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Civilian Control of the Military

The Changing Security Environment

Michael C. Desch

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The end of the Cold War brought widespread optimism about the future of civil-military relations. But as Michael Desch argues in this thought-provoking challenge to Harold Lasswell's famous "garrison state" thesis, the truth is that civilian authorities have not been able to exert greater control over military policies and decision making. In wartime, civil authorities cannot help but pay close attention to military matters. In times of peace, however, civilian leaders are less interested in military affairs—and therefore often surrender them to the military.

Focusing on a wide range of times…

The end of the Cold War brought widespread optimism about the future of civil-military relations. But as Michael Desch argues in this thought-provoking challenge to Harold Lasswell's famous "garrison state" thesis, the truth is that civilian authorities have not been able to exert greater control over military policies and decision making. In wartime, civil authorities cannot help but pay close attention to military matters. In times of peace, however, civilian leaders are less interested in military affairs—and therefore often surrender them to the military.

Focusing on a wide range of times and places, Desch begins with a look at changes in U.S. civil-military relations since the end of the Cold War. He then turns to the former Soviet Union, explaining why it was easier for civilians to control the Soviet military than its present-day Russian successor. He examines the Hindenburg-Ludendorff dictatorship in World War I Germany, Japan during the interwar era, and France's role in the Algerian crisis. Finally, he explores the changing domestic security environment and civil-military relations in South America.

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Civilian Control of the Military

Michael C. Desch

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Reviews

A courageous, definitive work.

Desch's book... already has proven influential in shaping the debate within the academic and the policymaking communities. The book is important because it makes a bold argument based on a clearly advanced theory and tests it against an extraordinary range of cases... A landmark study.

A refreshing addition to the literature on civil-military relations. It challenges traditional explanations and contributes to several different important theoretical and policy debates.

A timely book with a provocative thesis.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
200
ISBN
9780801866395
Illustration Description
15 b&w illus.
Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables
Acknowledgments
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Civilian Control of the Military in Different Threat Environments
Chapter 3: Losing Control? Civil-Military Relations in the

List of Figures and Tables
Acknowledgments
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Civilian Control of the Military in Different Threat Environments
Chapter 3: Losing Control? Civil-Military Relations in the United States during and after the Cold War
Chapter 4: Controlling Chaos: Civilian Control of the Soviet and Russian Militaries
Chapter 5: The Anger of the Legions: The Hindenburg-Ludendorff Dictatorship, The Algerian Crisis, and Interwar Japan
Chapter 6: Twilight of the Generals? Domestic Security and Civil-Military Relations in Southern Latin America
Chapter 7: What the Future Holds
Appendix
Major U.S. Civil-Military Conflicts, 1938-1997
Notes

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Michael C. Desch, Ph.D.

Michael C. Desch is a professor and the Robert M. Gates Chair in Intelligence and National Security Decision-making at the George H. W. Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. He is the editor-in-chief of Security Studies and the author of Civilian Control of the Military, also published by Johns Hopkins.