Academic journal article Military Review

In the Common Defense: National Security Law for Perilous Times

Academic journal article Military Review

In the Common Defense: National Security Law for Perilous Times

Article excerpt

IN THE COMMON DEFENSE: National Security Law for Perilous Times, James E. Baker, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 2007, 404 pages, $30.00.

Soldiers and politicians often claim that legislation such as the Goldwater-Nichols Act or Title 10 require something more. However, almost no one who challenges the legislation has actually read it. They mistakenly assume that no one else has read it, and they trust a lawyer to read it for them. Such lapses are terrible mistakes, for national security legislation is basic to soldiering at any level.

Military Review (May-June 2008) has two articles that illuminate the important aspects of national security: Dr. Charles Stevenson's "The Story Behind the National Security Act of 1947" and James R. Locher III's, "The Most Important Thing: Legislative Reform of the National Security System." These two articles, combined with James Baker's In the Common Defense, will equip Soldiers and civilians alike with a basic understanding of national security legislation.

Taken together, this material will encourage Soldiers to learn for them selves what the law actually says. The articles serve as a good primer for Baker's book in that Stevenson describes the system that continues to plague the Armed Forces to this day, and Locher argues that our old systems need to be refined, reformed, and in some cases replaced. The National Security Act of 1947, sometimes described as unifying the Armed Forces, actually hived off the Air Force as a new service and fundamentally enshrined the Marine Corps as a separate service. …

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