Politics and the US Defense Establishment, Dr Anne Daugherty Miles (

POSC 325 COURSE OVERVIEW, T-Th 0800-0950, FALL 07 (as of 25 Aug 07)

Week Tuesday Thursday
1 1 (28 Aug)
Course Administration
Overview of Nat'l Security Establishment
2 (30 Aug)
Officer and Enlisted
2 3 (4 Sep)
Creation of the DOD
Overview of Defense Establishment
4 (6 Sep)
Recruitment, Training and Retention
Officer and Enlisted
Individual Augmentees
Guest Speaker
3 5 (11 Sep)
Civilian Control of the Military, CJCS and Unified and Specified Commands

Player Talking Paper (5 pts)
6 (13 Sep)
Congress, Oversight and Goldwater Nichols

Player Talking Paper (5 pts)
4 7 (18 Sep)
Congress and the Role of Staff
Guest Speaker
8 (20 Sep)
Total Force
Reserves, Guard, USCG
5 9 (25 Sep)
Guest Speakers
10 (27 Sep)
Guest Speakers
6 11 (2 Oct)
Civilians and Contractors
Issue Paper 1 (5 pts)
12 (4 Oct)
The V-22
Guest Speaker
7 13 (9 Oct)
Reading Day
Base Tour (Optional)
14 (11 Oct) Contractors
Guest Speaker
Book 1 Review (15 Pts)
8 15 (16 Oct)
Intelligence Community
Who Does What?
Player Talking Paper (5 pts)
16 (18 Oct)
Intelligence Community
Current Issues and Concerns
9 17 (23 Oct)
Midterm / Internet Exercise (10 pts)
18 (25 Oct)
Defense and the Media
Guest Speaker
Issue Paper 2 (5 pts)
10 19 (30 Oct)
Advising Day
20 (1 Nov)
Leadership and the DOD
Guest Speaker
11 21 (6 Nov)
Guest Speaker
22 (8 Nov)
Current Issues
Gays in the Military / The Draft
Issue Paper 3 and 4 (5 pts each)
12 23 (13 Nov)
V-22 Mock Hearing
Preparation (15 pts)
24 (15 Nov)
V-22 Mock Hearing
13 25 (20 Nov)
Frontline -- Iraq
26 (22 Nov)
14 27 (27 Nov)
Iraq and WMD
Guest Speaker
Book 2 Review (15 pts)
28 (29 Nov)
Iraq and Strategy
Guest Speaker
15 29 (4 Dec)
Homeland Security
Joint Vision 2020
30 (6 Dec)
Course Wrap-up
16 Final Exam (20 pts)

Course Objectives

Develop a deeper understanding for the role of:

  1. Force as an element of foreign policy – to include a discussion of the myriad of ways in which the capabilities of the U.S. military establishment impact White House decision making,
  2. The constitutional principle of civilian leadership over the U.S. military – to include a discussion of the Secretary of Defense and Service Secretaries, and basic organizational principles of the Office of the Secretary of Defense,
  3. Congressional oversight of the U.S. military and U.S. Intelligence Community – to include a discussion of the role of the House and Senate Appropriations, Armed Services, Intelligence and Homeland Security Committees and the importance of the budget process,
  4. Congressionally mandated “jointness” in today's military – to include a discussion of the Goldwater-Nichols legislation of 1986,
  5. The constitutional principle of separation of powers -- Congress versus the President as Commander-in-Chief,
  6. Basic organizational principles of the U.S Military Services and the U.S. Intelligence Community – to include a discussion of the Service Chiefs and the Director of National Intelligence,
  7. Services norms, recruitment and training – common customs and courtesies, rank and insignia…

  8. Organizational Cultures – to include its impact on Service perspectives, inter-service rivalry…
  9. Chain of Command – from its daily impact on individual behavior to the “big picture” aspect of how wars are fought and who reports to whom,
  10. Ongoing issues such as women in combat, gays, the draft, base closures, military operations other than war (MOOTW), the prisoner abuse scandal, contract soldiers, politicization of intelligence …
  11. The V-22 Osprey Program as a case study – what it demonstrates about – the acquisition process, “jointness” as envisioned by Goldwater-Nichols legislation, congressional oversight, future trends for military procurement, and so on.

Course Textbook:

Aesir Group. United States Military Power: DoD 101, 5th Edition, Las Vegas, NV: Aesir Group International, 2007.

Course Assigments


You will be assigned one of the following players to research (each student will have different players). (Not all of the following will be assigned.) You will discuss your players in the relevant class (see course overview). Research your player using the library and internet. Don't forget to check course materials available on Blackboard and on Library E-Reserve. Develop an understanding of that person's position and the person currently holding it. Has he or she been in the news lately? Why?

Develop a TALKING PAPER to summarize information about your player. Be sure to include the SOURCES you used to gather your information on your power point page.


  1. Come to classes 4.11. 18 and 22 prepared to discuss the pros and cons of 4 issues using a separate issue paper for each topic. You should have 4 separate documents to turn in. Do not combine topics into one issue paper. Though your issue paper should show familiarity with both sides of the argument, be prepared for a scenario in which you are allowed to argue only one side.

  2. Research your issue using the library and internet. Don't forget to check course materials available on Blackboard and on Library E-Reserve.
  3. Topics:
    1. Contractors in today's military establishment
    2. Defense and the Media
    3. Gays
    4. The Draft


  1. You will be assigned one of the following players in the V-22 Program to research (each student will have a different player). (Only highlighted ones will be assigned.) You will become your player in the mock hearing….
  2. Objective: The V-22 was chosen as a case study not only because it was tested at Patuxent River NAS, but also because it illustrates concepts such as jointness, the complexities of the congressional oversight process, the acquisition process, the role of contractors, the difficulties in developing, testing and evaluating new technology and other important aspects of today's DOD.

BOOK REVIEWS (15 points each)

Book Review 1: Choose a book that focuses on the military at the individual or unit (tactical) level.

Book Review 2: Choose a book that focuses on the military at the national (strategic) level.