What should civilians know about defense? the civil-military relations perspective on information disclosure
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Scholars have debated the lack of incentives for civilians to specialize in defense topics in Latin America. Besides the absence of major conflicts in the region, they argue that politicians have no electoral benefits from raising this flag in their campaigns. However, between affirming that civilians do not need to know much about it or should be highly involved, essential questions have been forgotten: what should civilians know about defense? When civilians want to know, can they? The defense marketplace of ideas is perfect only theoretically. In reality, there might be civilian informational demands that are simply ignored, and at the same time, requests of disclosure that could harm important policies. Using Stepan's distinction between state, political society and civil society, this paper debates the types and depth of transparency required for each group of civilians to enhance and exert oversight of (1) civilian control, (2) military effectiveness, and (3) military efficacy.