Overview: The Center for Civil-Military Relations

DISAM Journal, December 2007 | Go to article overview

Overview: The Center for Civil-Military Relations


The CCMR for Civil-Military Relations (CCMR) in Monterey, California, helps nations strengthen their democracies and resolve issues resulting from defense transformation, stability, security, transition and reconstruction (SSTR) operations, terrorism, and other security challenges. In the past two years, the has helped educate over 7,000 international military officers and civilians in pro grams conducted in host countries and in the United States.

Wherever possible, the U.S. works with or through others: enabling allied and partner capabilities, building their capacity and developing mechanisms to share the risks and responsibilities of today's complex challenges. Quadrennial Defense Review (Office of the Secretary of Defense, February 6, 2006.)

In a democracy, those who govern have power by virtue of a popular vote of their country's citizens. While not similarly elected, the military also holds power based on the strength of the institution and its control over the means of violence. Consequently, effective civil-military relations--the relationships between elected civilian leaders and the military--are vital to those seeking to create a government that is ultimately responsive to the people who elected it.

The key issue remains how a democratic government can exert control over the military, rather than the other way around. This is especially important since the military formed the government in many countries, and in others the military is relied on periodically to support a civilian government. As always, "the devil is in the details" because institutions such as defense ministries, legislative committees, oversight commissions, and others must exercise control over the military for a democratically elected civilian government to succeed.

Democracy is a value by itself, derivative of the benefits of liberty and freedom, and it is widely accepted that democracies create better conditions than other political systems for human progress and the minimization of conflict and war. The study and teaching of civil-military relations is extremely important because unless civilians know how to establish and manage these key institutions, real democratic civil-military relations cannot be achieved. By employing a lessons-learned and best-practices approach, civilians can learn how to control the military, and officers can come to understand that in the long run such control benefits them and their nation.

The CCMR at the Naval Postgraduate School was established in Monterey, California, in 1994 to provide graduate-level education to international civilian and military participants through resident and nonresident courses. The CCMR's programs assist foreign nations in resolving civil-military issues that can occur as a nation addresses defense transformation requirements, participates in SSTR operations, seeks to combat terrorism, and steps up to other security challenges. In so doing, CCMR assists in the implementation of the National Security Strategy, National Defense Strategy, Security Cooperation Strategy, the Quadrennial Defense Review, and other Presidential directives and policies.

Last year the CCMR reached 4,166 students through 93 programs, 77 delivered abroad, and 16 at its California campus. Through October 2006, the CCMR had conducted 129 nonresident programs, 38 took place away from Monterey in the U.S. and 91 abroad. It also offered 17 resident programs in Monterey. Participants in these 146 programs included 2,929 foreign officers, 1,644 foreign civilians, 13,659 U.S. military personnel, and 977 U.S. civilians.

All of the CCMR's programs emphasize three main goals:

* First, consolidate and deepen democracy with particular reference to national defense and the armed forces

* Second, increase the effectiveness of the armed forces in fulfilling the multiple roles and missions assigned to them by their democratically elected civilian leaders

* Third, seek success in the most efficient manner possible at the lowest possible cost

While these goals apply to all of its programs, the CCMR has a number of different programs tailored for specific purposes in response to changing world conditions and emerging requirements. …

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