Best Defense

Reasons for military structure: More on why we have officers and enlisted peeps

One reason rulers liked having foreigners in the ranks was that outlanders were thought less likely to ally themselves with peasant revolts.

Jacquerie_meaux

Jacquerie_repression

I mentioned awhile back that one reason for officers was to control all the foreigners in the ranks of European armies in the 18th century.

But, as I continue to study how we arrived at the military structure we have now (both organizational and command and control), I came across the next step: One reason rulers liked having foreigners in the ranks was that outlanders were thought less likely to ally themselves with peasant revolts. And putting down such uprisings was a frequent mission for militaries of that time.

Jean Froissart/Wikimedia Commons

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. @tomricks1

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