The U.S. military is to a certain extent a microcosm of the population it serves. While this ensures that the military includes the best characteristics of society, it also means that the military must contend with societal challenges as well. Political polarization among the citizens of the United States is higher than it has been in decades, and that has implications for a representative military. Michael Robinson is in the studio to discuss his study of the phenomenon and the potential politicization of the military ranks. He joins host Carrie Lee for a conversation about his book, Dangerous Instrument: Political Polarization and U.S. Civil-Military Relations. This is the second episode in our special series supporting the U.S. Army War College’s Civil-Military Relations Center.
It’s probably fair to say that there are a number of ways in which we are observing the military more in a partisan political spotlight than we did in years past. This isn’t to say that this is purely an artifact of the last decade of American politics. Like most things, it has been a slowly evolving trend.
Michael A. Robinson is an active-duty Army strategist and researcher in civil-military relations. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and is a former Assistant Professor of International Affairs at the United States Military Academy. He holds a PhD in Political Science from Stanford University and is the author of the book Dangerous Instrument: Political Polarization and U.S. Civil-Military Relations (Oxford University Press).
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 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.
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, Department of Defense or Department of State.
Photo Credit: Ted Eytan/Creative Commons