WHAT NORMS ARE AT STAKE WITH A RETIRED GENERAL AS SECDEF?

The fourth offering in this brief series is this article by Marybeth P. Ulrich and Noah C. Fisher. They examine the erosion of norms that has occurred with the nomination and confirmation of retired Army General Lloyd Austin as the Secretary of Defense. Austin’s confirmation is the third time that a waiver for the “cooling off” period has been granted, but perhaps more importantly the second in four years. Ulrich and Fisher appraise what impact this waiver may have and remind us that “norms that are not enforced cease to be norms, having lost the shared understanding that underpin them.” 

THE ROLE OF RETIRED SENIOR OFFICERS

This third offering in this brief series is by Jeff Baker. In it he examines the role of the retired senior military leader, generals and admirals, in the political sphere. Their participation in politics, even out of uniform, has long been considered taboo. Perhaps it’s time to re-look the benefits of decades of training, education and experience possessed by these skilled and seasoned leaders.

PRAETORIAN PROPENSITIES

The second offering in this brief series is this article by Todd Schmidt. He claims that the terms “apolitical” and “non-partisan” are often confused and misused. The reality of an apolitical, non-partisan military does not exist. Since the creation of the country the military of the United States has been intensely political, and many senior military professionals have been crucial members of political society. And thoughtful actions must occur to ensure the healthy rebalance of civil-military relations.

SHOULD THE MILITARY LEADERSHIP SPEAK UP ON PARTISAN POLITICS?

The first offering in this brief series is this article by Jovanna Davidovic. She posits that the simple litmus test of not appearing partisan as a way of determining whether or not to speak out as a military member is problematic. Rather, the content of the discussion is more important: racism is wrong, genocide is wrong, torture is wrong—regardless of the political actor or party professing the idea.

THEY REALLY READ IT FOR THE ARTICLES

Playboy magazine first hit newsstands in December 1953, so it was quite well established by the time the United States joined the conflict in Vietnam. Derided by a portion of the population as disgraceful smut, the common retort from the men who perused the sordid pages was “I just read it for the articles.” A […]