• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

The term professional military forces refers to members of the armed services of a nation who make the business of war their full-time occupation, have specialized training and knowledge, and can dispense expert advice. To supplement their professional military forces, states frequently maintain reserve forces as well as the regulatory capacity to conscript civilians in times of war.

Given the complexities of modern warfare, military professionals are set apart from other professions by the violent character of their responsibilities and the existential stakes of their mission. In a democracy, an essential component of professionalism among members of the military is a total commitment to the idea of civilian supremacy; military officers must commit to obey all directives from the civilian government, even those they disagree ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles