Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Juvenal, Satire VI
The spread of democracy among nations continues apace in the early part of the twenty-first century, with some two-thirds of the almost two hundred independent countries of the world more or less following this once-rare political format. In most of the newer democracies of the so-called third wave of democratization that began in 1974 with Portugal's upheaval, one of the biggest challenges to democratic consolidation and deepening has been to find the proper balance between the civilian and military sectors. If on the one hand the balance of power is tipped in favor of the military, which can occur when military leaders continue to enjoy prerogatives—for instance, in finances, control over promotions, or the handling of intelligence—left over from a previous nondemocratic regime, democracy probably is still in the process of consolidation. If on the other hand civilian leaders have subsumed the military and either politicized it through promotions of political cronies or crippled it with severe budget cuts, then the country will be left without a critical resource in such areas as humanitarian and disaster relief, counterterrorism and counter-drug operations, international peacekeeping, and, most important, national defense. Although the "proper" balance between democratic civilian leadership and military effectiveness in achieving roles and missions will clearly vary from country to country and era to era, in the view of this volume's contributors striking that equilibrium is fundamental to the success of authentic democratic governance. It is the purpose of this volume to describe the variety of ways in which a wide range of institutions structuring civil-military relations may achieve a balance between democratic civilian control and military effectiveness.
Breaking New Ground
Studies by the leading scholars of democratic consolidation call attention to the centrality of civil-military relations in the transition to functioning democracy. Unfortunately, beyond highlighting the importance of the topic, these works do not go into any detail about the issues, actors, and institutions involved. This is the case, for example, in the now classic studies by Adam Przeworski and Philippe Schmitter. In Democracy and the Market: Political and Economic Reforms in Eastern Europe and Latin America, Przeworski states: "Obviously, the institutional framework of civilian control over the military constitutes the neuralgic point of democratic consolidation." Having said that, he fails to revisit this tantalizing assertion anywhere else in the book. Schmitter summarizes twenty years of research on democratic transitions in "The Consolidation of Political Democracies: Processes, Rhythms, Sequences, and Types," in which he asserts that "the submission of the military to civilian control" is one of four necessary processes of democratization. Schmitter, like Przeworski, does not then pursue the issue in that chapter or any later work.
An exception to this gap in the literature is a book by Juan J. Linz and Alfred Stepan, Problems in Democratic Transition and Consolidation. Although we regard Linz and Stepan's approach and observations to have been insightful and accurate when they first appeared almost ten years ago, they are less relevant today as the tides of domestic and international politics have pushed the issues and challenges in directions the older work does not adequately capture. This problem of datedness is particularly obvious in Chapter 5, "Actors and Context," which contrasts hierarchical and nonhierarchical militaries to draw a distinction that does not seem useful today. In the same chapter, a list of international influences on domestic decision making is so limited as to be misleading, in comparison with the level of outside involvement and influence that takes place today around the globe. It is worth noting that during the "bad old days" of dictatorships and authoritarianism, there was a rich and diverse literature on military coups, the military as a political actor, and military-dominated regimes. Later, with the transition to democracy in Southeastern Europe, Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, east-central Europe, and parts of Asia, a few excellent studies of the role of the military in the transitions and early consolidation phases of these new democracies were published. There is a fundamental gap in the literature, however, in the area of civil-military relations—that is, the roles, responsibilities, and rights of the armed forces and the elected government in consolidating democracies. This void is precisely what our book seeks at least to address.
