The Permanent Militarization of America:Reforming the United States Military

The Permanent Militarization of America

The founders of our Republic were keen students of Republican Rome. In fact, many of our institutions were deliberately patterned on Roman ideals about the virtues of military service. By law, the Roman army was a militia force comprised of citizen soldiers who were required to perform military duties as a civic obligation, a public service, before they could run for political office. The Romans detested professional, standing armies because they represented an existential threat to the state. Even if you don’t know much about Ancient Rome, this question about the militarization of society remains a concern today, and there is ample evidence of an on-going and lively public discussion.

For example, in November of 2005, The New York Times published an op-ed, The Permanent Militarization of America (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (O’Connell) that warned citizens of the dangers inherent in the militarization of American society. The op-ed cited the abolition of the draft after the Vietnam War ended, which marked the rise of a professional, standing army in the United States. The author of this op-ed is a professor of American History at the U.S. Naval Academy who has written extensively on civilian-military affairs. The parallels with Rome are striking and have been the topic of heated debate by scholars, and in the press. Additionally, you will also review a second set of letters to the editor, The Role of the Military in our Society (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..

Now, for your task. You are a high-level strategy advisor to the President of the United States. The President has recent read this editorial (yes, it’s a 2012 article, but the President is busy and had some catching up to do) and has asked for your recommendations regarding how to alter the structure and role of the U.S. military so that it is more appropriate. You may make any recommendations that you desire. However, you should cite external sources to support your arguments, and should you do so, you must use traditional APA format. Beyond that, however, remember that you are not writing a paper but rather a briefing to the President of the United States on this important subject. The President wants to know what you think about this, and what you think we should do.

Therefore, to finish this assignment, complete the following steps:

  1. Read the Introduction and Chapter 1 of the textbook, introduce the concept of the military in society.
  2. Read this New York Times article: The permanent militarization of America (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..
  3. Read this response, which provides another perspective: The role of the military in our society (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..
  4. In one page, provide the President with detailed recommendations regarding how to reform the United States military to fix some of the concerns expressed by the first writer. You may suggest sweeping revisions, minor tweaks, or even argue that no changes need to be made. The choice is yours, but be sure that your case is well-reasoned, and supported by evidence from external sources.
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