Key determinants of civil-military relations

A main update of the post-liberal peace and security normative framework was the replacement of the exclusively top-down (liberal) approaches with a hybrid model of governance (Luckham and Kirk 2013: 7; see also Mac Ginty 2011; Bagayoko et al. 2016) underpinned by ‘normative pluralism’ (Riches 2017), as discussed in depth in Chapter 2. ‘Normative pluralism’ is operationalised as a variety of multidimensional processes involving a multitude of interdependent actors, mechanisms, dynamics and relationships and both formal and informal types of interactions. These hybrid interactions are assumed to take place between “rational actors motivated by claims to power, justice, entitlements and welfare” and result in “dynamic change and transformation” (Visoka 2017: 308, 319). The outcomes of these interactions are strongly influenced by “contextual dynamics of negotiation, co-optation, domination, resistance, assimilation and coexistence” as well as “everyday practice” (Visoka 2017: 308; see also Visoka 2015). Hybridity, with its sensitivity for complexity and the multi-layered structure of social and political systems, is also advocated by the theories of institutional change (Redmond 2005: 501-3). As discussed in Chapter 3, the processes of military change and transformation can occur through the processes of emulation and diffusion during interaction with other armies or civilians. Interaction between civilian and military actors becomes thus important, as “if an important institution undergoes changes, other institutions are subject to realignment”, “adjustment”, “adaption” or “integration”. Interaction thus matters and needs to be examined closely, particularly during processes of democratisation of security and defence institutions in fragile and insecure countries, given that they are more exposed to uncertainty, instability and asymmetric information. The previous chapter assessed the impact of nonstate actors on democratic security reform processes. To grasp the dynamics of interaction and interplay between civilian and military actors in difficult security environments, this chapter examines the factors and determinants that can influence these hybrid processes. Identifying the conditions under which a positive impact can be achieved is directly linked to the objective of this study, as knowing the factors that influence civil-military cooperation is relevant for both military institutional change and transformation as well as for streamlining the role of non-state actors in these processes.

The nature of civil-military relations is the result of a complexity of factors and intervening variables and the interaction between them. This book does not claim exhaustivity or causation in a Hempelian covering law or Popperian hypothetico-deductive sense. This chapter seeks to uncover the determinants (drivers) that can influence the nature and circumstances of civil-military interaction and civil-military relations more generally, based on survey responses and coded interview data. The empirical evidence revealed a systematic pattern of perceptions in relation to the influence of the following determinants (see also Baciu 2019):

  • • Strategy;
  • • Funding type;
  • • Government and institutional capacity;
  • • Political parties;
  • • Media.

The strategy/vision of civilian actors (e.g. NGOs), government and institutional capacity, political parties and media were found to play key intervening roles in civil-military relations in general. Foreign funding was found to be both a facilitator and an impediment of NGO-military cooperation.

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