Managing the Military: The Joint Chiefs of Staff and Civil-Military Relations (Paperback)
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS)-a senior group of officers who lead the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps-is perhaps the most influential military figure in the United States. The chairman is the primary military advisor to the president and is often the public face of the armed forces. As advocates for the military's priorities, some chairmen have used this role to help shape policy, but others have embraced the position as an opportunity to chart new policy directions or challenge presidential preferences.
Managing the Military is a pioneering analysis of the power of the chairman of the JCS that sheds new light on civil-military relations in the United States. Using detailed case studies of debates over defense budgets since the end of the Cold War, Sharon K. Weiner examines when and how the JCS chairman opposes civilian defense policy preferences. She shows that, under the right conditions, the chairman can be a policy entrepreneur, challenging the goals of the White House and lobbying for the military's interests. However, the extent of the chairman's political clout is constrained by the preferences of the service chiefs who head the branches of the military. Weiner also explores the evolution of the institution of the JCS and illuminates the chairman's interaction with the president and secretary of defense. Blending empirical detail and theoretical contributions, Managing the Military offers a compelling account of the circumstances under which the power of the JCS chairman is maximized.