Chapter21-MilitaryPolicy - A.P. Civics Notes: Chapter 21...

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A.P. Civics Notes: Chapter 21 “Military Policy” I. The Structure of Defense Decision Making 1. There have been different perceptions of the military, ranging from brilliant to idiotic. 2. One view of the military holds it as a vital function of the federal gov’t, operating under majoritarian politics , while another holds it as a gigantic confused system that exposes innocent men and women to unnecessary hazards to satisfy client politics . i. According to the first view, everyone pays for protection provided for everybody; after World War II , the U.S. grew a large standing army because it recognized world threats. ii. The second view maintains that only the generals, admirals, big corporations, and the members of Congress whose districts get fat defense contracts are the only winners, and that the military- industrial complex , or the supposedly unified political bloc consisting of the Defense Department and industries that build military weapons, had too big of shares. 3. Citizens regularly desire to control the army (not the other way around), and the National Security Act of 1947 , which created the Department of Defense , headed by a secretary of defense who must be a civilian, helped to ensure this want. i. Under the secretary of defense are the secretaries of the army, navy, and air force (also civilians), which basically maintain the “housekeeping” functions of the various armed forces. ii. The four branches of the armed services cannot merge, thus preventing them from coming together and growing too politically powerful, and the result is desired competition. a. The navy and air force have argued over building aircraft carriers and fighter jets. iii. Congress didn’t want the armed forces to be unified, but being too autonomous was not good either, so in 1986, it passed the Goldwater- Nichols Act , which increased the powers of the officers but left the 1947 structure pretty much intact, revised, of course. 4. The Joint Chiefs of Staff is a committee of the uniformed heads of the four military services (army, navy, air force, Marine Corps), a chairman, and a nonvoting vice chairman, and while it has no
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command authority over troops, it is heavily involved in national defense planning. i.
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course USHIST 102 taught by Professor Smythe during the Spring '08 term at TCU.

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Chapter21-MilitaryPolicy - A.P. Civics Notes: Chapter 21...

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