Military Review

US Military Professionals: An Inside Look

US Military Professionals: An Inside LookThe command staff of the American armed forces was formed on the basis of the British model and was formed by the end of the XIX century.

The scandal associated with the critical performance of US Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal against the administration of Barack Obama and his subsequent resignation attracted the attention of not only the US public, but also the Russian one. After all, in our country, as you know, very many people dream of creating the Armed Forces in the image and likeness of the armed forces of the United States. Not knowing, however, how the caste of military professionals overseas passed and how essentially its relationship with the political leadership of the state and its fellow citizens was and is not easy. That is why the editors of the "MIC" decided to publish a series of articles on this topic.

Professional military, represented mainly by the officer corps, in the Anglo-Saxon model of control of the armed forces, primarily the United States, Great Britain, Canada and Australia, occupy a specific, historically determined place. Some of the characteristics of the Anglo-Saxon officers, including the highest (generals), their positions in the system of social relations are typical of a similar social group in other states, while others are quite original, which is explained by the peculiarities of the development of specific countries in general and national armies in particular, as well as the mentality of the population, from which representatives, in fact, staffed professional personnel

According to European patterns, but with national specificity

The profession of an officer in the modern sense of its essence is a product of the XIX century. At the same time, it should be emphasized that the process of forming the officer corps as a community of military professionals, even in the advanced European countries at that time, proceeded at different rates, delays, and sometimes even intermittently.

In the Western scientific research literature, it is considered that, along with the rapidly progressing France in all respects, the greatest progress in the creation of the officer corps was provided in Prussia. It is here that, due to the peculiarities of the national character of the Germans and their aristocratic elite, the tradition and the so-called constitutional or legitimate design of the process, in which the king was recognized as a military ruler and the main authority in military affairs, were formed. Despite the ever-growing power and influence, the Prussian bourgeoisie was not able to challenge the existing military-aristocratic hierarchy. Thus, the country's army as a whole and the officer corps in particular were for a long time out of control from the beginnings of democratic institutions. The exception, which only confirmed the rule, was a short period in the middle of the XIX century, when the Minister of War was accountable to parliament in some minor matters, but to the monarch in the main issues.

In France, the formation of the officer corps was more difficult due to the protracted revolutionary events at the turn of the XVIII-XIX centuries and the constant entrapment of the commanding staff of the army, including primarily the generals, into the political struggle. Nevertheless, in the end, the French officer corps, although with some delay, took the form of an independent estate, in many respects similar in principle to Prussian.

In Great Britain, repeated attempts over the course of a number of centuries (sometimes successful, sometimes not) involving the army in the political struggle ended in the 19th century by ensuring the leadership of parliament in all major issues of the development of the country's armed forces and training officer personnel.

The prevailing British or, as it was later called, the Anglo-Saxon model of managing the state’s military organization formed the officers as a separate social group. This model was naturally transferred to the colonies of Great Britain, primarily North American ones, copied by the founding fathers of the USA and, inheriting with some lag the same problems as the former metropolis, nevertheless contributed to the final folding of the American national officer corps by the end of the 19th century. similar to European designs.

An essential feature in the emergence of a social stratum of professional military men in the United States was the so-called constitutional background, which in many respects determined the prospective mentality of the American officers. This is unprecedented civilian control over the armed forces in general and their top (generals) in particular. If the founding fathers of the United States and the authors of the American constitution initially did not even think about such a problem as the possibility of military withdrawal from the care of civil society with the general spirituality of the population who achieved independence through armed struggle, then as the officers separated into a separate caste, this problem began to emerge more and more clearly. The leaders of the young state came to the conclusion that it is necessary to separate powers in the control and management of the armed forces. It was believed that if the federal government monopolized power over them, then the relative independence of the states would be threatened; if the president monopolizes the control of the country's military machine, he will pose a serious threat to legislators, that is, to Congress. Therefore, control over the armed forces was gradually fragmented and, in a certain sense, “blurred” between all of the US government institutions.

