Civil-Military Relations

Photogrpah of a U.S. Army soldier greeting local Muslim shoppers.

A U.S. Army soldier greets local Muslim shoppers as he hands out voter registration leaflets at the market place in Tojsici, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1997. (Photo by Sgt. Angel Clemons, U.S. Army. Image courtesy of the U.S. Department of Defense.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Spring 2003



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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

This course centers on mechanisms of civilian control of the military. Relying on the influential texts of Lasswell, Huntington, and Finer, the first classes clarify the basic tensions between the military and civilians. A wide-ranging series of case studies follows. These cases are chosen to create a field of variation that includes states with stable civilian rule, states with stable military influence, and states exhibiting fluctuations between military and civilian control. The final three weeks of the course are devoted to the broader relationship between military and society.

Related Content

Roger Petersen. 17.584 Civil-Military Relations. Spring 2003. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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