Why the Gap Matters

Bridging the gap between military officers and their civilian counterparts will be no easy task. Yet the stakes are too high to comtemplate failure.

Issue: Fall 2000

THE REACTION of most policymakers and senior military officers to the publication of the findings of the Triangle Institute for Security Studies (TISS) Project on the Gap Between the Military and Civilian Society was, predictably, one of irritation or hasty dismissal--even on the part of those who initially raised, in a vague but worried way, the issue of a civil-military "gap." Thus Secretary of Defense William Cohen observed:

Several journalists and academicians point to a cultural divide between the military and the larger American society. Clearly, we demand higher standards from those who wear the uniform than we do of civilians. This is not a negative factor but a positive one that Americans continue to value.1

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