The Military in the Service of Society and Democracy: The Challenge of the Dual-Role Military

The Military in the Service of Society and Democracy: The Challenge of the Dual-Role Military

The Military in the Service of Society and Democracy: The Challenge of the Dual-Role Military

The Military in the Service of Society and Democracy: The Challenge of the Dual-Role Military

Synopsis

This volume examines civil-military relations in general and nonmilitary functions in the service of society and democracy in particular in six different nations, against the backdrop of the Israeli experience with a dual-role military. Since its inception, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) has functioned as a very effective fighting force while also fulfilling many core nonmilitary roles as a powerful, educational, and remedial agent engaged in strengthening the fabric of Israeli society. The inner workings of the IDF in this area--the subject and dynamics of its broad social agenda, including the dilemmas inherent in education toward broad intellectual autonomy within a regimented system such as the military--are presented, for the first time before a non-Israeli audience, in detail (and with much candor) by both high echelon IDF personnel and junior officers in conscript service directly responsible for carrying out these missions.

Excerpt

A need to examine changing civil-military relations has been apparent for some time. In the wake of current historic events that have precipitated significant changes in civil-military relations everywhere, the opportunity to examine the role of the military in the service of democracy and society is particularly timely. Shifts in prestige and status, and changes in size and components are taking place in military establishments around the world. What is common to all is the interdependent nature of the civil-military equation and the mutual influence of military and civil spheres on one another. Although it is still hard to determine the shape of things to come, one thing is certain: the nature of these new relationships will vary from country to country. For many, it will involve questions of legitimacy in the absence of a clear threat and quandaries over how to downsize the armed forces without losing touch with society. The IDF format of a dual-role military--functioning as a fighting force and as a powerful educational and socializing agent--as put forth by IDF representatives in this volume, offers food for thought for others in the process of re-examining their own nonmilitary functions of the military and dealing with the basic dilemma of whether to eliminate or expand these components as they re-establish a new equilibrium of civil-military relationships.

Dr. Reuven Gal

Director, The Israeli Institute for Military Studies . . .

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