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  Civil-Military Relations Panel
"Coming Soon: A Crisis in Civil-Military Relations?"
  This two-hour panel with distinguished scholars augmented CGSC instruction on the important subjects of civil-military relations and the role of the military professional in contemporary society.

The theme of this year’s panel, "Coming Soon: A Crisis in Civil-Military Relations?" was based on Professor Richard Kohn’s 2008 article on the potential for civil-military conflict in the next administration, regardless of who won the election.

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CGSC Student Blog   Click here to view the Command and General Staff College's Student Blog website on the lecture.

Panel Members:
- LTC Suzanne C. Nielsen, PhD, U.S. Military Academy, Moderator
- Dr. Richard H. Kohn, Professor of History, University of North Carolina
- Dr. Michael C. Desch, Professor of Political Science, Notre Dame University
- Dr. Mackubin Owens, Professor of National Security Affairs, U.S. Naval War College
- Dr. Nadia Schadlow, Senior Program Officer, Smith Richardson Foundation

Civil-Military Relations Panel Biographies:

Michael Desch

Michael Desch is Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame. He was the founding Director of the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs and the first holder of the Robert M. Gates Chair in Intelligence and National Security Decision-Making at the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University from 2004 through 2008. Prior to that, he was Professor and Director of the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky.

From 1993 through 1998, he was Assistant Director and Senior Research Associate at Harvard University’s John M. Olin Institute of Strategic Studies. He spent two years (1988-90) as a John M. Olin Post-doctoral Fellow in National Security at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs and a year (1990-91) as a Visiting Scholar at the Center for International Studies at the University of Southern California before joining the faculty of Political Science at the University of California, Riverside (1991-1993). He received his B.A. (With honors) in Political Science (1982) from Marquette University and his A.M. in International Relations (1984) and Ph.D. in Political Science (1988) from the University of Chicago.

He is the author of When the Third World Matters: Latin America and U.S. Grand Strategy (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993), Civilian Control of the Military: The Changing Security Environment (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999), Power and Military Effectiveness: The Fallacy of Democratic Triumphalism (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), co-editor of From Pirates to Drug Lords: The Post-Cold War Caribbean Security Environment (Albany: State University Press, 1998), editor of Soldiers in Cities: Military Operations on Urban Terrain (Carlisle, PA: U.S. Army War College, 2001), and has published scholarly articles and reviews in Foreign Affairs, International Organization, International Security, Survival, The Journal of Strategic Studies, Security Studies, Armed Forces and Society, Orbis, Joint Forces Quarterly, The Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs, World Policy Journal, The American Political Science Review, The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Mershon International Studies Review, Review of International Studies, and Ethics. He has served on the editorial boards and teams of International Security (board member), Security Studies, (board member, associate editor, and editor-in-chief), Perspectives on Politics (associate editor), and International Studies Quarterly (board member). He has published opinion pieces in The Christian Science Monitor and The American Conservative and appears frequently on radio and television. He has worked on the staff of a U.S. Senator, in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the Department of State, and in the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division of the Congressional Research Service. He has traveled extensively in Europe, the Former Soviet Union, Asia, the Middle East, and the Western Hemisphere.


Richard H. Kohn

Richard H. Kohn is Professor of History and Adjunct Professor of Peace, War, and Defense at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Born and raised in Chicago, he was educated at Harvard (A.B. magna cum laude, 1962) and the University of Wisconsin (M.S. 1964, Ph.D. 1968), has taught military history and national security affairs at City College of the City University of New York, Rutgers University-New Brunswick, Dickinson College, the US Army and National War Colleges, and was from 1981 to 1991 Chief of Air Force History and Chief Historian for the United States Air Force, responsible for providing historical advice and services to the Air Staff and Secretariat, and functional management of history as a staff function throughout the world wide Air Force. At Carolina, he has headed (1992-2000) the Triangle Institute of Security Studies, an inter-university and interdisciplinary consortium of faculty in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina interested in national and international security broadly defined, and has chaired (1992-2006) the Curriculum in Peace, War, and Defense, an undergraduate major in the same field in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences.

He has been a two term president of the Society for Military History (1989-1993), served on the Advisory Board of the US Air Force's Gulf War Air Power Survey and the Air University Board of Visitors, chaired the research and collections management advisory committee of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and the Board of Directors of the National Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History, and was a member of the National Security Study Group, a group of scholars and practitioners who assisted the US Commission on National Security/21st Century (the Hart-Rudman Commission) that reviewed American national security policies and institutions between 1998 and 2001. In 2003 and 2004, he was a consultant for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History on its “Price of Freedom” permanent exhibit on the American military experience. His honors include the Binkley-Stephenson Award of the Organization of American Historians, the Victor Gondos Memorial Service Award and the Samuel Eliot Morison Prize of the Society for Military History, Department of the Army Certificates of Appreciation for Patriotic Civilian Service, Department of the Air Force Organizational Excellence and Exceptional Civilian Service Awards, UNC’s John L. Sanders Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching and Service, and the Herbert Feis Award of the American Historical Association.

A specialist in American military history and civil-military relations, Kohn is the author or editor or co-author or co-editor of some ten volumes in the field, including Eagle and Sword: The Federalists and the Creation of the Military Establishment in America, 1783-1802 (1975) and The Exclusion of Black Soldiers from the Medal of Honor in World War II (1997), the report that resulted in the award of seven medals of honor to black soldiers of that conflict. His most recent book is an edited volume with Peter D. Feaver, Soldiers and Civilians: TheCivil-Military Gap and American National Security (2001), the result of a three year project investigating the differences between military and civilian attitudes and perspectives in the United States. His most recent writings have focused on contemporary civil-military relations, including “The Erosion of Civilian Control of the Military in the United States Today,” which won the 2002 Edward S. Miller History Prize of the Naval War College Review, and “The Danger of Militarization in an Endless ‘War’ on Terrorism,” Journal of Military History, 73(Jan. 2009):177-208. He is currently working on a study of presidential war leadership in American history.


