Military Engagement

Influencing Armed Forces Worldwide to Support Democratic Transitions

Dennis C. Blair
Release Date: March 27, 2013

The response of an autocratic nation’s armed forces is crucial to the outcome of democratization movements throughout the world. But how can military officers and defense officials in democratic nations...

“Admiral Dennis Blair has written an important book on military relations and supporting democratic development… (he) writes on the subject of military-to-military relations and democratic development with extensive knowledge and well-deserved authority.”
from the Foreword by Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyona, President, Republic of Indonesia

Military Engagement makes the strong case for why the armed forces of any country should favor democracy and why, contrary to conventional wisdom, many military leaders have supported democratic transitions in different regions of the world. Further, it explains why military support, active or tacit, is essential to the success of any demo cratic transition. Blair provides incisive commentary on civil-military relations and outlines the foundational elements of armed forces in a democratic country. He presents sound advice to defense officials and military leaders in established democracies that can be put into practice when interacting with colleagues in both autocratic regimes and those that have made the break with dictatorship.

This succinct handbook analyzes democratic transitions in five major regions and surveys the internal power dynamics in countries such as Iran and North Korea, dictatorships that are hostile toward and fearful of democratic influences. Blair juxtaposes the roles, values, and objectives of military leaders in autocratic nations with those in democracies. In turn, Military Engagement highlights how crossnetworking with international military delegations can put external pressure on autocratic countries and persuade them that democracies are best not only for the country itself, but also for the armed forces. Volume one of this two-volume project provides the educational foundation necessary so that military officers from established democracies can raise their game in achieving effective dialogue on democratic development.

About the Author

Author: Dennis BlairDennis C. Blair
Four-star Admiral, Dennis C. Blair served as the U.S. director of national intelligence 2009-2010. A Rhodes Scholar, Blair is a thirty-four-year Navy veteran, retiring in 2002 as the commander in chief, U.S. Pacific Command.

From 2003-2007, Blair was president of the Institute for Defense Analyses, a non-profit corporation that manages federally funded national security research and development centers.


Learn more about Military Engagement (Volume Two: Regional Studies) »

You can also purchase the two volumes of Military Engagement as a set, for a discounted price.
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Dennis Blair served as the U.S. director of national intelligence 2009–2010. A Rhodes Scholar, Blair spent a career in the U.S. Navy, retiring in 2002 as the commander in chief, U.S. Pacific Command.