Should a civilian who has never held military command be expected to lead from such a position as Commander in Chief and how important is it?
The constitution specifies the President as the Commander in Chief.
One should not confuse military command (and the art of war) with the innate ability of a man's leadership skills. Military commanders are taught tactics of warfare, and that does not always translate into a competent leader of domestic and political skills. One has to look no further than some of the United States' greatest Presidents--Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt--to realized that a military background is not essential. Jefferson's high intelligence and philosophical foresight served the colonies and, later, the early days of our nation far more than he could have as a soldier. Although Abraham Lincoln served a short stint as a militia captain in the Black Hawk War, he saw no action; yet he saw the Union through its greatest crisis during the Civil War. Roosevelt chose to become an attorney instead of following in his cousin Teddy Roosevelt's military footsteps, but it did not prevent him from leading the U. S. to victory during World War II. In comparison, the administration of one of America's greatest former generals, Ulysess S. Grant, proved to be the most scandalous in U. S. history.