The central problem in civil-military relations is how to empower the military to provide for national defense, but still keep it under control. Analysts and policymakers alike have struggled with how best to measure the state of civil-military relations in any particular country. Some measures focus on conflict between military and civilian actors, especially using the history of coups or bureaucratic tension. Other measures focus on coup-proofing behavior, or the steps that state leaders take to prevent the military from usurping power, especially creating redundant military forces to counterbalance each other, structuring forces based on identity politics, or replacing officers frequently in high-level military positions.
These measures of the state of civil-military relations pose two main problems. First, they make cross-country comparison difficult. The events they measure are usually rare and have complex antecedents, making them an unreliable indicator of the state of civil-military relations in a given country. Examining bureaucratic tension or identity politics, as well as other indicators of conflict or coup-proofing, lends itself to in-depth case study analysis of the kind that Tawazun offers. In fact, many founding works in the academic study of civil-military relations, such as those by Samuel Huntington, Morris Janowitz, and Alfred Stepan, generally focused on one or a handful of cases. Even today, it is rare to find studies of civil-military relations that use large-n statistical analysis.
The second, and perhaps deeper, limitation of existing measures of civil-military relations is that they do not treat these as a system comprising a range of components that may be well or poorly integrated, giving rise to higher or lower efficiency. Instead, they focus on individual pieces of the puzzle, although interactions between military and civilian actors tend to be complex in reality. Measures of civil-military relations should likewise follow a systemic approach, capturing multiple elements and the interactions between them simultaneously. This is especially important for civil-military relations in Arab states, where tangible information is difficult to obtain, and where making judgements based on fragmentary evidence can lead to unfounded conclusions.
Tawazun: Index of Arab Civil-Military Relations measures the efficiency of civil-military relations using maturity models. These are management tools to assess systemic performance that lend themselves to cross-country comparison. These models can help policymakers and analysts to identify defense development needs, mitigate risks, and measure systemic performance in civil-military relations. By focusing on efficiency instead of conflict or coup-proofing, Tawazun can also help policymakers and analysts examine civil-military relations in a robust and systematic way, instead of relying heavily on anecdote and case study analysis.
Maturity models assess system efficiency with visual and quantitative tools. They have been used in a wide variety of fields, including military command and control and cyber security. They are useful for representing changes from the status quo in quantitative or qualitative capability. This makes maturity models useful for system assessment and comparative benchmarking.
The definition of maturity turns on measuring outcome versus process. Previous quantitative measures of civil-military relations, such as the frequency of coups or the redundancy of military forces, focused on end results, running the risk of imposing normative values. In contrast, the Tawazun Index focuses on process in order to assess system efficiency. By providing comparable, system-focused measures of the state of civil-military relations, the Tawazun Index improves both practical and theoretical understandings of how military and civilian actors relate to one another, in the Arab world and beyond.
Maturity models commonly use the levels shown in the following table to describe the efficiency of processes in a system. The table also shows the comparable levels used in the Tawazun Index.
|Maturity Levels||Definitions of Maturity Levels||Tawazun|
|Managed||Process characterized for
projects and is often reactive
|Defined||Process characterized for the
organization and is proactive
||Process measured and controlled||Fair|