The Civil-Military Variable and How It Varies



This chapter looks in more depth at the contours of civil-military bargaining, focusing on military leadership preferences and political leadership leverage, apart from any effects on war termination outcomes. 1 It provides a foundation for understanding how political leadership’s bargaining position can vary across cases and over time within cases of protracted war, to include from one political leader to the next within a given case. This preliminary discussion is useful for at least three reasons. First, the proposed view of what drives military leadership preferences, and thus the basis of either convergence or divergence with political leadership’s policy, differs from the traditional conception found in the bulk of the relevant literature. While this alternative perspective does not necessarily add predictive value, it does suggest a greater range of preferences, and a more dynamic interplay between political and military leadership, than is generally thought. This warrants explanation. Second, understanding how these preferences vary and what makes for effective political leadership leverage, in turn, provides clues as to why the civil-military gap can become so intractable and the conditions under which political and military leaders are able to collaborate in bringing protracted war to a close. And third, the discussion provides opportunity to illustrate what the abstract concept of civil-military bargaining might look like in actual cases of protracted war.


Armed Force Political Leadership Side Payment Military Leadership Officer Corps 
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