Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fourth generation civ-mil?

I am applying for a grant to build a Canadian Civil-Military Relations network this month, and now I have a thorny problem.  Given the space restraints on the various documents, do I have to explain that what I don't mean by civil-military relations are the affairs, email-exchanges and other linkages between four star generals such as Petraeus (former) and Allen (current) and various women (Broadwell, Kelley, etc)? 

When we speak of civil-military relations, we can think of three generations:
  1. The first focused on coups and the threat militaries posed to democracies
  2. The second focused on how democracies control their militaries and whether there are gaps between the two groups.
  3. The newest focuses on getting the military and civilians to work together well in a "comprehensive approach" or "whole of government effort" as counter-insurgency or state-building is pursued.  
  4. Officers messing around with civilians.
 Oy. The latest news, that General Allen of ISAF and designated to become the head of NATO's military arm (SACEUR), indicates that someone has dropped a big bottle of distraction sauce, causing it to spray in every direction.  The FBI clearly needs to distract folks from the fact that this whole thing happened because a woman getting some threatening emails asked an FBI friend who appears to be quite ideologically biased to look into things.  It does explain why Eric Cantor got involved, but not why he behaved so responsibly.

Anyhow, it looks like I am going to have to explain what civil-military relations is NOT for the next year or three.  Oy squared.

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