Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership
Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership

Ethics of Civil-Military Relations


Concepts and Theories

  •  Charles Dunlap, “The Origins of the Military Coup of 2012,” Parameters, Winter 1992-1993
  • Samuel Huntington, The Solder and the State: The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations (1957), preface through chapter 2-4
  • Peter Feaver, Armed Servants: Agency, Oversight, and Civil-Military Relations (2003), preface through chapter 4-8
  • _______, “Civil-Military Relations,” Annual Review of Political Science, Vol. 2, 1999 (optional)
  • Eliot Cohen, Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime (2002), preface through chapter 4
  • Morris Janowitz, The Professional Soldier: A Social and Political Portrait (1977), selections

CMR in the history of Western political thought


  • Plutarch, “Life of Coriolanus” [Roman general] (*.html)
  • Film: Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, directed by Ralph Fiennes (2011)
  • Plato, Republic, books 2-4 and 8—with particular attention to 2.369a-383b, 3 (entire), 4.419a-425a, 427c-429c, 8.543a-550b [education of guardians]
  • Aristotle, Politics, book 2 chap. 9, book 3 chaps. 1-8, book 4 chap. 13 (1297b1-35), books 7-8 [the regime and citizen-soldier]


  • Machiavelli, Art of War (1520), preface, books 1 and 7.152-249
  • Machiavelli, Prince (1532), chaps. 12-14, 17-20
  • Rousseau, Considerations on the Government of Poland (1772), chapters 1-4 and 12
  • Tocqueville, Democracy in America, volume 2, part III, chapters 22-26

 United States

  • Washington, “Newburgh Address” (1783)
  • S. Constitution (1787), Article I, Section 8 and Article II
  • Madison, Hamilton and Jay, Federalist Papers (1787-88), Nos. 3-4, 7-8, 24, 26, 34, 41
  • Samuel Huntington, The Soldier and the State, chapters 6-7
  • Richard Kohn, “The Constitution and National Security: The Intent of the Framers,” in The United States Military Under the Constitution of the United States, 1789-1989, ed. Richard Kohn (1991)
  • Deborah Pearlstein, “The Soldier, the State, and the Separation of Powers,” Texas Law Review (2012)
  • David Luban, “On the Commander-In-Chief Power,” Southern California Law Review (2008)
  • Dale Herspring, The Pentagon and the President: Civil-Military Relations from FDR to George W. Bush (2005), selections
  • Russel Weigley, “The American Military and the Principle of Civilian Control from McClellan to Powell,” Journal of Military History (1993)

Contemporary Issues in US

 The civilian-military (cultural) “gap”

  • Thomas Ricks, “The Widening Gap between the Military and Society” Atlantic Monthly, July 1997
  • Peter Feaver and Richard H. Kohn, “The Gap,” National Interest, Fall 2000
  • Eliot Cohen, “Why the Gap Matters,” National Interest, Fall 2000
  • Russell Weigley, “The American Civil-Military Cultural Gap: A Historical Perspective, Colonial Times to Present,” in Peter Feaver and Richard Kohn, Soldiers and Civilians: The Civil-Military Gap and American National Security (2001)
  • RAND, The Civil-Military Gap in the United States (2007)
  • Rosa Brooks, “Thought Cloud: The Real Problem with the Civil-Military Gap,” Foreign Policy (August 2012) 
  • Michael Desch, Civilian Control of the Military: The Changing Security Environment (2001)
  • Darrell Driver, “The Military Mind: A Reassessment of the Ideological Roots of American Military Professionalism,” in Suzanne Nielson and Don Snider, American Civil-Military Relations: The Soldier and State in a New Era (2009)
  • Chuck Rangel, “Bring Back the Draft,” New York Times, 31 Dec 2002
  • Michael Brown, et al, “A Call to National Service,” American Interest (Jan/Feb 2008)
  • Jason Dempsey, Our Army: Soldiers, Politics, and American Civil-Military Relations (2010), selections [no gap]

 Erosion of military professionalism?

