A Widening Gap between the U.S. Military and Civilian Society? Some Evidence, 1976–96 [1998–99]
Although civilian-military relations are central to democratic governance, American interest in the issue has waxed and waned. Until 1945 the United Sates’ favorable geographic position permitted it to demobilize rapidly a er each war. e onset of the Cold War almost before the guns of World War II had cooled ensured that the United States would maintain a large military establishment. e unprecedented threats arising from the Cold War and the inception of nuclear weapons heightened concerns about relations between the military and civilian society. ey also triggered a urry of important studies on civilian-military relations,1 as well as a warning from retiring President Dwight D. Eisenhower on the potential dangers to democratic society of a permanent “military-industrial complex.”2 Two schools of thought about coping with the civilian-military gap emerged from these studies. According to one perspective, associated most closely with Samuel Huntington, because military values and ways of thinking were more appropriate for dealing with the external threats of the Cold War, the gap would best be closed by society moving toward the more conservative values of the military. Military sociologist Morris Janowitz presented an alternative prescription, focusing on the technological requirements of modern warfare that should appropriately lead toward civilianizing the military.