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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: 07 July 2022

Civil-Military Relations Norms and Democracy

Civil-Military Relations Norms and Democracy

What Every Citizen Should Know

(p.41) 2 Civil-Military Relations Norms and Democracy
Reconsidering American Civil-Military Relations

Marybeth P. Ulrich

Oxford University Press

American civil-military relations are rooted in constitutional foundations that distribute and check political power, such as civilian control over the military. Preserving American democracy requires adherence to these foundational democratic principles. This chapter argues that American policymakers, the military, and civilian society lack a shared understanding of the democratic norms that underpin US civil-military relations. Furthermore, poor understanding of democratic norms in general, and of civil-military relations norms in particular, puts American democracy at risk. Consequently, a review of the constitutional foundations of American civil-military relations and an assessment of the normative state of such relations is in order. This chapter defines civil-military relations; reviews the constitutional origins of American civil-military relations; presents the essential civil-military norms for democratic states; and highlights the responsibilities of political leaders, military actors, and civilian society to uphold them. Such a review contributes to improving the shared understanding of democratic civil-military relations norms that is essential to their preservation.

Keywords:   norms, civil-military relations, democracy, US Constitution, separation of powers

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