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This book addresses the challenge of reforming defense and military policy-making in newly democratized nations. By tracing the development of civil-military relations in various new democracies from a comparative perspective, it links two bodies of scholarship that thus far have remained largely separate: the study of emerging (or failed) civilian control over armed forces on the one hand; and work on the roots and causes of military effectiveness to guarantee the protection and security of citizens on the other. The empirical and theoretical findings presented here will appeal to scholars of civil-military relations, democratization and security issues, as well as to defense policy-makers.



Chapter 1. Introduction

Political scientists studying civil-military relations have always been particularly concerned with the “civil-military problematique” (Feaver): how to create and preserve a military that is subordinate to the authority of political leaders but strong enough to fulfill its functions? Most of the scholarly literature on civil-military relations in democratic transformations focuses on the subordination of the armed forces to civilian authority and whether new democracies can succeed in preventing their armed forces from overthrowing democracy. At the same time, however, other and often more relevant reform issues tend to be overlooked. In fact, while it seems that contemporary democracies are quite successful in proofing themselves against military coups and other forms of direct or indirect military incursions, as the remarkable and steady decline of coup d’états and military regimes since the mid-1980s indicate, many have been considerably less successful in establishing civilian supremacy over national defense and military policy-making. This is true not only for most of the former military-ruled countries of Latin America, Southern Europe, Asia, and Africa, but also of post-communist countries in Europe and the former Soviet Union. Moreover, besides the demilitarization of defense policy-making, the effectiveness of the armed forces in fulfilling their assigned roles and missions also often remains problematic. In fact, many new democracies are not well prepared to develop strong institutions for the democratic control of the armed forces and turning them into effective providers of security and protection.
Aurel Croissant, David Kuehn

Chapter 2. The Long Shadow of History: Civilian Control and Military Effectiveness in Poland

This chapter presents partial results of a longitudinal study tracing the challenges that joining NATO posed to the armed forces and the defense policies of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. Poland, being one of the first former Warsaw Pact countries to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), exhibits features typical of all former communist countries to join the Alliance. Joining it, as our research conclusively shows, was the single most important factor contributing to the establishment of democratic civilian control of the Polish Armed Forces. However, we discovered that some institutional changes, considered necessary for such control, were mainly cosmetic. Though the Polish Ministry of Defense is led by a civilian, its staff is thought to consist of only some 40% civilians, most of them in low positions. The parliamentary committee overseeing the armed forces is bereft of specialists and the military still resists civilian researchers’ requests for even the most basic information about its workings. The Polish experience of defense and military policy reform suggests the need, at their very start, to secure an adequate pool of highly qualified civilian experts in all matters military. Without them reform is meaningless, otherwise civilian politicians will always be dependent on the military to provide necessary information. The other important lesson of this study is that the most contentious aspects of defense and military policy reform should be enacted at their very start, while the internal pressure for change is at its strongest and the outside scrutiny the most intense. We also noted, that the military culture remains the most neglected aspect of civil-military relations studies in Poland, yet, our research shows that cultural factors alone can explain important dynamics in civil-military relations.
Marek Rohr-Garztecki

Chapter 3. Institutional Failure and Civic Activism: The Potential for Democratic Control in Post-Maidan Ukraine

With only a handful of civilian ministers of defense since independence and a set of scant and feebly implemented institutions, civilian democratic control remains a weak spot in Ukraine’s security and defense architecture. Largely unrestricted by institutions other than the executive and un-scrutinized by the wider public, after the country’s independence in 1991 the armed forces became a source of patronage and rent-seeking for top officials. The proliferation of corruption schemes hollowed them from within, undermined their effectiveness, alienated them from the general public and created a widespread crisis of confidence. The unexpected eruption of war in the Donbas in 2014 raised concerns that undertrained, underequipped and underfunded as it was, the Ukrainian army would be unable to protect the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. This chapter examines the impact of the Maidan demonstrations and their aftermath on good governance practices in the security sector within the context of Ukraine’s incomplete and often faltering democratic transition. The main argument is that while the effectiveness of the armed forces depends on the existence of mechanisms that enhance their accountability, in order to have a meaningful impact, civilian oversight needs to be truly democratic. In other words, it needs to allow for the participation of a variety of both institutional and extra-institutional actors, each according to their specific competence and mandate. Limiting civilian control to a handful of institutional insiders, instead, risks creating bonds of loyalty towards a restricted elite rather than the state at large. Lack of transparency and the preservation of rent-seeking and patronage practices undermine the efficiency of the armed forces and weaken their capacity to defend the state and its collective interests.
Rosaria Puglisi

