Accession Number:



Civil-Military Relations and Strategy: Theory and Evidence

Descriptive Note:

Master's thesis

Corporate Author:


Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Do civilians deliberate national strategy differently than military officers This dissertation begins with that question because the cross-disciplinary efforts of civil-military relations have to date shown relatively little empirical evidence on the differences between civilian and military strategy. There are a number of propositions about such differences that lie at the heart of theories of state and group behavior at international and domestic levels. In addition to thinking about civilians and the military as homogeneous groups, this research focused on civilian and military subgroups in order to better understand the divergent influences such groups exert on strategy as it is being developed. The design used content analysis to systematically measure differences between specified groups in their communicated strategies, which were gathered from four domains analysis, organization, operations, and planning of U.S. actors from 1995-2000. The results are both significant and interesting for those interested in strategy and civil-military relations. Eight hypotheses concerning differences between civilians, the military, and their subgroups were tested on each of the dependent variables of offensiveness, uncertainty outlooks, and use of history in strategy. An enduring theoretical notion about civil-military relations is supported by evidence that the military is indeed significantly more offensive than comparable civilians. However, this offensiveness differential only seemed substantively large in the arena of doctrine, and was reversed in national missile defense. More importantly, offensiveness is critically related to context whether-to deliberations of strategy reveal a more offensive civilian group, while only how-to discussions support the offensive military paradigm.

Subject Categories:

  • Sociology and Law
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement: