Issue 4, Winter 2020
National Security: Is There Enough Room for Effective Military Advice?
Military advice is a fundamental element of the smooth functioning of the civil-military relations, but also the decision-making by the political leadership regarding the use of military power. Military advice is formulated and submitted within a defined institutional framework; it is addressed to the legally elected representatives of the state, who have the final decision-making power, which must be honest, non-partisan, and politically informed. In Greece, military advice is provided by the Chief of Staff in person and remains secret, while it is submitted within a dysfunctional system of command and control of the armed forces. It is basically one-sided from the Chief of Staff to the government, although there should have been the possibility of submission to the parliament as well, thus creating essential margins for control and accountability of the military by the parliament as well. The scope of the advice should be expanded with the participation of other actors of the military leadership, each in its field of responsibility, in order to strengthen the credibility and range of options of the political leadership. The review of the system of administration and control, as well as the change of culture in the field of civil-military relation, will expand the field and the quality of military advice.
Civil-military Deliberations for the Dispatch of the Greek Expeditionary Force to Korea in 1950
Greece actively participated in the Korean War (1950-1953) with the deployment of military and air forces. The decision-making process was carried out reluctantly and sometimes outside institutional frameworks. Interpersonal initiatives and contacts played a key role. At the same time, the internal political situation was fluid and the threat of a resurgence of the communist uprising or even the invasion of the troops of the northern neighboring countries was imminent. The cost of the participation of the forces in distant Korea also played an important role in the Greek hesitation, while the American positions on the Greek participation were initially contradictory, a fact that intensified the Greek hesitations even more. Examining and evaluating decision-making processes also reveals the general picture of politico-military relations in the early 1950s.
Turkish Strategic Culture and Its Impact on Greek-Turkish Crisis of 1976
Efstathios Koutsourakis and Themistocles Zanidis
The research question of this article is related to the analysis of the impact of the Kemalist strategic culture on the 1976 Greek-Turkish crisis. The argument is that this particular Greek-Turkish confrontation was not a deliberate strategic choice from the outset, as the Turkish Government had severe reasons to avoid tensions at the time. However, the Kemalist strategic culture, the main elements of which are the conviction that the country is located in a threatening geopolitical environment as well as the cultivation of nationalism, formed a peculiar socio-political framework which led Prime Minister Demirel to decide to send “Sismik I” to the Aegean for research. Demirel, thinking about the survival of his Government and given the Kemalist strategic culture-driven tendencies of Turkish public opinion, took actions to avoid being blamed for national perfidy.
Depth in the Contemporary Operational Environment
The evolution of the notion of operational depth followed the evolution of the operational level of war which is considered a revolution in military affairs. Its key role for operational planning as well as for the conduct of operations started surfacing during the First World War and its development continues up to current time. Turning point to that evolution was the designation of the domains that comprise it, with the cognitive one, being the most important. Its vastness allows for the conduct of synchronised operations that can lead the opponent to a state of operational shock by attacking the existing mental gaps throughout its breadth. The application of such concept presupposes an holistic approach towards depth which envisages it as one domain structured with the human being as its hub and the production of educated leaders who always maintain a critical approach to the operational issues they confront.
Lemnos in Hitler’s Mediterranean Strategy: Lessons from Operation Hannibal for the Importance of Straits and the Aegean
Lemnos, the largest and most important of the complex of four islands located at the mouth of the Dardanelles, derives its geostrategic value from its location and its history is directly linked to that of the Straits. Germany in World War II did not seek to occupy the Straits because Turkey’s neutrality was in her interest. But after turning her attention to the Mediterranean, and moreover when planning her campaign in the Balkans, Lemnos attracted the attention of even Hitler himself. The Germans planned to seize Lemnos with an airborne operation, at the same time as the land attack against Greece. Operation Hannibal did not take place eventually, because it was surpassed by the events of the rapid occupation of mainland Greece. Nevertheless, the planning of this specific operation provides us with useful lessons for the value of the Straits, the Aegean and Lemnos as well as airborne operations.
Issue 1 (3), Summer 2019
Civil-Military Relations in the Greece of Crisis (2008-2015) and the Dilemma of Guardianship
The economic crisis in Greece has caused Praetorian phenomena and conditions. This has created in the Greek governemtns a deep suspicion (in lieu of evidence) of a slippery slope towards military Praetorianism (i.e. Armed forces intervention in the political arena). In response to this situation, the Greek governments rejected the reinforcement of democratic political control and responded with total subjective political control, on the verge of authoritarianism, while also rejecting the “unequal dialogue” and applying an “authoritarian monologue”, breaking the political-military relationship. That took the form of discharges and replacements of leadership, as well as political intervention in the evaluation procedures of senior executives, along with military expenditure reductions. Regarding the Guardianship Dilemma, the Greek governments have chosen to weaken the capacity of the Armed Forces, despite the strong external threat, to overcome their fear and suspicion of involvement in the country’s political life.
