Out of Control: The Crisis in Civil-Military Relations

The U.S. military is now more alienated from its civilian leadership than at any time in American history, and more vocal about it.

Issue: Spring 1994

THE U.S. MILITARY is now more alienated from its civilian leadership than at any time in American history, and more vocal about it.

The warning signs are very clear, most noticeably in the frequency with which officers have expressed disgust for the President over the last year.

When Clinton visited the carrier Theodore Roosevelt, the Atlantic Fleet commander had to arrive at the ship beforehand to assure a proper reception. The Air Force Chief of Staff had to issue an open demand to his service to respect the President and for proper behavior to be accorded him--and still had to retire a two-star general for disparaging remarks made in public. At the Army's elite Command and General Staff College, a respected Congressman was "jeered" by the class when he "repeatedly lectured officers" about Congress's role and powers--and was greeted by "catcalls" at the mention of the President (Kansas City Star, April 17, 1993.)

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