The Real Problem With The Civilian-Military Gap08:21
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Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to reporters about the Nuclear Posture Review as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen and Defense Secretary Robert Gates look on, at the Pentagon in 2010. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to reporters about the Nuclear Posture Review as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen and Defense Secretary Robert Gates look on, at the Pentagon in 2010. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

The civilian-military gap is real and our guest says it affects the relationship between the White House and the Pentagon and can lead to bad policies and incoherent strategies. The gap affects decision-making in Washington because some senior civilians in the White House don't understand the structure of the military. While at the Pentagon, some senior military officers forget there's any other way to run an organization.

Robert Gates, when he was Secretary of Defense, warned of the growing disconnect between the military and the rest of the country's population. Gates told students at Duke University that serving in the military is, increasingly, something "other people to do."

Rosa Brooks is a law professor at Georgetown University and a former senior adviser at the U.S. State Department. Brooks writes in Foreign Policy Magazine  that working together should have inspired familiarity, not contempt. But during her time at the Pentagon and the State Department, "I watched numerous interagency discussion devolve into exercises in mutual misunderstanding and frustration."

Guest:

  • Rosa Brooks, law professor at Georgetown University

This segment aired on August 9, 2012.

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