Monday, November 05, 2012

Civilian Expertise and Civilian-Military Relations in Latin America

An article of mine just appeared in Latin American Policy entitled "Civilian Expertise and Civilian-Military Relations in Latin America."

Even as the era of military rule in Latin America fades well into the past, empirical and theoretical questions about civilian–military relations remain highly relevant. For the first time in the region’s history, most governments have been working to manage civilian– military relations within a setting of democratic rule. This article is intended to contribute to the debate over the importance of civilian expertise in the relationship between Latin American civilians and the armed forces. Its main argument is that broader permanent defense-related civilian positions in government contribute the most to democratic civilian–military relations, whereas nonpermanent positions are also important but transitory and do not necessarily foster long-term democratic stability. The policy implication is that governments should focus on expanding the number of permanent civilian positions related to defense in both the executive and legislative branches.

The article came out of a talk I gave two years ago at the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies. The ideas had been percolating for a while, and then there was some really good discussion at that talk, the audience for which was largely military.


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