We maintain that in all democracies, new or old, issues of civil-military relations are fundamentally the same. They involve ongoing conflict, negotiation, and compromise between those who hold power by virtue of free and fair elections and the organizations to which society has granted a monopoly on the means of violence. Once a country has consolidated its governing format—in this case, democracy—then it becomes a matter essentially of negotiating on the margins. In his magisterial work "Military Organization and the Organization of the State," Otto Hintze asked, "What place is occupied by the organization of the army in the general organization of the state?" If leaders honestly can answer that it is just one part of the state bureaucracy and, like all others, is under the control of democratically elected civilians, then further issues of civil-military relations will be similar to those in other democracies throughout the world. They become "management" problems revolving around the balance of power and force and the inherent tension between democracy and expertise. We take the standpoint that it is how governments deal with these issues that constitutes the crux of civil-military relations and will determine not only how successful civilians are in controlling the armed forces but also how effective these forces will be in fulfilling the increasingly varied roles and missions that are assigned to them.
Schmitter makes an excellent point regarding the applicability of some of the literature in comparative politics as a country's democracy is becoming consolidated. He notes that these works, which by their nature seek patterns that can be generalized across cases, are of limited value until a democratic regime reaches the stage scholars currently term "consolidation." The literature and findings on democratic transitions tend to differ to the degree that each country's political transition is unique, but this does not appear to be the case in democratic consolidation. Once that certain phase is reached, then general findings on political parties, electoral systems, bureaucracies, and the other institutions of democracy become relevant, albeit with necessary adaptations.
We believe the same point applies to civil-military relations. This is not to assume that democratic consolidation is inevitable, assured, or complete in any given case; rather, the assumption is that the challenges will be the same in both newer and older democracies. How these challenges are defined and resolved is fundamental for democratic consolidation and civil-military relations, if the armed forces are actually to serve the needs of the nation and not their own goals or those of a small clique or political party. These practical similarities are not coincidental. There are a finite number of tasks that any country has to handle in any sector of public administration, be it in health, education, transport, or national defense, although this does not imply that all countries will deal with these tasks in a similar fashion. The authors in this volume discuss many of these challenges with an eye to identifying lessons—and obstacles—that may be useful to both scholars and officials seeking to understand civil-military relations in new democracies.
The literature on civilian control of the military in established democracies that will be most valuable to post-transition democratic states is not the now classic theoretical works of Samuel Huntington or Morris Janowitz, which have been more than sufficiently reviewed and criticized over the years. These studies offer a level of generalization too broad to be very useful under current circumstances. We look instead to that body of literature dealing with the renegotiation and adjustment of relations between civilian leaders and the armed forces in those democracies where there is no issue about who has a right to rule—that is, the "consolidation" stage that many of the newer democracies are currently approaching. This approach is epitomized by Michael J. Hogan's A Cross of Iron: Harry S. Truman and the Origins of the National Security State, 1945-1954, which details the creation of the national security system in the United States at the end of the Second World War; James Locher's Victory on the Potomac: The Goldwater-Nichols Act Unifies the Pentagon, which describes and analyzes the political process whereby this same system was reformed forty years later; and Hew Strachan's The Politics of the British Army, on the consolidation of civilian control in Great Britain. Findings from this literature are relevant for the newer democracies as they seek to reform and restructure their military establishments and the relations between civilian politicians and ministries because their militaries have tended more and more to be structured in similar fashion since the end of the cold war. Furthermore, democratic decision makers are compelled to formulate policy from a widely accepted, well-defined selection of roles and missions along a spectrum from national and territorial defense to counterterrorism to peacekeeping to delivering humanitarian assistance. On top of these implicit policy constraints, the more-established democracies—singly and through organizations such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Partnership for Peace, and the Organization of American States, to name only a few—seek explicitly to shape the military structures, missions, and civil-military relations in the newer democracies in their own image. These include the already proven institutions such as ministries of defense, defense committees, oversight of intelligence, and so on, which are now part of democratic civil-military relations. Furthermore, once one of the newer democracies has reached a certain stage in its consolidation, as Spain did in the late 1980s, Argentina in the early 1990s, and Hungary in the late 1990s, it then becomes a proponent for these very same policies and institutions, sending experts abroad and hosting seminars in-country on these topics for the yet even newer democracies.
