Modern U.S. Civil - Military Relations: Wielding the Terrible Swift Sword   [open pdf - 5MB]

A December 1995 article in the Washington Times examined the "huge say" U.S. military leaders had had in crafting the provisions of the Dayton agreement. It quoted several anonymous administration officials as believing that the agreement "was carefully crafted to reflect demands from the military . . . . Rather than be ignored.., the military, as a price for its support, has basically gotten anything it wanted." The article also speculated that the administration had listened so intently to its military leaders for reasons that were "part political cover, part lessons learned from the Somalia debacle and Haiti, part reflection of the mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina." This essay will argue that the demands placed by military officers on the provisions of the Dayton agreement reflect a steady increase in the influence of military officers in crafting defense policy, rather than the recognition of any lessons learned in Somalia or Haiti. Furthermore, this increased authority of the military--and the resultant deterioration in civil-military relations--is largely the result of the lessons drawn by the military from the American experience in Vietnam.

Report Number:
McNair Paper No. 57
Public Domain
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