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date: 22 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Civil-military relations are fundamental to the fabric of American politics. Throughout the country’s history, relations among military institutions, the civilian leadership, and American society have experienced periodic challenges and frictions. Since the late 1950s, sociologists, historians, and political scientists have sought to document and analyze these tensions. The issues include the perennial topic of how best to assure civilian control of the military; the nature and consequences of the gaps between American society and the military; the military’s involvement in politics; and the appropriate roles of civilian and military leaders in strategic assessment. This chapter explores these scholarly debates and discusses their practical implications for contemporary American civil-military relations.

Keywords: civil-military relations, civil-military gap, civilian control of the military, strategic assessment, “Best Military Advice”, Objective Control of the Military

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