Military attaché
Overview
 
A military attaché is a military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 expert who is attached to a diplomatic mission
Diplomatic mission
A diplomatic mission is a group of people from one state or an international inter-governmental organisation present in another state to represent the sending state/organisation in the receiving state...

 (an attaché
Attaché
Attaché is a French term in diplomacy referring to a person who is assigned to the diplomatic or administrative staff of a higher placed person or another service or agency...

). This post is normally filled by a high-ranking military officer
Officer (armed forces)
An officer is a member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. Commissioned officers derive authority directly from a sovereign power and, as such, hold a commission charging them with the duties and responsibilities of a specific office or position...

 who retains the commission while serving in an embassy. Opportunities sometimes arise for service in the field with military or naval forces of another nation.

The functions of a military attaché are illustrated by the American military attachés in Japan during the war years.
Encyclopedia
A military attaché is a military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 expert who is attached to a diplomatic mission
Diplomatic mission
A diplomatic mission is a group of people from one state or an international inter-governmental organisation present in another state to represent the sending state/organisation in the receiving state...

 (an attaché
Attaché
Attaché is a French term in diplomacy referring to a person who is assigned to the diplomatic or administrative staff of a higher placed person or another service or agency...

). This post is normally filled by a high-ranking military officer
Officer (armed forces)
An officer is a member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. Commissioned officers derive authority directly from a sovereign power and, as such, hold a commission charging them with the duties and responsibilities of a specific office or position...

 who retains the commission while serving in an embassy. Opportunities sometimes arise for service in the field with military or naval forces of another nation.

The functions of a military attaché are illustrated by the American military attachés in Japan during the war years. A series of military officers had been assigned to the American diplomatic mission in Tokyo since 1901 when the U.S. and Japan were co-operating closely in response to the Boxer Rebellion
Boxer Rebellion
The Boxer Rebellion, also called the Boxer Uprising by some historians or the Righteous Harmony Society Movement in northern China, was a proto-nationalist movement by the "Righteous Harmony Society" , or "Righteous Fists of Harmony" or "Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists" , in China between...

 in China. The military attaché advised the United States Ambassador to Japan
United States Ambassador to Japan
The United States Ambassador to Japan is the ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary from the United States to Japan. Since the opening of Japan by Commodore Matthew C. Perry, in 1854, the U.S. maintained diplomatic relations with Japan, except for the ten-year period following the attack on...

 on military matters, acted as a liaison between United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 and the Imperial General Headquarters
Imperial General Headquarters
The as part of the Supreme War Council was established in 1893 to coordinate efforts between the Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy during wartime...

, and gathered and disseminated intelligence. The military attaché's office in Tokyo usually had two assistants and a number of "language officers" who were assigned specifically to learn Japanese while attached to Imperial Japanese Army
Imperial Japanese Army
-Foundation:During the Meiji Restoration, the military forces loyal to the Emperor were samurai drawn primarily from the loyalist feudal domains of Satsuma and Chōshū...

 regiments as observers. These "language officers" translated training and technical manuals and reported on conditions in Japanese military units.

During the Russo-Japanese War
Russo-Japanese War
The Russo-Japanese War was "the first great war of the 20th century." It grew out of rival imperial ambitions of the Russian Empire and Japanese Empire over Manchuria and Korea...

 (1904-1905), military and naval attachés from many Western military organizations
Military attachés and observers in the Russo-Japanese War
Military attachés and observers in the Russo-Japanese War were historians creating first-hand accounts of what was arguably the world's first modern war...

 served as observers with the land and naval forces of Russia and Japan. The United States Army detailed eight officers to serve military attachés with opposing forces in the field; and all served from the start of hostilities in 1904 through the signing of the peace protocols in September 1905. After the war, the reports of British officers attached to the Japanese forces in the field were combined and published in four volumes. During this conflict, some attachés served primarily in Manchuria, and others served primarily in Tokyo. Some, like Italian naval officer Ernesto Burzagli
Ernesto Burzagli
Ernesto Burzagli CB was a prominent figure in the Kingdom of Italy during the early 20th century. During a lifetime career in the Italian Royal Navy , he rose to the rank of Admiral and Chief of Staff...

 saw service both at sea and in Tokyo.

See also

  • Ambassador
    Ambassador
    An ambassador is the highest ranking diplomat who represents a nation and is usually accredited to a foreign sovereign or government, or to an international organization....

  • Arms industry
    Arms industry
    The arms industry is a global industry and business which manufactures and sells weapons and military technology and equipment. It comprises government and commercial industry involved in research, development, production, and service of military material, equipment and facilities...

  • Air attaché
    Air attaché
    An air attaché is an Air Force officer who is part of a diplomatic mission; this post is normally filled by a high-ranking officer.An air attaché typically represents the chief of his home air force in the foreign country where he serves. The day-to-day responsibilities include maintaining contacts...

  • Science attaché
    Science attaché
    A science attaché is a member of a diplomatic mission, usually an embassy...

  • Service in Israel Medal
    Service in Israel Medal
    The Service in Israel Medal is an Israeli military decoration.The medal is awarded to foreign military attachés in Israel upon the end of their posting...

  • Military attachés and war correspondents in the First World War
    Military attachés and war correspondents in the First World War
    Military attachés and war correspondents in the First World War were historians creating first-hand accounts of a multi-national, multi-continent, multi-ocean military conflict...

  • United Nations Military Observer
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