Later, a number of specialists noted that the degree and quality of civilian control over the military is not at all dependent on the form of internal government in the state. Even in a country like the United States, it would seem, with well-established mechanisms for regulating internal political processes, emphasizes the well-known American scientist Samuel Huntington, “in principle, the military can“ undermine ”civilian control and gain greater political influence through existing democratic institutions in the country ... Under a totalitarian regime, on the other hand, the power of the military can be reduced to a minimum by including them in the appropriate politicized organizations that emasculate the professional essence and ethics of the government. erstva ". In this connection, with some nuances, the actual identity of civil control systems and its attendant problems in such antagonistic countries as the USA and the USSR is emphasized.

Wave, then tightening, softening, but constantly functioning, civilian control over the military in the United States until the beginning of the Cold War was a characteristic feature of American society, as well as the desire of individual branches of government to take a dominant position in the control and leadership of national armed forces. The specifics of the Cold War and the high tension of military preparations caused by it only exacerbated the struggle for this control and this leadership, sometimes involving the American officer corps and especially the generals directly.

After the end of the confrontation between the superpowers on an ideological basis and the recognition of the fact that the threats to national security did not diminish in the period following the disintegration of the USSR and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, American analysts have no choice but to admit that the complication of civilian control now requires over the military, on the one hand, and improving the professional qualities of the latter, on the other.

In principle, the fact of the formation of the profession of an officer with all the attributes inherent in her is one of the main achievements of the nineteenth century. It was from the era of numerous wars and conflicts with the participation of the anti-Napoleonic coalitions that the process of self-identification of officers began as a separate — incomparable with any of the civilian — social group, which (process) essentially ended only at the turn of the XIX-XX centuries. By and large, up to a certain time, a civilian who does not have special training could easily fulfill his duties as a commander, but also, as practice shows, only a short time. Then began the difficulties associated not only with insufficient knowledge of the nuances of military affairs, but also with the service itself, for which the ordinary civilian was not prepared in principle. But in a paradoxical way this did not at all contribute to the authority and popularity of the military profession, but on the contrary, as American military historian Robert L. Bateman stresses, even reduced military professionals to the lowest status in society.

The ideology of society and the officer corps

In the United States, the position of military personnel, the attitude of civil society towards them, especially military professionals and the generals, were determined and determined mainly by the ideology prevailing in the same society. The peculiarity of the American system of public and state preferences is in the symbiosis of the liberalism ideology prevailing here and the conservative nature of social ideals unconditionally perceived by all, reflected in the American constitution that has been stable for almost a quarter of a millennium. Since the United States declared independence in 1776 and throughout all critical periods of the development of the United States as a state, liberalism and conservatism have been and continue to be constant in American civil-military relations.

Liberalism as an ideology, the core of which is individualism, emphasizes the innate spiritual and moral dignity of man and thus does not accept the political, social and economic restrictions imposed on the individual freedom of the individual. Professional military due to the specificity of the service as part of the collective, strict military discipline can not disobey group interests and hence formally does not accept liberalism as such.

It should be emphasized that after independence was proclaimed and practically until the end of the four-year civil war in 1865, liberalism was not a totally prevalent ideology in the former North American colonies of Great Britain. Moreover, he was even in a depressed state in the southern states, where the internal political situation was distinguished by the brutality of the authorities and a much more weighty authority in the society of the institutions of coercion, therefore, respect for "people in uniform". The victory of the northerners and their rapidly spreading domination throughout the country, accompanied by the spirit of "liberal entrepreneurship", soon became the reason for the separation of the military with their conservative thinking into a separate group. At the same time, the ideals and philosophy of liberal business and individualism turned into ideals and philosophy of the whole nation, perceived by almost all other groups of American society.

The neglect of war labor that has developed since then logically could not but lead to the formation of the so-called military policy of liberalism, which was based on the ideas of isolationism in the international arena and a small-sized standing army. Moreover, the all-embracing liberalism of American society at that time began to acquire new, highly anti-war forms in the form of pacifism, which had become very popular. Moreover, the “naturalness” and “inevitability” of this process were noted by the American analyst Arthur Ekirch, who wrote: “Organized pacifism in Western civilization is a common movement of the middle class, and the United States as a typical middle-class country fully shared the pacifist principles.”

