Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Speech Communication

Document Type



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.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Andrew King