadvantages. The civilian military control will in itself be effective if the government has a stable rule of law, with it officials duly elected and the method of succession is free and fair.

The American government in its history has been practicing civilian military control by maintaining a small number of armed forces, which was only increased during periods of war after which the number would be downsized, but this method was not applicable any more after the Cold War that took place in 1950's.

In today's America, civilian military control is done through laws and policies which ensure that the armed forces act according to orders given by the ruling government and the chain of command is strictly adhered to, the integration of the values of civilian military control into the armed forces is also a way through civilian military control is done in the modern America. The other way through which the America government achieves civilian military control is through the civilian police force, paramilitary group or militia whose presence reduces the strength of the armed forces in America, the legislation of civilian firearm ownership right came into force to avoid possible violation of power the armed forces have (Michael D., 1998).

Article 1 in the war power clause of the United States of America's constitution allows the congress to declare war against an enemy nation or any persons who pose danger to the country's national security and article 2 of the same constitution confers the US president as commander-in-chief, which puts a civilian in charge of the military or as the head in the chain of command in the armed forces. Studies have shown that American presidents over the past years have exercised their civilian military control, a good example is action taken by Abraham Lincoln in the American civil war, Harry Truman in the Korean War and recently the action taken by President Barrack Obama in Afghanistan by reliving an army official off his military duties.

The civilian military control enables a country to foster a democratic political environment, which is the backbone to peace and stability in a country and the overall economic performance. Armed forces thou helpful in maintaining internal order and external security they operate in authoritative style, with martial customs and procedures that are against the civil liberty and freedom of persons.

The United States of America should continue to exercise military control to maintain its long standing as a democratic state and to avert its citizens the dangers that are associated with a non-civilian military control state. More so the United States of America should continue with its civilian military control because the main objective it will fulfill is to ensure to the American civil society that the armed forces are subordinate to the greater and bigger purpose of the country as a whole and not the state to be subordinate to the armed forces.

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