Chapter 4. Civil-Military Relations in Two “Third Wave” Democracies: The First and a Follower

This chapter utilizes the framework described in the Introduction, which includes both democratic civilian control and military effectiveness, to compare and contrast the experiences of two “Third Wave” democracies: Portugal, which initiated the third wave on 25 April 1974, and Brazil, where the democratic transition began in 1985 with a civilian president coming into office following 21 years of military governments. The chapter argues that democratic civilian control has been achieved in both countries, but only in Portugal has military effectiveness also been sought. The chapter seeks to explain the differences in the two countries’ experiences based on the incentives of the civilian decision makers as defined in the very different strategic cultures of the two countries. The data utilized in this chapter comes from published books and articles, official documents, on-line resources, and personal interviews by the author.
Thomas C. Bruneau

Chapter 5. Mexico: A Civil-Military “Pact” Unravelling?

Mexico’s civil-military relations were extraordinary stable during authoritarian rule: installed as a pillar of the PRI’s control, the military never intervened into civilian politics or threatened to overthrow the regime. On the contrary, military leaderships almost unconditionally defended the regime against internal threats, thereby repeatedly taking the blame for civilian mismanagement. Coinciding with the intensifying US-led “War on Drugs”, the transition to democracy threatened to destabilize this balance and lead to open opposition within the military. Deemed the “biggest loser” in the “War on Drugs” by analysts, the armed forces have repeatedly claimed themselves unfit for the task and called on civilian leaders to improve law enforcement efforts. The analysis finds, however, that the feared “control gap” anticipated after the end of PRI rule did not materialize; instead, the tried and tested “pact” has come under severe strain in the new millennium.
Peter Hachemer

Chapter 6. Civilian Control and Military Effectiveness in South Africa and Ghana

Looking at South Africa and Ghana, this chapter compares two cases of relative success in regard to democratization and the establishment of civilian control in sub-Saharan Africa. While both countries have created comprehensive frameworks for civilian control after their democratization in the 1990s, the setup and performance of oversight institutions differ to some extent. Institutions in South Africa are somewhat stronger and are more democratically balanced than in Ghana, where the military enjoys a certain amount of autonomy. However, both military organizations can be regarded as rather effective, despite financial, personal, and technical constraints. The chapter further focuses on the countries respective involvement in peacekeeping activities on the continent. By comparing their performance, conceptual shortcomings about the meaning of military effectiveness become obvious.
Anne-Marie Parth, Susanne Schneider

Chapter 7. Civilian Control and Defense Policy in Indonesia’s Nascent Democracy

From 1999 to 2004, democratization and the military reform agenda in Indonesia had significantly curbed the military’s long-standing socio-political role and established full civilian control in the political arena. Nevertheless, civilian authority in the national defense sector remains imperfect. The military has been able to isolate the formulation and implementation of defense and military policy from civilian influence by taking advantage of vague regulation and their dominance over the defense bureaucracy. This chapter explains how limited civilian control in the defense sector affects government efforts to develop military effectiveness in Indonesia’s nascent democracy. In order to do so, military effectiveness is treated as a process of military change towards an effective force. The chapter argues that the more restricted civilian authority is in the defense sector, the lower will be the potential for changes in defense and military policy. To test the argument, the chapter analyzes strategic planning, the institutional set-up, and budget allocation for the Indonesian defense sector from 2010 to 2014, paying particular attention to the ambitious Minimum Essential Force (MEF) policy under President Yudhoyono. The analysis shows little significant policy change and, more importantly, evidence of the military’s continued ability to suspend civilian directives in the defense sector. Consequently, limited civilian control in defense and military affairs has seriously undermined military effectiveness.
Aditya Batara Gunawan

Chapter 8. Reforming Defense and Military Policy-Making in South Korea, 1987–2012

