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January 4, 2018 at 5:07 pm

Trauschweizer on The Conversation: Should Military Men Draft Nation’s Security Strategy?

Dr. Ingo Trauschweizer

Dr. Ingo Trauschweizer

Dr. Ingo Trauschweizer authored “Should military men draft nation’s security strategy?” on The Conversation, and his article was picked up by UPI.

Trauschweizer is Associate Professor of History and Director of the Contemporary History Institute at Ohio University.

President Donald Trump greeted the new year with an angry tweet about U.S. ally Pakistan.

Among other things, the tweet accuses Pakistan of giving “safe haven to terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan.” The Pakistani prime minister responded that the tweet was “completely incomprehensible.”

While the subjects of Trump’s tweets are often erratic, this one didn’t come out of nowhere. The Pakistan tweet followed just weeks after Trump unveiled his administration’s National Security Strategy – a document presidents have provided to Congress since the 1980s.

The 2017 National Security Strategy includes the statement that the “United States continues to face threats from transnational terrorists and militants operating from within Pakistan.”

Indeed, it’s possible that the president’s bellicose tweet was inspired by this document – which also happens to be the first National Security Strategy ever shaped primarily by two generals. The office of Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, coordinated the drafting of the document with the secretary of defense, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis. While military men have served as secretary of defense and national security adviser before, this is the first time both positions are filled by generals at the same time.

I’m currently researching yet another general – Maxwell Taylor – who was engaged in comparable strategy reviews during the 1960s. Taylor was a former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, ambassador to South Vietnam and adviser to John F. Kennedy.

Thinking about Taylor’s struggles back during the Cold War led me to approach this year’s security document with one main question: Could two military men succeed as the nation’s primary authors of strategy?

Read the rest of Trauschweizer’s article on The Conversation.

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