The Engine Room of Democracy

By Center for Strategic and International Studies

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America has an unusual history. It did not begin with ethnic homogeneity or a long, shared cultural history. It began as a set of ideals enshrined in our Constitution and the Bill of Rights. In “The Engine Room of Democracy,” CSIS President and CEO John J. Hamre discusses with former government officials and policymakers how the fundamental ideals in our constitutional democracy are applied every day and why these ideals should remain the bedrock of our society.

Episode Date
How Military Forces Operate in Lawful International Police Operations
Michelle Howard is a pioneer. She graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and rose to become a four-star admiral and vice chief of naval operations. In one of her professional assignments, she led Combined Task Force 151, which was organized to confront and eliminate pirates operating in the Gulf of Aden. Michelle discusses how U.S. military forces operate in police actions under lawful international authorization.
Aug 05, 2020
How Democracies Manage and Control Military Forces
Jim Dubik is a retired senior officer from the United States Army. A retired three-star officer, in his last job Jim worked with Iraqi military forces to explain how civilian control works in real life. In this session, Jim discusses the critical question of how democracies control military establishments. By definition, military organizations are authoritarian rule-based organizations that operate in secret and have guns. This session examines how democracies control military establishments and advance democratic principles.
Jul 29, 2020
How Democracies Go to War
Host John Hamre interviews Stephen Preston, a senior lawyer in Washington. In government service, Stephen was the head lawyer for the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Defense. In this episode, Stephen discusses how democracies authorize the use of lethal force and how democracies control military and covert activities once initiated. This is a special challenge for democracies where the use of force must be consistent with democratic principles. Stephen offers a powerful tutorial on this vital dimension of American democracy.
Jul 22, 2020
Managing Policing and Justice in America
Jamie Gorelick has held senior positions in government, as general counsel in the Department of Defense and as deputy attorney general. In this session, she discusses the complex and dynamic relationship that binds police, prosecutors, and courts. Democracy depends on clear rules and institutions that implement the rules. Each institution confronts controversy and challenges. Jamie offers an intriguing insight into this foundational function in American democracy.
Jul 15, 2020
Rule OF Law vs. Rule BY Law: How the U.S. Constitution is Designed to Protect the American Citizenry
In this first episode, host John J. Hamre speaks with Suzanne Spaulding, director of the Defending Democratic Institutions project at CSIS. Suzanne is a lawyer, and had served as chief clerk of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and later as undersecretary in the Department of Homeland Security. Their conversation examines how established institutions and procedures keep government agencies accountable to its citizens. This process is especially important for intelligence organizations that operate in secrecy. Suzanne offers a powerful tutorial on one of the foundation stones of our democracy.
Jul 07, 2020