In the military, the word "pacifist" first acquired a negative, and then an abusive, insulting meaning. The professional militaries of their own seclusion began to perceive their own country as “the focus of individualism and universal commercialization”, far from the ethical standards of the officer environment. The American business community did little for military needs, hardly perceived the point of view, and harbored no respect for the military class. The latter answered him in return.

It was in those years, as a hero - defender of the nation, that American society began to impose the image not of a professional soldier, but of a civilian man, liberal in his views, by the will of fate and circumstances, who was forced to wear a uniform. This fact was noted by the well-known American historian Dixon Wacker, who wrote: “... all the great national heroes of America, perhaps, with the exception of George Washington, were liberals, and professional soldiers were simply not quoted as such."

In this regard, it is impossible not to emphasize another noteworthy fact. Among the numerous trends of American literature rich in talents, the anti-war novel is present as a separate one. The beginning of this trend in the United States was laid by the acclaimed world-wide works of Norman Meyer “The Naked and the Dead”, James Jones “From Now and Forever” and Herman Vuk “Mutiny on Cain”, released at the turn of the 40-50-s of the last century in the wake of understanding human tragedies as consequences of wartime cruelties. But it is noteworthy in this case that in all three novels that have become classics, the plots are formed around the confrontation of positive heroes - liberal intellectuals, who by the circumstances put on the military uniform, and their antipodes - autocratic soldiers, professional military, almost openly sympathizing with the totalitarian opponent in the war. Naturally, sympathy for the military in American society did not increase after that.

All this led to the fact that, as Huntington warned, Western liberal society, due to established traditions, was unable to support the military.

Nevertheless, these findings seem to be some politically colored exaggeration, if we start from historical traditions of the same American society and take into account the fact of the second constant emphasized by American analysts in civil-military relations in the USA, that is, conservatism, the ideology of those who are committed to established, habitual, strict observance of customs and traditions.

Of course, one cannot deny the fact that after the American civil war, ideologically, the US military as part of society and society as a whole, according to Huntington’s apt expression, “started moving in different directions” and that military professionals stubbornly continued not to perceive liberal values. But with the dominance of liberalism in American society, he was by no means the only ideological trend that bordered all aspects of the life of this society, otherwise the military could not exist and develop, often without following and even contrary to liberal ideals.

Conservatism, in particular, and perhaps mainly American, as the domestic researcher VN Garbuzov believes, “is a continuously changing phenomenon ... But by absorbing various concepts, theories, and even the psychology of the masses, conservatism acquired contradictions, internal the heterogeneity and incompleteness of their theoretical positions ... "For all that, it is essential that it is American conservatism in all its forms and manifestations, according to some Russian analysts, not b Duchi too stiff opposition in the American liberalism, shared and continues to share the core values ​​of military ethics, and even considers it one of the manifestations of realism.

Since the birth of American conservatism by the writings of one of the influential founding fathers of the United States Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) and his followers, as well as the surge and popularization of this ideology in the late XIX, and then in the middle of the twentieth century in the form of so-called neogamiltonism principles of military ethics military thinking and the overall lifestyle of military professionals remained the cornerstone of American conservatism. All subsequent prevailing trends of this ideology, including the “new right” (60-s) and “neo-conservatives” (70-80-s of the XX century), being the ideology of the official opposition or the next political group in power, always ranked among the priorities national security interests and, accordingly, the need for increased military spending, and hence the full support of military professionals. This naturally could not fail to arouse sympathy in the widest circles of the American military.

Samuel Huntington points to the fact that the main distinguishing feature of an officer as such was and is motivation in the sense that he is driven in his work not by material incentives and remuneration, but by love for his profession, obliging him to devote himself entirely to serving society and the country, within which this society is formed. But for its part, the society also has to assume formally or informally the obligations to maintain the officers in a form sufficient for them to fulfill their functional responsibilities for his (society) organized protection, and a decent existence after retirement.

In a natural way, the officer corps became a nominally bureaucratic profession and at the same time a bureaucratic organization. Within the framework of the profession, levels of competence began to differ depending on the hierarchical ranks (titles), and within the framework of the organization - depending on the system of established posts.
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