Discourse Matters: The Impact of Civil-Military Relations on the Post-Conflict Planning Process.
Abstract: Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has engaged in a
post-conflict reconstruction operation at least once every twenty-four months. Yet despite
investing significant time and resources in these operations, the United States has
repeatedly failed to capitalize on initial battlefield victories to achieve its political
objectives. This has been devastatingly demonstrated in... read moreIraq. This dissertation
investigates one factor influencing the post-conflict reconstruction planning process - the
nature of civil-military relations at the apex of national security decision-making. How do
civil-military relations impact the policy planning process for post-conflict environments?
Civil-military relations theory has largely focused on how civilian authorities control the
military, what structures lead to civilian control, and what kind of relations best serve
the interests of the state. Though recent scholarship increasingly addresses the need for
greater equality in strategic decision-making, the issue of control continues to dominate
the discussion. What is missing from civil-military theory is an emphasis on the process of
deliberation. This dissertation aims to shift the theoretical focus from issues of control
to understanding how civil-military relations affect policy outcomes. Drawing on the
literature of deliberative democracy, the dissertation introduces the concept of
deliberative discourse to civil-military relations theory. Deliberative discourse involves
a distinct process of learning about and considering issues from different perspectives. It
includes an examination of divergent perspectives, a strategic assessment of assumptions,
alternative options, and the exchange of information in order to reach a reasoned consensus
on a policy that integrates political and military considerations. To demonstrate the power
of deliberation, this dissertation reviews the 2003 Iraq War and 2007 Iraq Surge planning
processes. The cases highlight the need for deliberative discourse to characterize
civil-military relations during the planning process. The findings contribute to
civil-military relations theory by providing a new way to consider the role and
responsibility of civilian and military leaders in the decision-making process. A
significant policy implication revealed by this research is the need to reform the
interagency process to ensure that policy matches political objectives to military
capabilities, and most importantly, links "winning the war" to "securing the peace" in
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Tufts University, 2014.
Submitted to the Dept. of Diplomacy, History, and Politics.
Advisor: Robert Pfaltzgraff.
Committee: Antonia Chayes, and Daniel Drezner.
Keywords: International relations, Political Science, and Military studies.read less