Reexamining the Crisis: Civil-Military Relations during the Clinton Administration
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
Pagination or Media Count:
Civil-military relations during President William J. Clintons administration are often credited as being the least harmonious of any American president. It was frequently asserted that civil-military relations during the Clinton administration became so strained and mired in conflict that civilian control of the military had reached a point of crisis. These claims were frequently substantiated with allegations that the military had become increasingly alienated from the society that it was to serve and protect. Many felt that the military had abandoned its political neutrality when it became actively involved in partisan politics. Most significant were claims that senior military leadership had become increasingly influential in dictating national policies. These elements seemed to indicate that there was a fundamental change within civil-military relations and that the civilian leadership was leading an insubordinate military. The ability and willingness of the military to render political opposition against its civilian masters, act contemptuously against the President, and dictate national policy certainly calls into question the effectiveness of civilian control over the military. Though it may be tempting to regard this loss of civilian control as a result of military animosity against Clinton, the issue was much more complex. While clashing personalities undoubtedly were a factor, the problem was more deeply rooted. The author argues that the primary cause for the decline in civilian control during the Clinton administration was the absence of relevant civil-military relations models to address the delineation of labor between civilian and military leaders in the post-Cold War environment.
- Government and Political Science
- Military Forces and Organizations