Generals, politicians and the media
Roadside bombs - improvised explosive devices - have caused the deaths of many British soldiers in Afghanistan. Senior British military figures - including the Chief of the Defence Staff, Sir Jock Stirrup, and the Chief of the General Staff, Sir Richard Dannatt - have been calling, through the media, for their forces to be better equipped to face this threat.
One question that's arisen is why are they doing this in public? The chief of the defence staff has a direct line to the prime minister and presumably has been making the same calls in private, but failed to get approval for what he wants.
Students of history will know this tension is nothing new. During World War II, the country's most senior soldier, Field Marshall Alan Brooke, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, had a stormy relationship with his Prime Minister, Winston Churchill.
At one point, Churchill told his chief military assistant, General Ismay, that Alan Brooke hated him. When this was reported to Alan Brooke he said:
"I don't hate him. I love him. But the first time I tell him that I agree with him when I don't will be the time to get rid of me, for then I can be no more use to him."
In other words, he saw it as his job to argue with the prime minister when he thought he was wrong - and apparently he often did as he thought Churchill tried to interfere unhelpfully in military decision-making.
But little was known of this at the time, what we do know is mainly from memoirs published after the war in question was over. Whereas in today's more transparent times, military leaders talk to the media more often and are prepared to use the media to lobby for what they want.
Some argue that in a democracy where elected civilian politicians are meant to be paramount, the military should not publically question their civilian masters. Others argue that senior officers also have a responsibility to the people under their command and sometimes that responsibility outweighs their duty to the unwritten constitutional convention that they don't contradict ministers in public.
We've had this discussion on The World Tonight with Dr Paul Cornish, head of the international security programme at Chatham House and a former officer in the Royal Tank Regiment, and the former defence minister Peter Kilfoyle.
But with both politicians and senior military officers using the media to put their case, it's clear the media has an equal responsibility to put both their arguments under the same rigorous scrutiny, even though the tone of this needs to be sensitive to the families and comrades of soldiers who have been killed or injured on the battlefield.
Alistair Burnett is the editor of The World Tonight.