The Supreme Command of Operations of the Asia Minor Army of December 1920 and March 1921
The government that emerged from the elections of November 1, 1920 was confronted with the question of imposing, by force, the terms of the Treaty of Sevres on Kemalist Turkey, an obligation undertaken by the outgoing Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos from the British. By the end of December 1920, the Third Army Corps, on order of the new Government, executed Reconnaissance in Force in the region of Eskisehir. This operation, improperly conceived, studied, and executed, resulted in the de facto recognition of the Kemalist state by the Allies. The government, in order to strengthen the country’s position in peace negotiations, ordered the execution of operations to capture Eskisehir and Kutahya, but refused to provide the Asia Minor Army with the resources needed to execute the operation under conditions that would ensure success. Along the way, the goals of the operation were unorthodoxly changed and widened without informing the Government and the Commander of the Asia Minor Army, and hence the operations failed.
The Formation of Greek Army’s Leadership: From the Defeat of 1897 to the Balkan Wars
The defeat of the Greek Army in the war against the Ottoman Empire in 1897 made the need for its reconstruction urgent. The first attempts towards that were led by Georgiοs Theotokis and were later on continued with the coup d’etat of 1909 and during the first years of Venizelos’ power. The formation of the leading body of the military was a great deal, around which vast political conflict was raised. The leadership was given from 1900 to the heir apparent of the Greek throne, Constantine. Such an action caused strong reactions and political dispute as it was made clear that the military was controlled by the royalty and was independent from the government. Venizelos kept Constantine and his cadre as the leaders of the military despite the intense backlash from some militants. He believed that through such an action a national unity was ensured, which was essential given the turn of events in the Balkans. However, after the ending of the Balkan wars it was proved that the differences between the state government and the royalty kept existing and were to be harshly manifested from 1915 to 1917.
The Offensive Element in Defence
War effort can take two, distinctive, forms: offense and defense. Clausewitz’s “On War” and historical experience suggest that the defender should not remain passive, but he should conduct his operations having in mind that in the end he should transit to the offensive and pursue a decisive victory, without contradicting with the form of his war that will remain defensive. The transition to the offensive is a complex military undertaking. Its success requires that the attacker has reached his culmination point without having achieved his objectives and the defender has the means and the ability to undertake the operation.
Clio and Ares: Military History, Strategy and the Professional Military Education
Military history has evolved towards two directions, the official one of general staffs and the academic one, having been established today as one of the branches of history. Military history constituted the basis of strategy, although their relation went through crisis during the Cold War period. Since the 19th century military history has been utilized as a tool for the education of officers during times of peace, attaining its apex in Germany at the time of Moltke and Schlieffen. Today the Americans together with the British are in the vanguard of the educational field. In Greece, academic military history is virtually non-existent, a fact that affects negatively the level of strategic analyses, as well as the education of officers.
Issue 2, Winter 2018
The Greek Division in Cyprus (1964-68) and the Role of Great Powers
In 1964, a Greek military force, which became known as the Division, was sent to Cyprus in response to a decision made by the Greek government to protect the island from the potential implementation of the Turkish decision to invade. By early 1968, the last soldiers of the Division had returned to Greece. This article examines the reasons for the mission and the withdrawal of the Division, as well as its reception by the Great Powers in their strategic calculations for the Eastern Mediterranean in the historical context of the Cold War.
Cyprus 1974: Strategic Assessment and Military Strategy
The Cyprus problem has been for Greece one of the main issues of concern and dispute versus Turkey since 1955. Initially, Greece presumed that the issue could be resolved through diplomatic means and never, in fact, devised any pertinent long-term strategy. During all subsequent crises, namely those of 1964, 1967 and 1974, Greece hesitated or turned out unwilling to intervene militarily in Cyprus. In 1974, specifically, the military regime overthrew the Makarios regime by coup d’état, without any serious strategic assessment and with actually null awareness of the international environment. The following Turkish invasion surprised Greece at all levels, which had neither strategy nor action plan. From July 20th until August 16th 1974, Turkey was executing operations in Cyprus while Greece was just watching, unable to react, fearing the breakout of all-out war with Turkey. A few of the problems that arose then have still not been resolved.
Airpower and Cyprus: “How Far Away Cyprus Lies?”
The expediency of supporting operations in Cyprus in 1974 from the point of view of airpower and assault by air of selected targets still remains a point of friction. The Greek intervention to “resolve” the Cyprus problem was almost certain to lead to a Greek-Turkish war, so every point of view should take into account this exceptionally serious parameter. War is a very serious matter to be examined excitedly and any objective approach should be based on real facts. The Air Force in 1974 was tremendously unprepared for war, as was the case for the other branches of the Hellenic Armed Forces, and the responsibilities lie with those who caused this situation, and especially those who, by military or political mantle, decided on the fate of the nation. Cyprus lies indeed far away for a country like Greece. The air and military capabilities of supporting operations in Cyprus and at the same time in the Aegean and Thrace were minimal in 1974, and are still inadequate today. Buttressing the security of Cyprus cannot be currently a grand strategic goal of Greece alone. If the political will of both states is truly there, the sincere cooperation of the two countries is highly required.
