• Civil-Military Relations,  ICT,  Public Diplomacy

    Monday Mash-Up for July 30, 2007

    If you want another example of America’s failure to understand the importance of building a bigger and badder Internet infrastructure (hell the report I referenced misses the fundamental requirement!), compare the US e-Government initiative and the UK’s. It isn’t pretty. “Universal internet access is vital if we are not only to avoid social divisions over the new economy but to create a knowledge economy of the future which is for everyone. Because it’s likely that the internet will be as ubiquitous and as normal as electricity is today. For business. Or for individuals.” – former Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2000 There are advantages to technology, although this example doesn’t include…

  • Civil-Military Relations

    Evolution of American Civil-Military Relations in Four Quotes

    On appropriations, General Walker, Chief of Army Finance, to a Congressional committee in 1924: I think it would. I think when the budget has once been approved by the President and transmitted to Congress, it is his budget estimate and no officer or official of the War Department would have any right to come up here and attempt to get a single dollar more than…contained in the estimate. On allegiance, General George Marshall on loyalty to the President and not Congress in 1940: I submit to you…the impossibility of developing an efficient army if decisions which are purely military in nature are continually subjected to investigation, cross examination, debate, ridicule,…

  • Civil-Military Relations

    Playing politics with soldiers

    From Phil Carter: [T]he California National Guard is alone among the 50 states in not providing state-funded tuition assistance to its National Guard troops. Although soldiers can still get the reserve GI Bill, this state offers no separate benefit to make up the difference between that amount and UC/CSU tuition, nor any separate GI Bill-like benefits of its own.  Why is this? Impotent politicians are taking out their frustrations on the Guard, according to the Times: State Sen. Jack Scott (D-Altadena) chairs the Senate Education Committee, which has scuttled attempts by the California Guard to get tuition assistance for members. College aid ought to be based on financial need, not on…

  • Civil-Military Relations,  Public Diplomacy

    Monday Mash-up

    The Army fails to take care of its own, trying to dishonorably discharge its wounded (h/t Arms & Influence) Frank Hoffman posted a response to Dr. Luttwak’s “specious” article that builds upon David Kilcullen’s earlier response and adds some more intelligent criticism absent from Dr. Luttwak’s lament. Deserving of its own post (but no time to make it so) is Lt. General David H. Petraeus‘s talk at Johns Hopkins November 2006: Soldiering and the Schoolhouse (download mp3 directly here). (See a related post at War Historian on Humanists and the Military.) The General talks to the point that educating military officers in civilian institutions is of extreme importance for bilateral understanding and…

  • Civil-Military Relations

    Discussing War Powers

    The Council on Foreign Relations issued a backgrounder on American civil-military relations. No, I’m sorry, that’s not what the backgrounder purports to be about, although it should. Robert McMahon wrote on the “different responsibilities” Congress and the President (it should still be an upper case “P” people) have in waging war but completely ignores some of the most important oversight powers of Congress.

  • Civil-Military Relations

    Readings on civil-military relations

    Last month I posted a reading list on civil-military relations on the Smart Power Blog that is now cross posted here.  Civil-Military Relations  The importance of understanding and establishing “proper” civil-military relations can’t be understated both at home and in the troubled regions. The relationship between civilian and military leaderships dictates and is dictated by the freedom of the people. This relationship, in a democracy especially, is special and paramount and yet too many do not understand or get it. Why post on this? It is important to understand civil-military relations in an age where people: Question whether public diplomacy and the management and projection of America’s image should be owned…

  • Civil-Military Relations,  Public Affairs

    When a general writes a column, is opinion or “local news”?

    A Georgia newspaper published the first of what is to be a biweekly column by the commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, Major General Rick Lynch, on the first page of the second section. What’s interesting is not the message, but that online the column is categorized as “Local News” instead of an opinion piece. (Editor & Publisher wrote that it’s labeled as “story”, but so are Op-Eds. It’s the categorization between the byline and title that counts here.) What’s the big deal? Well, is it really news? Did contributors Lt. Col Randy Martin, Fort Stewart public affairs officer, and 1st Lieutenant Allie Chase ghost-write the piece? This is how General…

  • Civil-Military Relations

    Breaking the Army

    Read… Phillip Carter’s post on the Time cover article “Why our Army is at the Breaking Point” (The Christian Science Monitor’s “Is US Army bent to the breaking point?” seems to be the Clif Notes version) Jason posts on a USA Today article about the unfit recruits After reading the problems, Jason posts a solution for recruiting shortages.

  • Civil-Military Relations

    Eddie, we’re glad you’re back

    Eddie returns from a slumber and comments on the Iranian hostage taking and civil-military relations, ending with: A similar attitude may be hard to envision in America, but the lack of faith in public officials and the nation as a whole is alarming, to a degree that it could be reasonable to compare it only slightly favorably to the Vietnam debacle and the “malaise” diagnosis of Jimmy Carter. Adam Elkus notes that 1/3 of Americans suspect ulterior motives behind 9/11, prominently USG support and/or acquiescence.  Scandal after scandal in Washington from the compounding disgrace of Katrina to pressuring US attorneys to pursue partisan political charges against the opposition only make this “crisis of confidence” more acute. …