Political Generals in Irregular War: A Necessary Evil or Just Plain Evil
Master's thesis Jan-Dec 2010
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
Pagination or Media Count:
Irregular wars generate significant internal political debate over appropriate strategy and resource allocation, a function of the relative complexity and ambiguity of irregular wars. This study examines whether operational commanders in the context of irregular wars will engage in the policy formulation process by acting to gain influence over the overall strategy and the resources available for their operations. This monograph argues that the operational commanders role is in part defined by participation in the policy process, rather than by the prescriptive constraints of civil-military relations or professional military ethics. This monograph exams the policy process in a recent case the 2006 decision to shift the national strategy for the war in Iraq in order to understand the modes of influence available to operational commanders. This case study demonstrates that operational commanders were deeply involved in the policy process for the surge decision, but that this involvement was neither sinister nor demonstrative of political generalship. The unique requirements of contemporary conflict, in the absence of a specific professional ethic for operational level command, define the context or domain in which operational command occurs and are the factors that shape norms for operational command, including whether operational commanders stray into the political fray on the current conflict.
- Administration and Management
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Unconventional Warfare