  • David Segal and Karin De Angelis, “Changing Conceptions of the Military as a Profession,” in Nielson and Snider, American Civil-Military Relations
  • John Nagel and Travis Sharp, “Operational for What? The Future of the Guard and Reserves,” Joint Forces Quarterly (2010)
  • W. Singer, Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry (2003)

 Political participation and dissent

  • Risa Brooks, “Militaries and Political Activity in Democracies,” in Nielson and Snider, American Civil-Military Relations
  • James Burk, “Responsible Obedience by Military Professionals,” in Nielson and Snider, American Civil-Military Relations
  • Don Snider, Dissent and Strategic Leadership of the Military Professions (2008)
  • R. McMaster, Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam (2007), pp. 243-334
  • Paul Yingling, “A Failure of Generalship,” Armed Forces Journal (2007)
  • Michael Hastings, “The Runaway General,” Rolling Stone (2010)

 Sensitivity to initiating wars & overuse of military

  • Andrew Bacevich, “Whose Army?”, Daedalius, (Summer 2011)
  • Andrew Bacevich, The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War (2013)
  • Andrew Bacevich, Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War (2011)
  • Andrew Bacevich, The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism (2009)
  • Peter Feaver and Christopher Gelpi, Choosing Your Battles: American Civil-Military Relations and the Use of Force (2004)
  • Richard Kohn, “The Dangers of Militarization in an Endless ‘War’ on Terrorism,” The Journal of Military History (January 2009)
  • James Fallows, “The Tragedy of the American Military,” Atlantic (January/February 2015)
  • Aaron O’Connell, “The Permanent Militarization of America,” New York Times, 4 November 2012 (

 Military courts and secrecy

  • Anit Mukherjee, George Perkovich and Gaurav Kampani, “Secrecy, Civil Military Relations, and India’s Nuclear Program, International Security (Winter 2014/15)

 Militarization of police

  • Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces
  • Soldiers on the Home Front: The Domestic Role of the American Military
  • Aaron O’Connell (USNA), militarization in US, NYT

 Obligations to military

  • Andrew Bacevich, Breach of Trust: How American Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country (2014)
  • CNAS, “Passing the Baton: A Bipartisan 2016 Agenda for the Veteran and Military Community,”

 Comparative Civil-Military Relations

 Transitioning states: Latin America post-1960

  • Zoltan Barany, The Soldier and the Changing State (2012), selections
  • Thomas Bruneau and Florina Matei, eds, The Routledge Handbook of Civil-Military Relations (2013), selections
  • Marybeth Ulrich, “Developing Civil-Military Competencies Among Senior National Security Practitioners in Democratizing Latin America,” USAF Institute of National Security Studies Research Report (2008)

 Transitioning states: Eastern Europe post-1990

  • Barany, The Soldier and the Changing State (2012), selections
  • Bruneau and Matei, eds, The Routledge Handbook of Civil-Military Relations, selections

 Transitioning states: contemporary Asia

  • Zoltan, The Soldier and the Changing State, selections
  • Bruneau and Matei, eds, The Routledge Handbook of Civil-Military Relations, selections
  • Scobell, “Introduction” in Phillip Saunders and Andrew Scobell, eds., PLA Influence on China’s National Security Policymaking, Stanford University Press, 2015.
  • Scobell, “Is there a Civil-Military Gap in China’s Peaceful Rise?” Parameters XXXIX, no. 2 (Summer 2009), pp. 4-22.
  • Scobell, “China’s Evolving Civil-Military Relations: Creeping Guojiahua,” Armed Forces and Society 31, no. 2 (Winter 2005), pp. 227-244.

 Transitioning states: contemporary Middle East & Africa

  • Barany, The Soldier and the Changing State, selections
  • Bruneau and Matei, eds, The Routledge Handbook of Civil-Military Relations, selections

 Wrong direction: Russia & North Korea

  • Zoltan Barany, Democratic Breakdown and the Decline of the Russian Military (2007)
  • Bruneau and Matei, eds, The Routledge Handbook of Civil-Military Relations, selections