What determines the subordination of the military to civilian control? Existing scholarship has neglected the power structure within which relations between the military and civilians are embedded. Addressing this oversight, this article theorizes that civilian control of the military is influenced by two relations of exchange: (1) the republican exchange, wherein the state provides its citizens with rights in exchange for their military sacrifice; and (2) the control exchange, in which the military subordinates itself to civilian rulers in exchange for resources the state provides. If both relations of exchange are in equilibrium, civilian institutions can establish firm supremacy over the military. This article examines the causes and consequences of disequilibrium. It concludes that disequilibrium in the republican exchange can undermine the control exchange and civilian supremacy over the military. Applications and implications of the theory are developed through examples from the United States and Israel.
- Civilian control
- Republican exchange