Does Cyprus Lie Far Away? Greek Naval Strategy for the Eastern Mediterranean
Does Cyprus lie that far away after all? One answer is that Cyprus lies as far as we choose it to be. If it is consciously understood that Cyprus and the security of Cypriot Hellenism constitutes a Vital National Interest and not a transcendent concession to the Greek Cypriots, then Cyprus will cease to be so far away. This paper proposes a series of required defense and security measures at the National Strategy and the National Military Strategy level in order to focus on the appropriate Naval Strategy of our country. The fundamental Naval Strategy proposal for the expected Maritime Theater of Operations includes changes in both the Structure of Forces and the Armed Forces Command Structure. These changes are based on the reinforcement of jointness and the exploitation of both geography and technology in order to make it possible for the Armed Forces (Greek and Cypriot) to acquire the ability of conducting simultaneously conventional joint operations and asymmetric operations throughout the Maritime Theater of Operations. The paper also provides a general assessment of the priorities for the implementation of the proposals, as well as a rudimentary idea of how to finance them.
Cyberattacks as a Means of Strategy
The use of new technologies and new methods has always been a crucial element in the historical evolution of war and hence of strategic thinking. Can cyberspace and the possibilities it offers integrate into any of the existing strategic concepts? Or does the digital character of cyber-operations reduce the usefulness of cyber actions as strategic tools? In any case, cyberspace is a reality, and therefore in the modern environment we have to take into account both its possibilities and its constraints. Contemporary policy and decision-makers may need to delve into strategic thinking and discover ways to subsume it to cyber-operations by extending its scope to encompass the new dimension of cyberspace.
Issue 1, Winter 2017
Kondylis and Victory in a Greek-Turkish War
Greece has a disadvantage vis-à-vis Turkey regarding the “geopolitical potential”. In the case of a Greek-Turkish war Kondylis considers that a Greek military victory is feasible under four conditions: a. Occupation of Turkish territory b. concentration of Greek forces b. Concentration of the Greek forces in a decisive space and time c. Fire power capable of covering the totality of Turkish territory and mainly d. the ability to launch a first (massive) strike taking the enemy by surprise. The first strike is totally integrated in the operational conduct of war. It constitutes a very important element as part of an active defensive strategy, which when properly conducted and leveraging the totality of the parameters of national power, could lead to victory.
Suicide from Fear of Death – The Preventive Use of Force as Political Choice in Contemporary International Environment: The Case of Small States
The preventive use of force and predominantly of military one is not something new in the international system but on the contrary is as old as war itself. It is a fact that international actors always waged war for various reasons including prevention. The appearance of non-state actors and of new threats after 9/11, lead to the reexamination of the concept of preventive war. The predominate tendency was to challenge the existing – until then- moral and legal frame, which was considered non-realistic and restrictive. The fear was that a potential extensive slackening of this frame would cause the excessive use of this form of war from the great powers. For small states the preventive use of force remains a difficult political choice with a preferable alternative, the use of non-military force in countering future threats. In any case the political choice of using preventive force remains at the disposal of state leaders provided its rational use.
National Power and the First Strike from Metaxas to Kondylis
Power has been a fundamental concept in international politics, from Thucydides’ time until today. Kondylis, as an adherent of the realpolitik, ascertains the disparity between Greece and Turkey with respect to the factors of national power. The measurement of national power, though, is not a mere sum of measurable indices. Concerning national power, other factors also come into play and how a country utilizes its power is a complex enterprise. In relation to Turkey, Greece possesses particular geographic advantages. The first strike is counted among the more interesting elements which Kondylis introduced to the Greek strategic discourse. His analysis of preemptive strike and preventive war is of theoretical, as well as of practical interest. Preventive war against Turkey was considered as a choice by Greece during 1913-14, when the famous Metaxas’ plan for the seizure of the Hellespont was devised. Although it was not eventually implemented, it was rather not very likely to succeed. However, those aspects are still useful for contemporary strategic problems.
From “Northern” to “Eastern” Threat: The Withdrawal of Greece from NATO’s Integrated Military Structure and the Revision of Its Strategic Doctrine
The Turkish invasion in Cyprus the summer of 1974 resulted to the revision of the Greek defense policy, which after WWII was oriented in confronting the “Northern” threat in the frame of Cold War confrontation and the participation of Greece in NATO. The mild reaction to the Turkish invasion from NATO led the Greek government to the withdrawal from the alliance’s integrated military structure and in an effort to balance the Turkish threat via the strengthening of national military power. Despite the change in the prioritization of external threats, the inability of securing alternative “security providers” within the western camp, the revival of Cold War confrontation in the end of the 1970’s and the effort of Turkey to take advantage of the absence of Greece in the Aegen Sea, led the Greek government into the reintegration to the alliance in 1980.
The Concept of Strategic Culture
Strategic culture refers to the sum of beliefs, mindsets and behavior patterns of a collective entity, geographically positioned and with common historical experience. It is based on the hypothesis that every collective entity thinks and acts with different way regarding matters of strategy influenced from its history, its geographical environment and a number of tangible and non-tangible factors. One can encounter factual problems to the analysis and documentation of every strategic culture, which derive from the philosophical character of the concept. Despite the methodological problems, the study of strategic culture offers a valuable framework of understanding of the strategic interaction and enriches the way of thinking of those who are required to make critical decisions.