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Civilian-Military Relations and National Security (Research Paper Sample)


Paper instructions:
OVERVIEW: Civilian control of the military has been a bedrock principle of American democracy and Foreign policy since the nation's founding. After careful reading of the text provided and additional research,
(1) Describe the nature and challenges of civilian-military relations
(2) Identify and analyze the challenges to national security posed by the civilian-military relationship
(3) Using Biblical and extra-Biblical sources carefully identify Biblical principles that should guide civilian-military relations
(4) The Abstract page is required


Civilian-Military Relations and National Security
[School Affiliation]
[Due Date]
Interactions between civil servants, elected leaders, and political appointees, and the military play a vital role in shaping civilian-military relations. The national security of a nation is dependent on how armed forces and civilian authorities relate. A productive relationship secures a nation, while a tense one can be a threat to national security. Political science scholars agree that the military should always be under civilian control. However, challenges in the relationship can affect the nature of control and level of military autonomy. The current research addresses the nature and challenges of the relations between the civilian authorities and the military and finds that a lack of mutual partnership and respect can undermine relations. It also finds that the quality of the relationship impacts national security, and a nation is at risk when the relationship is fraught with challenges. A Biblical perspective on cooperation suggests that civilian authorities and military leadership must work as partners instead of competitors, and none should have excess power or autonomy.
Civilian-Military Relations and National Security
The military is the key source of national security in any state as it defends society against external threats. Almost all nations in the world have a military, and some countries such as the United States have invested immensely to increase their military strength for national security and geopolitical purposes (Shields, 2015). However, since democratic states are not under military rule, armed forces find themselves under the control of civilian leadership. Civilian governments provide military personnel and resources, and the quality of military performance is dependent on the quality of the relationship between the state and military leaders (Blankshain, 2020). When challenges arise in the relationship, the security of a nation is threatened, but a productive relationship significantly secures a nation.
The Nature and Challenges of Civilian-Military Relations
Civilian-military relations refer to the relationship between the entire civil society and the military structures that protect civilians. The purpose of any state is to leverage military power to serve its interests, especially the national security interests. A particular paradox lies at the heart of the conventional civil-military theory (Reveron, Gvosdev, & Owens, 2014). A military is a unit that is supposed to protect the polity and must not issue threats to the society it serves to assert control and ensure national security. On the other hand, civilian control is essential for the effectiveness of the military. Huntington (2014) postulates that an effective relationship between civilians and the military should happen in the form of objective civilian control over their militaries. The control should be characterized by the adoption of professional ethos by the military. In addition, the military should recognize the limits and boundaries of their professional rules. The military should also subordinate itself to civilian political leadership because the leaders formulate strategic directives on military and foreign policy (Shields, 2015). On their part, political leaders should approve the professional autonomy and authority of the military. In return, the military should limit their political intervention as politicians limit their intervention in military affairs.
Ideally, there are two problematic sides to civilian-military relations. The subordination of the military to the control of civilian authority is a central feature of the relationship. Related to this is the desire of a society to have a military strong enough to protect it from any form of threat (Rana, 2016). That perspective indicates that the test of civilian control on the military is the extent to which it contributes to the armed forces' effectiveness.
How a military relates with civilian leadership ultimately affects its effectiveness. Extremely tight civilian control of the military can weaken it and prevent it from performing its duties (Reveron, Gvosdev, & Owens, 2014). Notably, the military can be starved of personnel and funds to prevent it from amassing much power, undermining its security provision role. Unfortunately, when the civilian control of the military is too weak, the military can become overly influential in a society in a manner that can affect its stability and functioning (Reveron, Gvosdev, & Owens, 2014). Huntington asserts that the system or pattern of civilian control that a government chooses can affect the ability of a state to effectively build the military's capacity and connect the functions of the armed forces with political goals.
Civilian-military relations face several challenges that compromise the ability of the armed forces to formulate an effective strategy. An excellent strategic assessment needs sharing of information and strategic coordination between the military and the civilian leadership – but the military should also be competent enough to assess its capabilities and make decisions independent of civilian intervention (Reveron, Gvosdev, & Owens, 2014). However, civilians are usually heavy-handed in monitoring, controlling, and punishing military behavior, which stifles dialogue between them and affects strategic assessment (Cockell, 2012). Another challenge that affects civilian-military relationships is the question of the extent of military autonomy. Civilians' leaderships and military authorities rarely agree on the realms in which the military should have less or more autonomy in choosing and carrying out its actions (Reveron, Gvosdev, & Owens, 2014). Sometimes, military leaders feel that their advice to civilian authorities is not be listened to adequately, and these feelings can affect the motivation of the armed forces, which compromises their ability to perform their security roles.
The Challenges to National Security Posed by The Civilian-Military Relationship
Military leaders and officers have a responsibility to advise civilian leadership from their experience and perspective. However, they should also execute orders from civilian authorities even though they disagree with some of them. In some cases, the military refuses to act as advised or required by civilian leaderships (Moore, 2017). Dissent and disobedience can by the armed forces affect national security. When military leaders disagree with the political leadership and fail to perform as ordered, the state's strategies and policies, and policies in national security interest cannot be achieved (Reveron, Gvosdev, & Owens, 2014). Besides, the intelligence information shared by the state to the military cannot be put into use. Without this data, the military cannot function effectively to protect a nation.
Supremacy battles between civilian and military leadership can compromise national security. Even though the military is supposed to be subordinate to civilian control, sometimes military leaders feel they need autonomy. In addition, when the armed forces feel that civilian leaders and their decisions compromise their functions and interests, they create competing positions to defend their interests from an overreaching civilian authority (Moore, 2017). In response, the political leadership might create situations that limit the ability of the military to function.
When the relationship between civilian authorities and armed forces' leadership is based on competition to undermine each other or battle for supremacy, a nation's national security is threatened. In such a competing scenario, the two partners cannot share information (Moore, 2017). The state might limit resources and personnel to the military to weaken it, making it unable to respond to threats to national security. Furthermore, an assault by the civilian authority on the military can affect the morale of the armed forces, which is dangerous to the security of a nation.
Political leaders can interfere with military operations, and the reverse can also happen. Civilian authorities and militaries need a certain level of autonomy for them to function effectively. However, national security is threatened due to much interference by the state in the functions of the military (Dale, 2009). While the two partners need to cooperate in decision-making, policy-making, strategy formulation, and information sharing, problems arise when civilian authorities micromanage military activities and functions, which affects the ability of the military to respond to national security threats (Reveron, Gvosdev, & Owens, 2014). Similarly, when the military excessively interferes with the political affairs of a civilian government, it neglects its national security role, exposing a nation to various threats.
Regime changes can affect military-civilian relations and, subsequently, the ability of the armed forces to make long-term national security strategies. The United States is a perfect example of how regime changes affect relations. Recent studies have indicated that the public view of the military and its performance is partisan. According to the Pew Research Center research, Republicans have more confidence in the military than Democrats (Dale, 2009). The implication is that civilian-military relations are likely to be solid and productive when a Republican regime is in power.
Lower confidence in the military among the Democrats can affect the relations when the government is under the control of the Democratic party. As a result, tensions between civilian leadership and the military will be ...

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