Military Professionalism: A Normative Code for the Long War
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
Pagination or Media Count:
Press articles citing concerns of disgruntled general officers. Media reports portray a brusque Secretary of Defense who ignores sound military advice and treats officers disrespectfully. U.S. troops fighting and dying overseas for a strategy whose endgame is decades away from resolution. Domestic support for a war beginning to wane. Congress threatening to hold hearings on how a war is conducted. The year of the events above was 1966, not 2006. Yet while Iraq and the Long War are not the same as Vietnam and the threat of communism, questions arise in both contexts regarding military professionalism. What is the role of senior military officers in determining the policy of the United States To what extent should civilians with little or no military campaign experience dictate operations What should be the reaction of senior military leaders to encroachment into military operational and even tactical matters And when, if ever, should these leaders resign in the face of a bad policy This article attempts to answer these questions. Although the questions are timeless, the answers should reflect several trends that appeared after the Cold War and that have accelerated since September 11, 2001. The U.S. Government considers itself at war, probably for decades or more. The Department of Defense has transitioned away from a threat-based planning process in the face of uncertain contingencies, uncertain resources, and uncertain futures. The new capabilities-based process requires the military to possess the ability to win in full spectrum operations, from low-end counterinsurgency to high-end major operations.
- Administration and Management
- Government and Political Science
- Military Forces and Organizations