February 22, 2018

Uncivil Military Relations?

By Phillip Carter

We had many indications during the 2016 campaign that a Donald Trump presidency would be bad for civil-military relations. The candidate hurled insults at  and  amembers, said America’s generals had been “” under Presidents Bush and Obama, and signaled that he would neither respect civil-military norms nor bring with him into office any adherence to longstanding American foreign policy views.

It’s clear now that these signals failed to fully prophesize how bad civil-military relations would become under President Trump. Few laws constrain the president in this realm: He must do what he (or someday she) believes is right for the nation’s defense, its military, and society. Unfortunately, as both  and , Trump has shredded one civil-military relations norm after another. These include, but are not limited to,  a disproportionate share of senior military officers to high posts;  for a risky raid in Yemen that Trump himself ordered;  before military audiences;  (which is inextricably intertwined with the military through defense agencies like DIA and NSA);  (retired Marine Gen. John Kelly) to attack a Congresswoman over handling of a bereaved Army widow;  banning transgender troops; and  troops to join the political fray on Trump’s side. And now, to top it all off, Trump now , something that will  even more.

Read the full article in Lawfare. 

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