The trend toward homogenization of the main issues in democratic civil-military relations raises more considerations as well. The United States, Great Britain, Argentina, and Canada, among many others, have established organizations in other countries—such as the U.S. Department of Defense regional centers and the Center for Civil-Military Relations—that rely on funding from governmental organizations (U.S. International Military Education and Training and the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces, for example) and nongovernmental organizations and think tanks created explicitly for these purposes. These centers, which actively network among themselves to ensure cooperation and coordination, promote very similar agendas with reference to these very similar issues. Officials in the newer democracies are often eager to join the international community of democratic states and thus are receptive to such agendas. It is not surprising, then, that a limited range of topics receives scrutiny and that decision makers are encouraged to resolve them in predictable ways. This does not mean that all leaders will do so, or will do so at the pace prescribed to them, but the definition and analysis of these issues across countries are intentionally homogenous and geared toward an almost universally desired outcome.
Taking the Next Step toward a Useful Analysis
Despite these more or less well-intentioned efforts to control the outcome of democratic consolidation, the question remains: How do we first conceptualize and then analyze civil-military relations as they really exist in these post-transitional democracies? The first and fundamental point in any democracy is to understand where the power lies. Who in fact is in charge of a country? If the country is a democracy, then the answer must be the democratically elected civilian leaders. If the answer is ambiguous or if there is an ongoing struggle for control as in Iran and Pakistan, then the subject—civil-military relations—will be the same, but the terms of analysis will be different.
In the course of our research, writing, and teaching on civil-military relations in the United States and abroad, we have found that the methodology that guides our inquiries in the right direction is an updated version of Max Weber's groundbreaking work on political power and bureaucracy. The approach Weber employed to understand the military and its locus within state and society leads us to take a closer look at and emphasize the structure of bureaucracy as it relates to civil-military relations. After all, the military not only constitutes a complex and hierarchical bureaucracy in itself but also, in the modern state, interacts and is integrated with other bureaucracies, domestic and foreign. Without this kind of stable structural support, armed forces would be unable to fulfill the ever-increasing numbers and kinds of roles and missions they face in the new millennium. The contemporary version of Weber's approach is known as New Institutionalism. The various subtheories that together loosely constitute New Institutionalism "all seek to elucidate the role that institutions play in the determination of social and political outcomes." In other words, an understanding of the roles of institutions is indispensable to this or any study of how actors manage power relations within a society. Therefore, we need to highlight a few of the main elements of this model.
First and most important is the meaning of the term "institutions." Peter Hall and Rosemary Taylor define institutions as " formal or informal procedures, routines, norms, and conventions embedded in the organizational structure of the polity or political economy." This broad definition is vital to the present volume because it forces us (if we are faithful to the approach) to focus on the institutions that determine civil-military relations, such as ministries of defense, legislatures, the military as a profession, control of military budgets, the means by which intelligence is gathered and applied, military education, and the recruitment system. Each author looks closely at the institutions relevant to his or her discussion and seeks to explain their responsibilities and operations—and liabilities—in ways that will assist our understanding of the sum total of civil-military relations. This understanding is important not only because virtually all democracies are facing dramatic changes in their civil-military relations,` but also because few researchers are prepared to undertake the work necessary to understand the civilian government side of the equation, let alone the military side. Such an in-depth grasp of both institutions is necessary before we can begin to analyze their impact on one another and on society as a whole. This research agenda is challenging but possible and plausible through basic academic research enhanced by active engagement.
Once we know what an institution is, we need to analyze what influences that a given institution may exert on actors and processes. This book therefore focuses on the many institutions that exist to manage national security and civil-military relations. Throughout, the authors grapple with the problems of effectiveness, to see whether the military can actually fulfill the roles and missions assigned to it by the civilian leadership, and the means by which a democracy exercises civilian control over its armed forces. As the authors in this volume agree, there is an integral relationship between these two dimensions. Another key aspect of New Institutionalism is attention to the origins of institutions, which can be understood in two parts. First, we must look to the goals and motivations of the actors involved in creating these institutions, keeping in mind the concept of "unintended consequences." Civil-military relations must be understood as a set of institutions. Creating only one part—for example, a ministry of defense—will not necessarily result in either civilian control or military effectiveness. Second, we must remain aware that, again in the words of Hall and Taylor, we live in "a world replete with institutions." The chapters underscore that there are a finite number of models for democratic civil-military relations; the challenge for scholars is to analyze the extent to which a model copied from one country and one context does in fact translate into an institution in another country and context.
