Department of Conflict Resolution Studies Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Ismael Muvingi

Second Advisor

Robin Cooper

Third Advisor

Evan Hoffman


civil-military, COVID, disasters, domestic, Katrina (hurricane), military


Since its founding, the United States has experienced social strife and humanitarian disasters, either of which can provoke a military domestic response. Political leaders have considered with caution and reservation under what circumstances to rely on the military to respond to internal domestic crises. The use of the military – including Guard, Reserve, and federal active-duty forces - to respond to internal problems continues to increase. In turn, this increase has a strong potential to change the dynamics of civil-military relations in the United States and generate new public expectations for the military. This study explored the perspectives of individuals who experienced military domestic activities and then examined military officials’ perceptions of their roles during domestic responses. Exploring these experiences and perceptions is necessary for better concordance between political leaders, military leaders, and members of the public. The primary research question for this dissertation was as follows: Given domestic disasters over the past 20 years requiring a military response, what are the perceptions and perspectives on domestic use of the military to respond to crises and domestic states of emergency? This question was answered qualitatively through the application of interpretative phenomenological analysis based on how members of the public experience and make meaning of the phenomena of military domestic operations, and inductive thematic analysis based on interviews with military officials regarding their roles.