Leadership by Example?

I am really excited to write about what the relationship is between U.S. presidents’
military history and how they used their forces while serving in office. Being from the Naval Academy, I felt almost obligated to write on something that involved the U.S. military. As an International Relations concentration at the Academy, I am also particularly interested in warfare and conflict between nation states, armed groups, and other bellicose organizations. One of the classes I am taking now, Politics of Irregular Warfare, particularly grabbed my attention because it brought to light to the stark differences in types of war, especially at the turn of the 21st century.

I think that studying how presidents have handled conventional warfare in the past and
what the transition/policy is toward the current situation will be fascinating, not only because it is something that I study, but will be a part of for the next few years of my life as well.

Some challenges I foresee in my research involve finding documents that state why
presidents specifically made the decisions that they did during times of war, or why they decided to, or not to, engage with non-conventional forces at one point or another. It will also be difficult to find people with first-hand experience that have worked with the presidents in the past on military decisions if I wanted to set up an interview.

I think that this research will be interesting to review once completed for both military
strategists and future politicians because they might be able to draw ideas on how to handle certain situations in times of war that were similar, or possibly completely different from decisions that were made by our past Presidents. More importantly however, this research will allow me to get a deeper understanding of our nation’s military and political structure; allowing me to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for big picture decisions that will allow me to lead sailors or Marines in a dutiful fashion down the road.

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2 Responses to Leadership by Example?

  1. aaronwbrown says:

    As an officer-in-training at a senior military college, I find this a very interesting topic. I am somewhat jealous I did not think of it first haha. I look forward to your research particularly since many of our presidents have had at least some form of military service.

  2. As another fellow cadet—albeit of a different institution—I, too, find this an interesting subject area. Good luck on your research; I’ll look forward to meeting you when we all hit DC in November!

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