Lieutenant Colonel Suzanne Nielsen

LTC Suzanne C. Nielsen, serving this year as the West Point Fellow on the National War College faculty, is Director of the International Relations and National Security Studies program in the Department of Social Sciences at West Point. During the first half of 2008, she served in Iraq as the Deputy Director of the Commanding General’s Initiatives Group. She has also served in the Republic of Korea, Germany, Bosnia, and on the staff of the Director of the National Security Agency. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, she holds an MA and a PhD in political science from Harvard University. Her dissertation, “Preparing for War: The Dynamics of Peacetime Military Reform,” won the American Political Science Association’s Lasswell Award for the best dissertation completed in the field of public policy in 2002-2003. She also holds an MMAS from the Command and General Staff College and was the Marshall Award recipient in 2003.

Her research interests also include civil-military relations and strategy. She has published a monograph, Political Control over the Use of Force: A Clausewitzian Perspective, as well as several chapters in The Future of the Army Profession and articles in Defence Studies, International Studies Perspective, Public Administration and Management, and Military Review. She is currently preparing, as co-author, the sixth edition of the widely used textbook American National Security, and is the co-editor of American Civil-Military Relations: The Soldier and the State in a New Era. Both books are forthcoming from Johns Hopkins University Press in 2009. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.


Mackubin T. Owens

Dr. Owens is Associate Dean of Academics for Electives and Directed Research and Professor of National Security Affairs at the US Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. He is also is also a Senior Fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) in Philadelphia, and editor of Orbis, FPRI’s quarterly journal. He specializes in the planning of US strategy and forces, especially naval and power projection forces; the political economy of national security; national security organization; strategic geography; energy security; and American civil-military relations. In addition to the core Naval War College course, he has taught electives on The American Founding, Strategy and Policy of the American Civil War, The Statesmanship of Abraham Lincoln, Sea Power and Maritime Strategy, Strategy and Geography, and US Civil-Military Relations. From 1990 to 1997, Dr. Owens was Editor-in-Chief of the quarterly defense journal Strategic Review and Adjunct Professor of International Relations at Boston University.

Dr. Owens is a contributing editor to National Review Online and a regular contributor to the New York Post, writing primarily on security affairs. His articles have appeared in International Security, Orbis, Armed Forces Journal, Joint Force Quarterly, The Public Interest, The Weekly Standard, Defence Analysis, US Naval Institute Proceedings, Naval War College Review, Marine Corps Gazette, Comparative Strategy, National Review, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Christian Science Monitor, the Jerusalem Post, St. Louis Lawyer, The Washington Times, The Claremont Review of Books, and The Wall Street Journal. He is co-editor of the textbook, Strategy and Force Planning, now in its fourth edition, for which he also wrote the chapters entitled "The Political Economy of National Security," "Thinking About Strategy," and “Strategy and the Logic of Force Planning.” He currently is working on a book for the University Press of Kentucky tentatively entitled Sword of Republican Empire: A History of US Civil-Military Relations.

Before joining the faculty of the War College, Dr. Owens served as National Security Adviser to Senator Bob Kasten, Republican of Wisconsin, and Director of Legislative Affairs for the Nuclear Weapons Programs of the Department of Energy during the Reagan administration. Dr. Owens is also a Marine Corps veteran of Vietnam, where as an infantry platoon commander in 1968-1969, he was wounded twice and awarded the Silver Star medal. He retired from the Marine Corps Reserve as a Colonel in 1994.

Dr. Owens earned his Ph.D. in Politics from the University of Dallas, a Master of Arts in Economics from Oklahoma University, and his BA from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He has taught at the University of Rhode Island, the University of Dallas, Catholic University, Ashland University of Ohio, and the Marine Corps’ School of Advanced Warfighting (SAW). He has been a program officer for the Smith Richardson Foundation, Senior Visiting Fellow at the Center for Naval Analyses and a consultant to the Los Alamos National Laboratory; Plans Division, Headquarters Marine Corps; and J-5 Strategy, the Joint Staff.


Nadia Schadlow

Nadia Schadlow is a senior program officer in the International Security and Foreign Policy Program of the Smith Richardson Foundation in Westport, Connecticut. Dr. Schadlow identifies strategic issues which warrant further attention from the U.S. policy community and manages and develops programs and projects related to these issues.

She began her career in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as a Presidential Management Fellow, where her last assignment was as OSD’s first country director for Ukraine. In that capacity, during 1991-95, she played a central role in the development of a denuclearization strategy for Ukraine.

Dr. Schadlow received a B.A. degree in Government and Soviet Studies from Cornell University and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the John Hopkins Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

Her dissertation, "War and the Art of Governance: The U.S. Army's Role in Military Government from the Mexican War to Operation Just Cause," examined thirteen cases of the U.S. Army's experiences with political and economic reconstruction. Her articles have appeared in Parameters, The American Interest, the Wall Street Journal, Philanthropy, and several edited volumes. She is also a frequent guest lecturer at West Point. Dr. Schadlow was appointed to the Defense Policy Board in September 2006.


Last Reviewed: March 30, 2009

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