By Peter D. Feaver
How do civilians keep watch over the army? within the wake of September eleven, the renewed presence of nationwide safety in daily life has made this question the entire extra urgent. during this booklet, Peter Feaver proposes an bold new thought that treats civil-military family members as a principal-agent dating, with the civilian government tracking the activities of army brokers, the ''armed servants'' of the countryside. army obedience isn't really automated yet will depend on strategic calculations of even if civilians will trap and punish misbehavior.
This version demanding situations Samuel Huntington's professionalism-based version of civil-military kin, and offers an cutting edge method of creating feel of the U.S. chilly conflict and post-Cold conflict experience--especially the distinctively stormy civil-military kin of the Clinton period. within the decade after the chilly warfare ended, civilians and the army had quite a few run-ins over no matter if and the way to take advantage of army strength. those episodes, as interpreted via service provider thought, contradict the normal knowledge that civil-military family members topic provided that there's possibility of a coup. to the contrary, army professionalism doesn't on its own determine unchallenged civilian authority. As Feaver argues, company concept bargains the easiest starting place for pondering relatives among army and civilian leaders, now and sooner or later.
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Additional resources for Armed Servants: Agency, Oversight, and Civil-Military Relations
Since Huntington’s theory concerns the separate ideological proﬁles of civilian and military actors, he must also ﬁnd an attitude convergence, with civilians moving toward the military. 13 Huntington claimed that elite attitudes more or less tracked with the mass public, although at each stage the elites would be more liberal than the general public. Hence, following the trends Huntington described in his 1977 retrospective, he must have seen civil and military elite opinion as divergent in the immediate post–World War II era, converging in the late 1950s and mid1960s, diverging in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and then beginning to converge in the mid-1970s.
In this chapter, I draw upon the principalagent framework to derive such a theory and explore its application to the civil-military problematique. I will discuss here the general features of the principal-agent framework and apply them to civil-military relations—how civilian and military actors have divergent preferences and private information relevant to the relationship; how these conditions complicate the way civilians and the military interact, and advance the possibility that the military will not work as civilians intend; how civilians can mitigate these problems with monitoring and punishment mechanisms.
Huntington thus proposed a complex and somewhat contradictory treatment of the changes in American values over time. 5 Many of the factors, like the emergence of a prodefense civilian elite and public support for high defense spending were considerably more pronounced in the mid-1950s when he warned about the dangers of liberalism, than they were in the 1970s when he said the problem had been largely solved. Of greater concern, his evidence consisted largely of output measures, but his theory was a claim about input measures; the output was support for building sufﬁcient armed forces, the input was the sway of liberalism in soci- 24 Armed Servants ety, as measured by the degree of individualism in society.
Armed Servants: Agency, Oversight, and Civil-Military Relations by Peter D. Feaver