Political Participation and the United States Army Officer Corps
Strategy research project
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
Pagination or Media Count:
Many people believe the Army has always had an ideological firewall between officers professional behavior and politics. This is not the case. Throughout its history the Army has vacillated between periods of political activity and abstention on the part of its officers. Despite George Washington s example, officers in the first half of the 19th Century openly participated in politics while in uniform. Following the Civil War, the Army underwent a period of reform led by General William T. Sherman, Major General Emory Upton and Secretary of War Elihu Root. During that period any political participation by serving officers became taboo. With the end of World War II and the advent of the All Volunteer Army, the officer corps entered a hybrid period where political activity in uniform was forbidden but participation as a private citizen was allowed and often encouraged. This paper examines the topic of political participation by officers within a historical context, assesses what level of participation is acceptable today and offers recommendations to address current trends.
- Government and Political Science
- Sociology and Law