PUBAFRS 2630 – Contemporary Civil-Military Relations in the United States


WELCOME TO PUBAFRS 2630! This semester we explore the relationship between Americans and their military. By most estimates, less than 0.5 percent of Americans serve in uniform on active duty, but between 15 and 20 percent of the population are military veterans. We’ve heard about how Americans do not understand about what life is like in the military; of equal importance is the struggle many veterans experience trying to integrate with society after their time in uniform has ended. Only in the last century has the United States experienced such a gap with the development of a standing military staffed by career professionals.

COURSE LEARNING GOALS: Beyond the course objectives listed below, the vision for this course is to connect Americans with their military—to build mutual understanding between military and civilian experiences. As a member of the American public, you have a say in what the military looks like and how it engages with the world. That assumes you know what questions to ask and can engage in fruitful conversation about military and veterans policy. This course aims to help you do that, whether you’ve spent any time in uniform or not.

COURSE OBJECTIVES: Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

1. Know how the military is organized and the role of the active, reserve, and National Guard components.

2. Know the fundamental elements of national security policymaking and how military strategy translates to the men and women executing it.

3. Understand the role of the military in American society, both historically and today.

4. As someone without military experience, understand how to engage someone with military experience or who supports the military or veterans programs.

5. As someone with military experience, understand how to engage Americans in a way that represents the armed forces accurately and builds a relationship.

6. Understand select domestic and international security issues that affect all Americans.

7. Understand how the Department of Defense and industry work to develop and field military capabilities.

8. Given knowledge of military organization and a primer on policy analysis, evaluate a policy for effectiveness and develop an improved alternative.