Determinants of Success and Failure in US Advising of Foreign Militaries, 1945-present
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AbstractMilitary advising is frequently touted as a high-impact, low-cost strategy that allows the United States to achieve its security goals without deploying combat troops. The US military now considers foreign military advising to be a core competency, and it has become increasingly involved in military advising missions since 2001, a trend most expect to continue well into the future. Remarkably, neither academic scholars nor the policy community has investigated how effective advising actually is or what factors determine success. Both the United States and others have pursued major foreign policy strategies based on this unproven assumption. No wisdom, scholarly or even within the military itself, currently exists about the overall utility of military advisory missions or how to effectively run one. This dissertation answers both questions and offers insight on how to determine the likelihood of mission success even before the United States becomes involved in a conflict.
This dissertation argues that institutional structures and processes in the host military and advisory group drive advisory mission outcomes. Changes in host military effectiveness are driven by an interaction between two independent variables: advisory group and host military institutional structures and processes that promote organizational learning. Advisory missions are more likely to succeed the more both sides adhere to best practices on a set of specific institutional structures and processes that are required for the effective development of a host military.
Drawing on archival documents, Army and joint publications, oral histories, memoirs and 43 interviews with former American military advisors, I investigate how effective US military advising has been since 1945 and the factors that separate the successful missions from the ones for which the United States expended blood and treasure without substantially increasing the host military’s combat performance. I illustrate how the institutional structures and processes in both the host military and the advisory group that promote organizational learning result in substantial improvements in the host military’s combat effectiveness at the unit cohesion, tactical, and operational levels. This dissertation focuses on four case studies: the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Iraq War from 2003-present, and the War in Afghanistan.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:40046562
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