Culture Wars: Air Force Culture and Civil-Military Relations
Drew paper no. 10
AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL AIR FORCE RESEARCH INST
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This work studies American civil-military relations at the level of an individual military service and considers the impact of the Air Forces organizational culture on its civil-military relationship. Whereas most of the literature on civil-military relations treats the military as a unitary actor, this study considers the services as separate entities with unique self-interests. Furthermore each of the four services is understood to have a unique organizational culture that guides and constrains its members thinking. Using the structural framework of agency theory, in this work I explore the causal impact of the Air Forces organizational culture on its calculus of cooperating with or resisting a national policy. I review the relevant literature on civil-military relations and organizational theory and then build a conceptual bridge between them. Next, the work considers the history of the Air Force to discern several basic assumptions that shape its unique culture. These cultural insights then inform two case studies--Operation Desert Storm and Operations Northern and Southern Watch--that demonstrate the causal impact of the Air Forces culture on its civil-military relationship. In the final section I summarize the key findings of the study and suggest logical trailheads for extending this line of research.
- Sociology and Law
- Military Forces and Organizations