By Eugenio M. Gonzales
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Extra resources for Building and Managing Endowments: Lessons from Southeast Asia
2 From these preliminary considerations we can derive a deﬁnition of civilian control. The point of reference is the distribution of decision-making power between elected civilians and the military: Under civilian control ‘civilians make all the rules, and they can change them at any time’ (Kohn, 1997: 142). This means that civilians have exclusive authority to decide on national politics and their implementation. Under civilian control, civilians can freely choose to delegate decision-making power and the implementation of certain policies to the military while the military has no decision-making power outside those areas speciﬁcally deﬁned by civilians.
Because military dominance over decision-making areas guards them, by deﬁnition, from civilian inﬂuence and oversight, weak civilian control necessarily leads to an erosion of horizontal accountability, and even if civilian institutions exist in those areas, they do not constitute effective counterweights and boundaries to the military’s political action. It is therefore only when civilians wield actual 40 Conceptual and Theoretical Perspectives inﬂuence in all policy areas that the civilian parts of the executive can check the military, and the legislature and judiciary, in turn, can check the civilian and military segments of the executive.
This disaggregation allows for a differentiated and nuanced assessment of the extent of civilian decision-making power in each of these areas, as well as a comprehensive evaluation of the overall patterns of civilian control. Full-ﬂedged civilian control, at least in principle, requires that civilian authorities enjoy uncontested decision-making power in all ﬁve areas, while in the ideal-type military regime, soldiers dominate all areas. The reality in many emerging democracies, as well as in other regime types, is often more ambiguous and is characterized by spheres of overlapping or shared authority, zones of contestation between civilians and soldiers, the delegation of responsibilities, and informal networking between military ofﬁcers and civilian elites.
Building and Managing Endowments: Lessons from Southeast Asia by Eugenio M. Gonzales