The United States has never grappled with the degree of civil-military dysfunction that many other nations have faced. The threat of a military coup has never been a significant concern. Yet civil-military friction is intrinsic in the compromise between the nation’s republican nature, which insists on civilian control and military subordination, and the existence of a standing federal military force.
Defense Reform Survey As interest in major reforms to the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act has grown, the CSIS International Security Program has decided to create a survey to gauge public opinion on the primary contemporary problems facing the defense establishment. The survey is now closed. View the survey results
The perceived need for reform is in the interagency coordination process has increased over the years. Yet, the way forward is complicated by a constitutional fault line. This piece assesses challenges in the interagency process, the national security staff, and a possible way forward for improvement.