Healthy relations between America’s civil and military populations depend upon the mutual trust, respect, and understanding between civilian and military leaders. This promotes the exchange of candid views and perspectives as part of the decision-making process.
While the military must have a voice in developing strategy, the military must also realize that politics permeates the conduct of war and that civilians have the final say, not only concerning the purposes of any military operations but also how those operations are conducted. On the other hand, civilians must understand that implementing effective policy and strategy requires the proper military instrument and therefore must insist that soldiers present their views frankly and forcefully throughout the strategy-making and implementation process. This is the key to healthy civil-military relations.