ForeignPolicy.com, August 2, 2012
The real problem with the civilian-military gap.
By Rosa Brooks
One of the biggest misunderstandings about the civilian-military gap is that it is cultural — the national security version of the red state-blue state divide.
But the distance between those in and out of uniform isn’t fundamentally a matter of Texas vs. Massachusetts or NASCAR vs. Wimbledon. At the most basic level, it encompasses deeply different understandings of how we think — how we plan, how we evaluate risk, even how we define problems in the first place. Ironically, the one place where the gap should be the most avoidable is the place where its effects are the most pernicious: Washington.
It’s avoidable because if there’s any venue where which civilians and military personnel work together side by side, day after day, it’s in the national security establishment. In theory, this constant interaction ought to breed familiarity, not contempt.
In practice, though, too many senior civilian officials know virtually nothing about the structure of military organizations, the chain of command, or the military planning process, while some senior military officers have forgotten that there’s any other way to run an organization or think about problem-solving.
As posted at the source:
This is one of the best snap-shots I have read since Morton Halperin’s book on the subject, Bureaucratic Politics and Foreign Policy (Rule 1: Lie to the President if you can get away with it). Kudos. Now here is what the article does not say: the White House is calling for a drone because the US secret intelligence community is completely worthless at ad hoc come as you are real-world monitoring AND US policy is neither informed by intelligence, nor interested in having a US intelligence (decision-support) capability that actually informs–like 75% of the Pentagon, the IC is a pork barrel, nothing more. If I were to recommend three recent books, aside from the nine I have published, they would be Hamilton Bean’s No More Secrets: Open Source Information and the Reshaping of U.S. Intelligence; Anthony Olcott’s Open Source Intelligence in a Networked World, and Paul Pillar’s Intelligence and U.S. Foreign Policy: Iraq, 9/11 and Mis-Guided Reform. Now here’s the really important part: for 20 years I and a handful of others have labored to create the Open Source Agency first called for in 1969. OMB has TWICE approved the creation of this agency as a presidential initiative under diplomatic auspices NOT under the secret world, but the secret mandarins have blocked my communications to Hillary Clinton, most recently via Alec Ross in the Office of Public Diplomacy, FOUR TIMES. The LAST thing they want is an effective public intelligence agency that shows how worthless they are (I am a former spy, did satellites, counterintelligence, created the Marine Corps Intelligence Center, etcetera–and General Tony Zinni, USMC, then CINICENT, is on record as saying that the secret world provided “at best” 4% of what he needed to know. Has anyone got direct access to Hillary Clinton? This agency, taking over the South-Central Campus where USIP is now the lower edge, with the Saudi’s providing challenge grants for JFK Center fundraising to build the long-planned Potomac Plaza above the inter-change, is a do-able do. You can see the two paragraphs and four links that Alec Ross received and evidently did not deliver to Hillary Clinton (probably intimidated by INR, which pimps for CIA inside State), at http://tinyurl.com/OSA2011. Obama will probably get re-elected. This initiatve, as part of the Smart Nation Act that Congressman Rob Simmons (R-CT-02) and I put together, would be helpful–and it would also make Hillary Clinton, presumed future Chair of the Board of Visitors of the Open Source Agency, the best-informed person on the planet. I am in Oakton VA and my email is robert.david.steele.vivas [at] gmail [dot] com.