• Does it worry anyone else that the two highest-ranking decision makers in the armed forces, the President and the Secretary of Defense, are not even in the military? Further, they dont even need to have any military background.
    This seems ludicrous to me. It is possible that this has been considered by some wiser than I, and deemed the best feasible method, but it seems ridiculous.
    You have civilians with no military background, and no firsthand knowledge of the battlefield or conditions, making important strategic, tactical, and logistical decisions. Its absurd if you think about it.

  • Moderator

    Technically there not on the battlefield… there operating the polotics of war and deciding where the main attack will be… there not stupid, and I bet they know some military skill…


  • Couple of things.

    I think it is important for the President of the United States to remain a civilian position. We all know what happens when that switches to a military position.

    The Secretary of Defense however, really should be a member of the armed forces. I think the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs is a better example of what the Secretary of Defense should be.


  • Agreed. Also, the President gets his knowledge from the Joint Chiefs - he is never “uninformed” of the situation.


  • no, he is not “uninformed”. but i would rather have the commanding general make the decisions than the president. Remember Vietnam? one of the major problems on our side was Washington trying to run the war from Washington. They were very uninformed as far as the war went, and made ridiculous strategic decisions. also, case in point, Desert Storm. The president has advisors, but many of them are also civilians. they do not know what they are truly talking about, yet try to control the war. its ridiculous. and yanny, i wasnt saying make the president a military officer, though i dont think its necessarily a bad idea. mostly, i was talking about making the commander in chief a military role, not a civilian one


  • Desert Storm? What mistakes were made here?


  • Creating a seperate office to have Commander in Chief power?

    Big mistake

    Sorry, that causes what we like to call, military take overs.


  • No, It Doesn’t.


  • These posts must remain civilian.

    Pehaps your critique was meant in the spirit that Pres. Bush and
    Sec. Rumsfeld weren’t military folk.

    Both were pilots:
    Pres. Bush was an Airforce Nat. Guard Pilot during the
    Vietnam Era.

    Sec. Rumsfeld was a Naval Aviator in the Late 50’0s.


  • Creating a seperate office to have Commander in Chief power?

    I think this only meant during wartime…


  • i beleive that he meant that they have little or no military experience.

    i dont beleive that the prez should be a military position at all, but i do beleive that the prez should have served in the armed forces for a time. and come war time i think that the military should be directed by the military, and not a civilian prez.


  • Jake-
    You are entitled to your opinion certainly. I’d like to point out that
    The President of the US has always been the Commander in Chief of the Military. IMHO it would be pointless to change that.


  • Does it worry anyone else that the two highest-ranking decision makers in the armed forces, the President and the Secretary of Defense, are not even in the military? Further, they dont even need to have any military background.
    This seems ludicrous to me.

    Yes, it is ludicrous, but logic and the military are not necessarily on speaking terms.

    You have civilians with no military background, and no firsthand knowledge of the battlefield or conditions, making important strategic, tactical, and logistical decisions. Its absurd if you think about it.

    I don’t know how you see it like that, but okay. From what I can see, the prez’s job as CinC is largely ceremonial, and the SecDef likewise has little say over the decisions you mention.

    The Secretary of Defense however, really should be a member of the armed forces

    Should have been, perhaps. I understand that a certain amount of mil. knowledge is necessary, but if you get someone in uniform for a long time, they start to forget what it’s like being a civilian.

    Remember Vietnam? one of the major problems on our side was Washington trying to run the war from Washington.

    Actually, the military command in that war did not have the correct mindset, from my readings on it.


  • i wasnt speaking in regards to any particular president, just in theoretical terms. like most things, its not always a problem, but the idea just seems ridiculous to me. as to GI’s point about vietnam, my readings said the opposite of yours, so there you go.

  • '19 Moderator

    Excelent Post SUD

    To put it simply, the military is a branch of the government. The head of the government can’t be an expert on every thing that the government does. That is what the cabinet is for and that is why the joint chiefs of staff live in Washington.


  • Well, technically speaking, commanding all the armed forces of an entire country seems like a military position to me, but maybe I’m wrong. 😉 It’s not like GW is in the Oval Office deciding logistical decisions about where to send troops. There’s Generals and Admirals that do that nitty-gritty stuff. GW’s primary role comes down to (i believe) simply giving the OK to go ahead with the plan. How does he come to those decisions? He consults with people who are in the military…


  • the problem arises from just that, the politics of it. the president often follows the advice of his advisors, and his advisors are not all military personnel. as well as the decisions are made from a political standpoint. it may be a good political decision, but politics should have no place on the battlefield.


  • @Janus1:

    the problem arises from just that, the politics of it. the president often follows the advice of his advisors, and his advisors are not all military personnel. as well as the decisions are made from a political standpoint. it may be a good political decision, but politics should have no place on the battlefield.

    and vice versa - a militarist should have no place determining public policy.


  • good call CC. But Janus, there are not civilians making logisitical decisions concerning military matters, that’s left to the military experts (appropriately named).


  • @Janus1:

    it may be a good political decision, but politics should have no place on the battlefield.

    Looks like somebody’s forgetting their von Clausewitz:

    @von:

    War is the continuation of politics, by other means.

    In other words, when diplomacy fails, send in the grunts. 🙂

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