A very unequal dialogue: NA/ASU FoW conference and civ-mil relations

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Media Outlet: Foreign Policy

Tom disagrees with my recent assessment that the recent New America Foundation/Arizona State University Future of War Conference underrepresented the uniformed military, resulting in a stunted, unbalanced product. In response, I’ll do three things; first, we’ll look at the numbers. Second, I’ll explain why this is imbalance undermines the conference’s efficacy. Third, I’ll get into some personal anecdotes that describe how these civil-military themes play out at the individual level. What a reader will find is that the civil-military gap is unacceptably wide in the intellectual sphere, and even the kindest expressions of gratitude cannot effectively bridge this expanse. My takeaway from the Future of War Conference: the military is to be thanked and not heard.

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Thomas Ricks is an ASU Future of War senior fellow at New America  He also is a contributing editor of Foreign Policy magazine, for which he writes the blog “The Best Defense.”