Accession Number:

ADA583993

Title:

Alliances and Legitimacy: Walking the Operational Tightrope

Descriptive Note:

Monograph

Corporate Author:

ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2013-05-23

Pagination or Media Count:

86.0

Abstract:

For centuries, nations have formed alliances to harness the power of collective military might. Whether by necessity or desire, they have done so to successfully wage war and pursue common interests. It is a practice dating back to the 5th century B.C., when Athens and Sparta each vied for the loyalties of other, less powerful Greek nation-states. One of the major insights to emerge from the Peloponnesian War was not just the value of alliances to aggregate power in support of national interests, but also the notion that might made right. That is, the mighty, by virtue of their coercive capacity, dictated the terms of legitimacy. Over time, though, legitimacy came to be defined by much more than military might. From the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 to the end of the Second World War in 1945, legitimacy evolved into a highly complex notion predicated on a myriad of factors that would gradually have increasing influence on the path to war and its subsequent conduct. For the United States, alliances and legitimacy represent essential ingredients in its amalgamation of national power. For the U.S. military specifically, they are force enablers and force multipliers. Alliances serve to augment U.S. combat power, enable access into impermissible regions, and ultimately provide additional means to achieve operational objectives that, in turn, support strategic interests. Legitimacy provides the credible backdrop to justify U.S. military actions abroad. This alone may conserve combat power for more essential tasks by securing early and lasting compliance in the operational environment. However, a significant challenge emerges when Americas strategic partnerships appear to contradict its claims of legitimacy. How does the United States navigate an operational environment characterized by contradictory alliances that potentially undermine U.S. military legitimacy

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE