The Center for Military History presents the argument “that service in the Armed Forces of our Nation has been instrumental in preparing a notable number of Americans for positions of senior leadership in the government. Military service played a vital role, for example, in the development of such leaders as Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Harry Truman.”
They then present Dwight D. Eisenhower as a prime example and put out a book on the centennial of his birth about Eisenhower’s long military career. The booklet sketches out Eisenhower’s rise through the military ranks and his experiences in each position all the way through Supreme Allied Commander during World War II.
In the section devoted to Eisenhower’s postwar career, the booklet connects the Presidency to his military career:
The quality of leadership that distinguished Eisenhower the soldier also served him well in the presidency. The diverse challenges of more than thirty years of service in the Army and as an international leader amplified his natural gift for command. He had the considerable advantage that many of the leaders of the postwar world were old friends whom he had come to know well during the war, and with whom he already had a sound working relationship. Eisenhower's military experience also proved invaluable in determining his style of presidential leadership. Based on techniques that had served him well in SHAEF and NATO, he used a chief of staff to keep track of the day-to-day operations, freeing him to maintain an overview of all of the administration's business.
So what do you think? Is military service instrumental for presidents?