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Reconsidering American Civil-Military RelationsThe Military, Society, Politics, and Modern War$
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Lionel Beehner, Risa Brooks, and Daniel Maurer

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780197535493

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780197535493.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 28 January 2022

The Paradoxes of Huntingtonian Professionalism

The Paradoxes of Huntingtonian Professionalism

(p.17) 1 The Paradoxes of Huntingtonian Professionalism
Reconsidering American Civil-Military Relations

Risa Brooks

Oxford University Press

Samuel Huntington’s objective control model of civil-military relations has had profound effects on contemporary norms of military professionalism. Huntington anticipated that objective control, premised on a clearly defined division of responsibility between the military and civilians, would create an apolitical ethos among officers. The military’s apolitical character then would ensure its deference to civilian authority and reinforce its professional character. The approach would also enable the military to cultivate expertise in the “management of violence” and guarantee its effectiveness in armed conflict. Those norms, however, are more complex than is sometimes appreciated. They exhibit four paradoxes, producing the very behaviors and outcomes they aim to prevent: they can promote actions and mindsets within the officer corps that work to facilitate political behavior, subvert civilian control of military activity, compromise strategic effectiveness, and even undermine some aspects of military professionalism itself.

Keywords:   Samuel Huntington, objective control, military professionalism, expertise

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