Which is an Example of Civilian Control of the Military?

Written by

John Cotton


Logan Miller

which is an example of civilian control of the military

Civilian control is the core of democracy that advocates civilian supremacy over military forces. Which is an example of civilian control of the military?

An example of civilian control is when an appointed civilian leader acts in authority when giving opinions, policies, and goals to military officials. Then, military officials will have to acknowledge and put in place specific plans that involve the direction of civilian leaders.

To discuss civilian control and what it means, continue reading this article.

Civilian Control


By definition, civilian control or civilian supremacy holds the power to make decisions about how the military should go to elected civilian leaders rather than military officials.

In other words, civilians and the military in control must agree to make certain decisions. A civilian army leader is the elected official to implement civilian military force.

He or she is in charge of deciding that democratic representation over the military is established.

  • Whether the country decides between waging war, military defenses, promoting peace, or any military operations, civilian leaders must give their approval and opinions. This is a good example of exercising democracy in a country.

Why is Civilian Control of the Military Important?

Here are list of reasons regarding the establishment and importances civilian of the military:

  • Civilian control of the military is and always will be one of the foundations of the liberal democracy in the United States.
  • Civilian control’s purpose is to protect the nation against the abuse of military power and a threat to democratic governance. The military leader who is in control of the military will have to be efficient and to follow orders.

The military can be used as an instrument of dictatorship. So, the difference between civilian and military leadership can pose a risk to the legal system if it isn’t under control.

  • Civilian control helps the legislative branch with the decisions to declare war, to raise and support armies, and overall military control of government.

The relationship between military and civilian leadership is a crucial move to make the nation at peace.

The U.s. Presidents: How They Handled Military Vs Civilian Control.

The Constitution states that the President is responsible for the ultimate control of the military as the Commander-in-Chief. Also, it is subject to oversight by Congress and the courts.

Presidents of the United States can also exercise their authority to remove high-ranked military officials who violate or abuse the law. The dangers of a military not under civilian control are many.

Therefore, the nation’s stability and policies are established through the president’s act of control.

Here are list of instances where presidents exercised their control:

  • Abraham Lincoln – In November 1862, during the American Civil War, Lincoln removed George McClellan from his control of the Army of the Potomac. It is a result of McClellan’s failure to engage the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia after the Battle of Antietam.


  • Harry S. Truman – On April 11, 1951, he removed Douglas MacArthur from control in the Korean War. It follows MacArthur’s disobedience of the Truman administration’s official positions on how the war should be handled.


  • Barack Obama – In June 2010, Obama accepted Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s resignation from the Afghanistan War. With the reason that McChrystal made fun of various Obama administration officials, including Vice President Joe Biden.


This controversial story was published by Rolling Stone magazine.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the difference between civilian and military leadership?

Civilian leaders are responsible for democratic representation in the government. Military leaders, on the other hand, put more emphasis on teaching soldiers fighting skills and disciplined leadership.


Now, we have discussed what civilian control is and how it affects the country. The article also discussed which is an example of civilian control of the military.

The relationship between the military control of US and civilian leadership is one of subordination. It is the reason for giving the control of the military to a civilian.

The ultimate responsibility for the control of the military rests with elected civilian officials. Overall, civilian leaders must ensure the stability and well-being of the nation for the coming years.

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