In 1987, South Korea made the transition to electoral democracy after three decades of military rule. Democratic institutions started working sufficiently quickly after the end of authoritarian rule and civilian presidents succeeded in pushing the military out of politics by the mid-1990s. However, effective civilian control of defense and military policy was a long way to come and was only realized more than a decade after the transition with the establishment of the National Security Council. This chapter traces the development of civilian control over South Korea’s defense and military policy since the transition to democracy in 1987 to the end of President Lee Myung-bak’s term in office in 2012. It argues that the slow but ultimately successful establishment of civilian control over defense and military policy was the result of a protracted power struggle between civilian presidents and the military leadership who, despite contrary preferences, were reluctant to engage in open civil-military conflict, not least because of the ongoing security threat posed by North Korea. Democratization and the ‘Northern Threat’ also had tremendous impact on the country’s military effectiveness. Even though the transition to democracy did not fundamentally alter the threat situation in relation to North Korea, it did provide the political momentum to modernize defense and security policy, to strengthen the institutions necessary for an effective defense and military policy, and to ensure that the military remains well-funded, well-staffed, and well-equipped.
David Kuehn

Chapter 9. Democratic Control and Military Effectiveness of the Turkish Armed Forces

Adopting a strategic relational approach, this chapter shows how—despite Turkey’s unfavorable initial conditions—external pressures differentially empowering civilians provided resources these civilians needed to break the stabilizing mechanisms of path-dependence in civil-military relations. The ability of civilians to overcome path-dependence were enhanced by over a decade of rule by a stable majority government with a strong will to erode the political clout of the military. Having successfully defanged the Turkish military and consolidated its hold on power, the civilian leadership’s interest in defense and military reform has, however, faded in the last few years. In addition to second-generation problems of constructing effective civilian-led defense policy-making with broader civil society input, as well as strengthening legislative oversight, Turkey today also faces the twin challenges of restoring the morale and corporate esteem of the officers and rebuilding a working relationship between military and civilian leaders based on mutual trust.
Tuba Eldem

Chapter 10. Lebanon: The Limits of Controlling a National Army in a Sectarian State

Throughout the twentieth century, civil-military relations in Lebanon were marked by sectarian divisions, ultimately leading to two civil wars. Thereafter, the Syrian occupation of Lebanon from 1990 to 2006 hindered sovereign and effective reforms in the security and defense branches. Since Syria’s withdrawal, institutions for civilian control have been formally established through several reforms. Yet the actual performance of these institutions is deeply flawed. This weak performance can be traced back to Lebanese sectarianism, which up to this day dominates the civilian state apparatus. As civilian policy-making mostly builds on consensus between Lebanon’s sectarian factions, such divisions regularly paralyze the political arena. This chapter will thus focus on the consequences of sectarianism and factionalism on civilian control. It illustrates how sectarianism and factionalism can render institutions of civilian control ineffective. In the Lebanese case, civilians are neither able to agree on adequate security and defense policies, especially in regard to Hezbollah’s militia, nor locate much needed resources to counter new security threats. Further, the chapter shows that the lack of such policies and funding severely reduces the Lebanese Armed Forces’ effectiveness, as it leaves it without a clear role and adequate capacities. On a positive note, the Lebanese military has legitimized itself as a cross-sectarian institution in an environment dominated by sectarianism and is considered a model for multi-sectarian forces. Beyond that, it has developed a security plan to counter current security threats, through which it could successfully locate international resources. The Lebanese Armed Forces can thus play a stabilizing role in a state where civilian authorities fail to provide such stability.
Sophie Kara

Chapter 11. Strengthening the Tunisian Armed Forces? Reforming Defense and Military Policy-Making in Tunisia

Since the fall of the Tunisian authoritarian regime on January 14, 2011, the on-going redefinition of civil-military relations in the country has been quite paradoxical: if according to some models of democratic control of the armed forces, militaries have to be kept away from politics, strengthening democracy in Tunisia rhymes with a strengthening of military capabilities and efficiency as its internal security forces (ISF) are weak and fragmented, and as security concerns rise inside and outside the country due to jihadi threats and overall regional instability. The environmental threat, the definition of a clear defense strategy, the redefinition of the missions and roles of the ISF as well as their interactions and cooperation with the armed forces are the main challenges Tunisia is facing today. All these factors impact the reform of the Tunisian defense sector during democratic consolidation. If control and modernization of the armed forces are two sides of the same coin, establishing a link between control and effectiveness of the military is sensitive. The major constraint to defense policy reforms and to military effectiveness remains the weakness of the ISF.
Saïd Haddad
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