Thesis Title

Soldiers and Society: U.S. Civil-Military Relations in the Modern Era

Date of Graduation

Spring 2000


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

William Van Cleave

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


The post-Cold War period has seen the growth of a debate over the current state of civil-military relations in the United States. There is a group of observers who state that the military's new environment--declining budgets, shrinking numbers, new roles and missions, and personnel retention problems--and its unique culture are leading to a crisis situation. The features of this crisis situation are an increasing gap between civilian and military cultures and what some see as erosion of civilian control of the military. Other observers challenge this view, stating that there is no crisis now or in the foreseeable future. This thesis examines the current state of U.S. civil-military relations in an attempt to determine whether or not such a crisis is developing, or to shed light on the matter. An examination of theories of civil-military relations and a brief historical background on the development of U.S. civil-military relations lead into the major part of the thesis: a discussion, analysis, and assessment of what current observers consider to be the indicators of a civil military crisis.


© Geoffrey Douglas Kiefer