Finally, it is worth reiterating that the process of creating and implementing institutions is all about power, and institutional power relations therefore are a primary concern of New Institutionalism. Some actors have the power to adopt and implement new institutions, whereas others wield authority to resist this adoption—or, more often, implementation. The importance of power relations to the balance between civil and military institutions cannot be overemphasized. Not only have scholars of New Institutionalism recognized the critical part that the creation of institutions plays in structuring relationships of power, but based on the experience of researchers at the Center for Civil-Military Relations, military and civilian actors from around the world also are very much aware of the implications for their own countries. The conditions under which an institution forms will have a strong impact on who determines the rules of the game and how those rules will be implemented. New Institutionalism directs our attention to the centrality of institutions in structuring relations of power, through the conditions of their creation, the interests of those involved in creating them, and the influence of preexisting institutional models.
The institutional relationships that must be included in any useful analysis of civil-military relations cover a broad range. In most societies military institutions were established with the founding of the nation, extend throughout national territory, are intertwined with multiple levels of the executive and legislative branches, are linked closely with society and the economy, and engage in a variety of international contacts and negotiations. The book's chapters illustrate and analyze how these institutional relationships come together for most of the issues of democratic civilian control and military effectiveness.
The Center for Civil-Military Relations
The Center for Civil-Military Relations (CCMR) at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, was founded in 1994 to provide military officers and civilian policymakers from emerging democracies around the world with the knowledge and tools they need to work together to establish sound, stable, and democratic relations between the military and civilian sectors. This volume reflects the commitment of CCMR and its members to the promotion of healthy civil-military relations, both for democratic consolidation and for the fostering of military effectiveness in carrying out the roles and missions assigned by civilian leaders. The authors' open advocacy of particular policy choices arises from their professional experiences in assisting other countries' work through the process of ensuring that democratically elected civilians are in control of a military that implements its tasks effectively. This does not, we are convinced, detract from the objectivity and soundness of the descriptions and analyses included here. On the contrary, this work is all the more relevant, given that each author has seen the impact that success—or failure—in these critical areas can have on a newly consolidating democracy and is thus in a uniquely knowledgeable position to comment on it. The authors have been encouraged therefore to include suggestions on how to establish and implement new institutional arrangements.
Unlike most of the literature in the field of civil-military relations—which in the case of the United States is heavy on theory and richly supported by concrete information, but for other countries and regions tends to be legalistic and devoid of theory or original data—we seek to marry up our extensive empirical findings with the theoretical approach of New Institutionalism. The data utilized here are collected from traditional interdisciplinary academic research, including primary and secondary source documents, the World Wide Web, and interviews, and also through the intense and intimate involvement of all the authors in CCMR programs. These one- or two-week seminar programs typically focus on themes that are determined by the sponsoring organizations, which include ministries of defense, general staffs, legislatures, war colleges, think tanks, NGOs, and others, which means that the programs are of great interest to the participants and offer the instructors the opportunity to learn as much as they teach. In addition, CCMR has now been asked to assist several countries in certain key areas such as restructuring ministries of defense (Colombia), strategy formulation procedures (Moldova and Estonia), staffing a ministry of defense with civilians (Taiwan), roles and missions of the armed forces (Guatemala), and intelligence sector reform (Argentina and Romania). These kinds of cooperative programs offer CCMR staff unusual levels of access to a country's civilian and military decision makers and helps the staff gain valuable insights into how governments are attempting to deal with these critical issues.
The approach in this book is interdisciplinary. The authors are political scientists, historians, and even one soldier-philosopher. Four have extensive military backgrounds, one is still on active duty, and all are part of military academic programs in several countries. Chapter 1, "Military Professionalism in a Democracy," and Chapter 9, "Professional Military Education in Democracies," draw heavily on the U.S. experience of professionalization as a basis for comparing other countries' policies. The other chapters use extensive research from a variety of countries. Several of the chapters, particularly 1, 3, and 4, highlight the centrality of tensions between and among civilians and officers in most aspects of civil-military relations. These authors make the case that this tension is normal and, indeed, that it would be surprising if there were not disputes over so many key issues of political power and military roles and missions, many of which involve the threat of violence and loss of life. These are by definition issues worth fighting over.
With the publication of this volume, the members of CCMR are turning to topics for future collaborations, including intelligence reform in third-wave democracies; case studies in U.S. civil-military relations; and eventually, case studies in civil-military relations in more recently established democracies such as Romania, Colombia, and South Africa.
The book is divided into three sections. The first deals with the key actors in democratic civil-military relations: the military, the executive branch (particularly the ministry of defense), and the legislature. The three chapters in this section provide a basic understanding of how these actors function and interact in a democracy. The second section addresses the roles and missions of the military, beginning with the development of strategy and then surveying different elements of the broad variety of roles and missions that contemporary nations assign to militaries. These chapters link the actors reviewed in the first section with the decisions, captured in the idea of strategy formulation, for employment of the military. Section three delves into some of the most important issues in democratic civilian control of the military: oversight of intelligence organizations, budgeting, types of recruitment systems, and professional military education. Together these areas, dealing as they do with both control and effectiveness, constitute the heart of institutionalized democratic civilian control.
Thomas-Durrell Young starts us out with a description and analysis of the military as a profession. Following from Weber, and consistent with the New Institutionalism, professions are viewed as institutions. Through his work with CCMR, Young understands the value of educating civilian decision makers about the nature of the military profession, with which they likely have had little contact, as well as the value of giving military officers a conceptual yardstick for comparing and contrasting their organization with an ideal model of the profession. In the present work, Young highlights several of the tensions that arise from the very different cultures and perspectives of officers and politicians. Although these tensions never disappear, he suggests several ways to mitigate them in order for officers and civilians to be able to cooperate for the common goal of national security.
Jeanne Giraldo, in Chapter 2, uses data from several consolidating democracies to review the roles and responsibilities of the legislature in national security and defense. While highlighting the many positive aspects of legislative involvement in democratic civil-military relations, Giraldo notes that in most countries the legislature in fact plays a very limited role. She provides extensive insights into how the relationship between a legislature and the armed forces can be regularized and stresses the need for legislators and what staff they may have to cultivate expertise in things military. The author further suggests ways in which dysfunctional situations can be changed and improved through the formation of new institutions.
In Chapter 3, Thomas Bruneau and Richard Goetze provide a rare discussion of the possible roles a ministry of defense might have in national security, defense, and civil military relations. In the course of their in-country research, the authors found that answering the question of who determines these policies must precede any analysis of the policies themselves. Besides Spain and Portugal, their study covers several newer democracies where CCMR is working, including South Africa, Ukraine, Brazil, and Nicaragua, which recently established or reconstituted ministries of defense, and Colombia, which is restructuring its defense ministry. Bruneau and Goetze further emphasize the relationships that defense ministries must cultivate with other sectors of the executive, the legislature, the armed forces themselves, and international actors. Again, the critical importance of civilian expertise becomes apparent.
Eminent military historian Douglas Porch, in Chapter 4, introduces the topic of strategy and the tensions between the civilian and military sectors inherent in its planning. In addition to raising the classic questions of strategy formulation, Porch provides insights into how different leaders in different eras have attempted to deal with those institutional disputes. The challenge in a democracy, he concludes, is to determine how best to manage and live with these inevitable tensions.
