Title page for ETD etd-0129103-042127

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Foster, John Robert
URN etd-0129103-042127
Title Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: Monitoring the Evolution of an Agency through Rhetorical Snapshots of Speeches by Generals Omar N. Bradley, Earle G. Wheeler, George S. Brown and Colin L. Powell
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Speech Communication
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Andrew King Committee Chair
James Honeycutt Committee Member
John Whittaker Committee Member
Patricia Suchy Committee Member
John B. Henderson Dean's Representative
  • agons
  • clusters
Date of Defense 2003-01-24
Availability unrestricted
There is a need to examine the long term rhetorical strategies of military spokesmen within a democratic state characterized by civilian hegemony. This study uses Kenneth Burke's discussion of cluster analysis to discover the various recurring themes from Chairman to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This form of analysis enabled the researcher to document periodic variances or shifts in emphasis among the four Chairmen whose speeches will be examined. The investigation involved two speeches representative of each of these four distinct periods of the discourse of Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, one given to a civilian audience and one given to an audience of military veterans. The snapshots revealed a consistent constraint of talking in the limited space as a subordinate who represents the national security policy decisions of the President. This constraint, seen within each of the four snapshots, indicates a consistent underlying motive to the discourse of each Chairman. Since most organizations go through periodic shifts in their public image, cluster analysis could provide insights into the decline and resurgence of organizations that replace key leaders either on a planned rotation similar to the cycle for the Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff or due to retirements or even terminations. It may be worthwhile to apply the same method of study to a more loosely structured organization or one in which a leader is given more license to build the authority of his or her office. In many economic, religious and political institutions the leader is not bound to higher authority in a firm statutory manner as he or she is in the military.
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