Research event

Who are the civilians doing civilian control of the military? In East Asia, you might be surprised

A presentation by Stephen Saideman (Carleton University, Ottawa). This event is part of the CISP colloquium.

When scholars and policy-makers talk about civilian control of the military, they tend not to think seriously about which civilians.  While it is often taken for granted that the head of state and the defense secretary/minister are largely responsible for managing a country’s armed forces, legislatures can play significant roles.  In the European context, much effort has been spent on understanding the rules for deploying forces, but the granting of discretion is only part of the story.  The question of this study is whether and how legislators oversee the armed forces and how to the armed forces perceive this oversight.  The project started with two ends of the spectrum—the US and Canada.  The American Congress has great power over the US military so its potential oversight looms large in the minds of American military officers.  Canadian parliamentarians lack power and information, so they are rarely that relevant.  The larger study considers which one is more typical by examining sixteen or so countries.  This talk will discuss two East Asian cases—Japan and South Korea—that show that the threat environment far less influential than domestic institutions and incentives.

Stephen Saideman holds the Paterson Chair in International Affairs at Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs.  He is also the Director of the Canadian Defence and Security Network.  He has written four books: The Ties That Divide: Ethnic Politics, Foreign Policy and International Conflict; For Kin or Country: Xenophobia, Nationalism and War (with R. William Ayres); NATO in Afghanistan: Fighting Together, Fighting Alone (with David Auerswald); and Adapting in the Dust: Lessons Learned from Canada’s War in Afghanistan, as well as articles and chapters on nationalism, ethnic conflict, civil war, alliance dynamics, and civil-military relations.  Prof. Saideman has received fellowships from the Council on Foreign Relations and the Social Sciences Research Council.  The former placed on the Bosnia desk of the Strategic Planning and Policy Directorate of US Joint Staff for a year, and the latter facilitated research in Japan.  He taught previously at the University of Vermont, Texas Tech University, and at McGill University. He writes online at, Political Violence at a Glance, Duck of Minerva and his own site (   He is currently working on the role of legislatures in civil-military relations. He tweets at @smsaideman.