"They're completely separate," Brown said. "That intelligence, police state -- this was run in kind of a rough manner [and] the police and security service were untouchable... The military's task was defense of the homeland, not maintaining internal security."
The military itself has not been completely free from alleged abuse. Human Rights Watch recently published a report accusing military officials of kidnapping citizens and activists and interrogating them at military headquarters. But even in light of these allegations, Robert Springborg at the Center on Contemporary Conflict said the streets could be safer under the transitional military rule.
"The Ministry of the Interior forces were truly brutal and vicious. People couldn't deal with them but the military can of course," Springborg said. "That's a very good thing."
Police brutality was a major factor in sparking the protests as they originally evolved from a demonstration against the beating death of a 26-year-old Egyptian at the hands of police.
CLICK HERE to read ABC News full report on Khaled Said, The Face That Launched a Revolution.
Two weeks ago, Tantawi was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and visited Tahrir Square to meet with protestors.
While Human Rights Watch has filed report after report about alleged torture and abuse at the hands of the intelligence and police services, the advocacy group wrote a letter directly to Tantawi in the midst of the protests asking for help.
"The legitimacy of the Egyptian police and other internal security organs have long been tarnished by a record of human rights abuses, including the systematic use of torture... In contrast, the Egyptian military, which was called onto the streets on Friday 28 January, has so far shown commendable restraint and has been welcomed by the majority of protesters," the group wrote to Tantawi on its website.
CLICK HERE to read ABC News report in which victims describe torture at the hands of the state's intelligence service.
During the protests, the military attempted to potray itself as a neutral party, Brown said, perhaps in hopes of winning over the protestors. If that was the case, the cheers that greeted several top military officers in Tahrir Square and the warm reception a spokesman for the military received when he announced the army will guarantee their demands are met seem to be proof it succeeded.
"They never hurt us during the protests, which makes everyone trust them," 23-year-old protestor Sadia Abdel Dayem told ABC News. "And they were there to protect us when all the police forces withdrew, which also makes us trust them."
Beyond trust, Dayem said Tantawi will deliver on the military's promises because he has seen what the people can do.
"After all that's happened... He won't think of doing anything against people's opinions," she said.
ABC News' Deena Sami contributed to this report.