January 01, 2021

Biden Inherits a Challenging Civil-Military Legacy

By ​Jim Golby and Peter Feaver

Joseph Biden will be the most experienced first-time president in nearly 30 years when he enters office, but he and his team will inherit a civil-military relationship as tenuous as any in recent memory. Not only will they have to deal with the fallout of President Donald Trump’s unusual legacy as commander-in-chief, they will need to try to avoid some of the unhealthy civil-military dynamics left over from the Obama administration.

Joseph Biden and his team will inherit a civil-military relationship as tenuous as any in recent memory.

Biden and his team will grapple with all of this through a national security establishment that has changed in some important ways since Democrats last were at the helm. This would be a daunting assignment even in a stable time, but — given the potential threats on the horizon and the other crises Biden inherits — restoring a healthier civil-military balance will be especially challenging. Civilians may have the right to be wrong, but the margin for error in this environment is slim.

Read the full article from War on the Rocks.

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia