Trouble at the War College


I’ve been impressed that throughout the disastrous Bush years, the US Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute has continued to host work by scholars who’ve been critical of the Bush administration — in some instances (Jeffrey Record) scathingly so. But according to Tom Ricks (via Farley and Klein) things aren’t going so smoothly.

An SSI clampdown would be very bad for the country. Effective government requires serious, professional, independent research. The US political system, to be frank, often doesn’t provide very effective government. But our military is an important exception to that trend. Much more like a Northern European civilian agency, the military is well-funded, well-regarded by the public, and enjoys high morale. The senior managers in the military are career professionals — the generals and admirals — and though ultimate authority rests (as it should) with civilian politicians, there’s a strong sense (as there should be) that the military should be engaged in autonomous, proactive thinking about its enduring mission. The Strategic Studies Institute is part of that system of rigor and professionalism and it’d be a very bad sign for its integrity to be compromised.