In Chapter 5, Paul Shemella grapples with the fundamental questions of why societies create armed forces and what kinds of missions they direct them to undertake. He provides a framework for understanding the definition of roles and missions, along with insights on how to think about them. In doing so, he raises two critical points. First, many countries have never had a public debate about the purposes of the armed forces, without which it is difficult to establish legitimacy for the military or to generate sufficient resources to support them. Second, the variety of roles and missions that modern militaries are asked to assume is daunting and has only expanded since September 11, 2001. Even in small, recently stabilized countries, such as those in Central America, the armed forces may be simultaneously involved in traditional defense, international peacekeeping, counter-drug operations, counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and humanitarian and disaster assistance. Unless policymakers grasp the wide spectrum of possible roles and missions the military may be assigned, it will be difficult for them to comprehend the real challenges of civilian control and the requirements of resources, recruitment, and training.
Tom Bruneau joins Kenneth Dombroski in Chapter 6 to examine the intelligence sector, including counterintelligence, or "state security." They pay particular attention to the military's role in intelligence, which can pose a serious challenge to democratic consolidation. An unreformed intelligence organization left over from a previous nondemocratic regime, they warn, can exert undue influence on elected politicians and thus undermine efforts to democratize governmental institutions. If, by contrast, a government lacks an effective intelligence service, it will find itself virtually blind in the face of organized crime, terrorism, and impending threats to national defense. The authors emphasize the importance of professionalization of intelligence officers and their functions as a means to mitigate those dangers.
In Chapter 7, Jeanne Giraldo turns to the pivotal role that money plays in democratic civil-military relations. In a democracy, not only is the budget the main mechanism for civilian control of the military, but it also enables civilian leaders to define roles and missions for and to ensure transparency and accountability in the military organization. Giraldo stresses that in order to exert the necessary controls through budgeting, however, not only legislators but also officials in the executive, including the ministry of defense, must have an interest in becoming knowledgeable about military matters.
The final two chapters deal with different aspects of the structure and culture of the military itself. In Chapter 8, Austrian Army brigadier general and philosopher Edwin Micewski explores the importance of recruitment methods—conscription and volunteer—not only for the ability of the military to implement its roles and missions but also in terms of the armed forces' relationship with society as an institution and of its members as individual citizens. He highlights several of the key problems and considerations inherent in both types of force and makes clear that no single choice will serve every society equally well, whether it be conscription, an all-volunteer professional force, or some combination thereof. As with most of the issues covered in this volume, the reader is urged to think in terms of "lessons learned and best practices" rather than to expect to find hard-and-fast solutions to these complex relations.
In Chapter 9, Karen Guttieri deals with another extremely important issue that has received little attention in the scholarly literature outside the older democracies: professional military education (PME). As Young and Micewski note, military and civilian leaders bring unique perspectives to questions of civil-military relations arising from quite different cultures and expectations. These differences are no less apparent in decisions of how best to educate officers both to win wars and to advise their civilian counterparts on the best way to do so. Probably the key element in molding and maintaining professionalism in all branches of the armed forces—including intelligence, as Chapter 6 reminds us—is education and training. Besides exploring many of the key issues in professional military education and training, Guttieri also highlights the importance of civilian control in this area. Although civilian control may predominate in the United States, in most other countries PME remains chiefly the responsibility of the military itself.
We undertook this book project to address what we consider to be a critical gap in the literature on how consolidating democratic regimes can use institutions to establish civilian control over and manage relations with their militaries so that roles and missions can be implemented effectively. The contributors have found in the course of a decade of research and teaching with the Center for Civil-Military Relations, both in the United States and mainly abroad, that the available literature on civil-military relations is currently out of touch with the reality we have witnessed in the third-wave democracies. It is our intention not only that readers should better understand how to think about democratic civil-military relations but also that this volume will inspire scholars and practitioners alike to consider what the next steps should be in ensuring democratic consolidation.