Under the leadership of Admiral Dennis Blair, and with a team of five regional co-authors, the Council for a Community of Democracies (CCD) is developing a handbook on the role of the armed forces in democratic transition that will serve as a knowledge base for military and defense officials. This project was conceived by Ambassador Mark Palmer, former Ambassador of the United States to Hungary and Vice President of the CCD Board of Directors. This handbook, entitled Military Engagement: Influencing Armed Forces Worldwide to Support Democratic Transition, will be a guide for governments to make democratic development a policy objective of military relations as well as a set of practical suggestions for embassies of democratic countries involved in the supervision and conduct of military-military relations.
After months of researching, writing and editing, the handbook is nearing completion and is on track to be published in spring 2013 in two volumes. Volume one, written by Admiral Blair, is a practical guide for officers supporting democratic developments. Volume two contains the case studies and regional chapters. The fourteen case studies examine the experiences of particular countries that experienced a democratic transition and highlight the role the armed forces played in the process. The principal investigators in this project have institutional connections to NATO, the Community of Democracies and other governmental and intergovernmental bodies that will promote wide and effective dissemination of this project. The following is a list of case studies that will be included in the handbook, arranged by region:
Africa – Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa
Europe – Hungary, Spain
Asia – Burma, China, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand
Latin America – Argentina, Chile, El Salvador
Middle East and North Africa – Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Turkey
On September 12 and September 20, CCD hosted two pre-launch events featuring Project Director Admiral Dennis Blair. Read about the events here.
On October 17-18, 2011, CCD President Robert LaGamma, CCD Project Director Admiral Dennis Blair, and CCD Board Member Daniel Puls travelled to Milwaukee, Wisconsin where Blair spoke to students from Marquette University, addressed members of the Milwaukee community, and gave an interview on Milwaukee Public Radio.
On October 17, Blair gave a public talk titled, “The Role of the Armed Forces in Democratic Development,” at Marquette University’s Weasler Auditorium. The talk focused on how the armed forces of established democracies can support democratic development around the world. Later that night, Blair spoke at a dinner sponsored by the Helen Bader Foundation to members of the Milwaukee community.
On October 18, Blair appeared on Milwaukee Public Radio’s Lake Effect program and spoke to host Bonnie North about his work with CCD and the Handbook. During the interview, Blair stressed the critical role of militaries in democratic nations to influence their counterparts towards democratization. Speaking on the development of the new Handbook project, Blair stated that there is currently no formalized procedure for these types of interactions and that military officers often view this type of influence as infringing upon diplomatic relations. Blair emphasized that these cross-national relationships were not intended for political motives, but rather as a mutually beneficial relationship. The spread of democracy would be advantageous not only for the formerly authoritarian nations, but for existing democracies as well. With no standardized training for military-to-military interaction to encourage democratization, the new CCD Handbook would act as a guide to allow effective engagement.
Blair’s visit was sponsored by the Helen Bader Foundation, and in partnership with Marquette University's Department of Political Science in the Helen Way Klingler College of Arts and Sciences and the Council for a Community of Democracies.
Blair speaking to students at Marquette University.
(Photos courtesy of Marquette University)
To read the press release from Marquette University, please click here.
To listen to Blair’s interview on Milwaukee Public Radio, please click here.
To view a preliminary Resource Guide for the Armed Forces and Democratic Transition Handbook, please click here.