George Washington hands Congress his resignation as commanding general of the Continental Army, 1783. Painting by John Trumbull.

Civil-Military Relations

Critical questions about how the military, civil government, and wider society interact within the liberal democratic paradigm drive the Civil-Military Initiative.  By promoting knowledge and understanding of civil-military relations, this project addresses the contradictions and practical challenges encountered by democratic societies when they exercise military power.  We launched the project in 2018 with a guest speaker program and in 2020 offered a new course: The Civil-Military Paradox in U.S. Politics and Society.  Plans for expanding in the future include additional courses, scholarship, symposia, visiting scholars, and post-doctoral fellows.

Recent Events and Activities:

12 November 2020: Arms and the University with Dr. Don Downs (University of Wisconsin, Emeritus).

10 October 2020: Reflections from a U.S. Navy Officer and Wisconsin Veteran’s Advocate with The Honorable Mary Kolar (Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs).

17 September 2020: “Civil-Military Relations: What They Are, Why They Matter, and How to Think About Them,” with Dr. Richard H. Kohn (University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill).

18 April 2019: “The Silent Crisis in American Civil-Military Relations,” with Dr. Tom Nichols (U.S. Naval War College).

18 November 2018: “Leading With Radical Courage: a Successful Civil-Military Strategy in Afghanistan,” with Dr. Chris Kolenda.

4 October 2018: “Reflections on Reconstruction: an Informal Conversation,” with Dr. Greg Downs (University of California–Davis).

Interested in supporting this initiative? See how you can help the Center.