The Soldier and the State

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The Soldier and the State: the Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations is a 1957 book by Samuel Huntington, is one of the formative works in the field of military sociology. It begins by reviewing the characteristics of a profession, and develops the concepts of the profession of arms, and of civilian-military relations in different cultures. Huntington focuses on civil-military relations in democracies, where the military role is one of the dimensions of grand strategy, rather than situations where military opinions control national strategy.

Part 1, Military Institutions and the State

Officership as a Profession

Huntington limits his definition of professionalism to officers, but speaks of career enlisted men as members of a professional army. Not all military officers are, in his view, of the profession of arms -- a military surgeon is of a different profession. His concept of the professional officer is that the officer, as suggested by Harold Lasswell, is an expert in "the management of violence"; the officer's responsibility — professions are defined to have broad responsibilities — "is to the military security of his client, society."[1]

Noncommissioned officer (NCO) does not appear in the index, yet most advanced military forces regard their NCOs as essential professionals -- ones concerned with the preparation and performance of individuals while officers are concerned with the preparation and performance of units. Senior NCOs also mentor junior officers. [2]

The Rise of the Military Profession

The Military Mind

Power, Professionalism and Ideology

Germany and Japan

Part 2, Military Power in America (1798-1940)

The Ideological Constant

The Structural Constant

Before the Civil War

Creating the American Military Profession

Failure of the Neo-Hamiltonian Compromise

Constancy of Interwar Civil-Military Relations

Part 3, The Crisis of American Civil-Military Relations (1940-1955)


  1. Samuel Huntington (1957), The Soldier and the State: the Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations (1964 Vintage Edition ed.), Harvard University, pp. 14-15
  2. Leadership: Competent, Confident, and Agile, U.S. Army, October 2006, Field Manual (FM) 6-22, p. 3-3