April 21, 2024
The final episode of our three-part series on Afghanistan looks at rebuilding trust in the civil-military relationship. Twenty years of warfare presented a number of civil-military interactions, some positive and some detrimental, but the eventual collapse of Kabul after hearing time and again from the military that “this will be the year” we turn the corner, emptied the trust reservoir. Guest host and U.S. Army War College Fellow, LTC Ranjini Danaraj, is joined by LTG (retired) Doug Lute, the former U.S. Ambassador to NATO and Deputy National Security Advisor on Iraq, Afghanistan, and South Asia under both Presidents Bush and Obama, and Dr. Carrie Lee, the Co-Director of the Civil-Military Relations Center and Chair of the Department of National Security and Strategy at the U.S. Army War College. They have a thoughtful discussion on Afghanistan’s impact on civil-military relations. Their conversation reveals the vital aspects of a civil-military relationship, how politics are fundamental to the conversation, how to better integrate other elements of national power and the need to balance expertise with humility.

The final episode of our three-part series on Afghanistan looks at rebuilding trust in the civil-military relationship. Twenty years of warfare presented a number of civil-military interactions, some positive and some detrimental, but the eventual collapse of Kabul after hearing time and again from the military that “this will be the year” we turn the corner, emptied the trust reservoir. Guest host and U.S. Army War College Fellow, LTC Ranjini Danaraj, is joined by LTG (retired) Doug Lute, the former U.S. Ambassador to NATO and Deputy National Security Advisor on Iraq, Afghanistan, and South Asia under both Presidents Bush and Obama, and Dr. Carrie Lee, the Co-Director of the Civil-Military Relations Center and Chair of the Department of National Security and Strategy at the U.S. Army War College. They have a thoughtful discussion on Afghanistan’s impact on civil-military relations. Their conversation reveals the vital aspects of a civil-military relationship, how politics are fundamental to the conversation, how to better integrate other elements of national power and the need to balance expertise with humility.

It would be a good thing if it weren’t just DoD reporting to the HASC and the SASC right? It’d be much better to have State and Defense jointly reporting, ideally by way of joint testimony. I mean when’s the last time you had the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State seated at the table together on a project that requires civil-military coordination?

Carrie A. Lee is an associate professor at the U.S. Army War College, where she serves as the chair of the Department of National Security and Strategy and co-director of the USAWC Center on Civil-Military Relations. She received her Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University and a B.S. from MIT.

Ambassador Douglas Lute is the former United States Ambassador to NATO, 2013-17.  A career Army officer, in 2010 he retired from active duty as a lieutenant general after 35 years of service.  From 2007-13 he served in the White House, focusing on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

LTC (P) Ranjini Danaraj is a U.S. Army War College Fellow at Denver University. Her 21 years of service includes deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, Command of the 759th MP BN, and assignments at USNORTHCOM, the Joint Staff, and the National Security Council Staff.

The views expressed in this presentation are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Army War College, U.S. Army, or Department of Defense.

Photo Description: President Barack Obama meets with Army General Stanley McChrystal, the Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, aboard Air Force One in Copenhagen, Denmark on Oct. 2, 2009.

Photo Credit: Official White House photo by Pete Souza

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