January 09, 2017

Civilian Control – How Trump Can Reverse the Trend of Failures in Recent Conflicts

By Christopher D. Kolenda

On the campaign trail, President-elect Donald J. Trump lambasted American generals for their failure to win wars. Now he has selected from their retired ranks to fill key cabinet level positions.

As confirmation hearings begin, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and others fear that civilian control of the military could be eroded if retired General James Mattis becomes Secretary of Defense.

The important discussions about whether to waive the 7-year cooling off period for Mattis tend to miss an even bigger civil-military challenge: America’s track record since World War Two has been terrible. Reverence for the military by a disengaged public has masked this problem and eroded accountability. Continued failure to win wars has the potential to badly damage civil-military trust – and America’s credibility in the world.

Read the full article at Kolenda Strategic Leadership.

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