Course Number: 84-619
Why do militaries (people with guns) ever obey civilians (people without guns)? Can we have a military strong enough to protect civilians, yet not so strong as to ignore or subvert civilian authority? What is the dividing line between civilian and military spheres of activity? How much influence should civilians have on activities within the military sphere, and how much influence should the military have in the civilian sphere? How does all of this affect a state’s ability to both protect itself and project power globally?
Examining the theory and practice of civil-military relations in the U.S. and the world, this course explores issues related to civilian control of the military and military professionalism, including coups d’état, military disobedience, the impact of an all-volunteer vs. conscripted force on both civilian and military decisions, public-private partnerships in the military sphere, the role of military privatization in civil-military relations, and the role of servicemembers in the political life of the community. Relying on the influential texts of Lasswell, Huntington, Feaver, and Finer, the first half of the course aims to elucidate the theory behind basic tensions between the military and civilians. The second half of the course focuses on how theory translates into practice, with a particular focus on case studies of civil-military relations in the U.S. democratic system.
Academic Year: 2023-2024