Return to Sender?: Analyzing the Senior Leader ‘Open Letter’ On Civilian Control of the Military
14.2 Harvard National Security Journal (Forthcoming)
41 Pages Posted: 2 May 2023 Last revised: 9 Sep 2023
Date Written: May 16, 2023
In response to the September 2022 open letter, “To Support and Defend: Principles of Civilian Control and Best Practices of Civil-Military Relations,” by eight former secretaries of defense and five former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, this Article adds a piece to the continuing dialogue about U.S. civil-military relations. The Letter attempts to detail “core principles or best practices” (CP/BP) regarding civil-military relations, and in response, this Article comments on and clarifies these well-intended efforts. This Article sequentially dissects each CP/BP in today’s context of hyper-politicization, partisanship, technology, and more. Where necessary, the Article explains how the law may impact the CP/BPs and identifies areas of potential misunderstandings by some audiences the Letter may reach. In sum, this Article aims to help develop the discussion of some of the puzzle pieces of legal nuances, practical applications, and societal norms found throughout civil-military relations.
Keywords: Civil-Military Relations
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation