Should the military help politicians instead of just obeying them ?


"You don't have the ability of soldiers and their civilian counterparts on the ground to give political feedback and tailor the policy because that is not their job in that paradigm. So civil-military relations are going to have to evolve quite fundamentally to accommodate that, and that's going to require making a distinction between politics, the constitutional aspect, and policy and the military should stay out of the former for sure, but should definitely be involved in the latter."  (Emile Simpson - Radio Interview)

Using  Emile's approach, politicians should work with the military to develop policy that achieves the governments desired political end result, and to give continual feedback as the policy is implemented about improved tactical and strategic options.  This is what is referred to as politicization of the military - involvement in policy development to support political ends.

For instance in relation to the relatively minor military problem of securing our borders against illegal immigration, politicians have tended to give the military a set of instructions about both strategy and tactics.

Controlling the strategic narrative, both within and outside Australia, is crucial to the success of this policy. Therefore, the military has a key roll in helping to develop policy, strategy and tactics that create, influence and control information flow to achieve the desired political outcome.

For example, as in south west asia, we might have provided cash and equipment to various "players" to get them to "act" in certain ways.  The Australian military may involve itself in tactics such as: direct incentives to Indonesian military and political connections to catch "smugglers" before they leave;  being more "efficient" in catching immigrants at sea before they reach international waters;  agreeing to receive immigrants back into Indonesian custody if they are picked up in Indonesian waters by the Australian navy etc.

When a new government is elected, it may also become necessary, as in the rest of the public service, to remove some current heads both as a "communication" to the military about who is the new boss, and as a method of ensuring more sympathetic minds for the new policy development.

In short, Emile's thesis seems to welcome a military that is inherently more politicized than Huntington's in recognition of a new world which, although no more complex on the ground, is immensely more fragmented and accelerated in cyberspace.

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