|Title||Post-9/11 US civil-military relations and control of military strategy during Operation Iraqi Freedom|
Current understanding of the post-9/11 US civil-military power relationship is clouded by the existence of various competing propositions as to whether civilian policymakers, military leaders or a combination of both have had the greatest influence in determining military strategy in Iraq. Motivated by the empirical and theoretical deficiencies of the post-9/11 US civil-military relations literature, this thesis traces the evolution of the shifting power relationship between civilian policymakers and military leaders in the formulation and implementation of US military strategy during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and explores the circumstances within which different balances of civil-military power occur. Using the policymaking process as an analytical framework, OIF is deconstructed into a series of decision points from 2001 to 2008 and the relative balance of civil-military power is identified at each according to one of five variations: Civilian Dominance; Shared Dominance Civilian; Shared Dominance; Shared Dominance Military; or Military Dominance. Using both qualitative and quantitative research methods, the thesis tests and explores the importance of six independent variables in explaining variations in the relative balance of civil-military power: civil-military preference divergence; civilian assertiveness; military assertiveness; civilian unity; military unity; and information advantage. In presenting a comprehensive analysis of civil-military power relations throughout OIF, the thesis offers a more nuanced response to the question of who controls US military strategy and demonstrates which independent variables hold the greatest potential for explaining variations in the relative balance of civil-military power. Analysis of the relationships between the dependent and independent variables reveals associations of varying strengths, thereby both confirming and challenging a number of the assumptions contained within the existing literature. By rooting contemporary research in the broader study of US civil-military relations, the thesis provides empirical clarity to the post-9/11 period as well as offering theoretical insight into the civil-military relationship beyond the limits of OIF.