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Why Security Force Assistance Fails

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Technical Report,05 Jul 2015,26 May 2016

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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The nature of US armed conflict in the twenty-first century has seen a decrease in the use of force to exclusively achieve military end states in support of policy objectives. This forces military practitioners and policy makers to reconcile the differences between the militarys traditional role of conducting combined arms maneuver and the recent trends of large-scale stability operations. During a period of fiscal austerity while the US military is relying on a rotational presence of forces to shape and deter conflict, the necessity of conducting security working by, with, and through US partners and allies remains at the forefront. Effective security force assistance requires a convergence of regional interests between the United States and its partnered nations. It also requires a balance of capabilities to face both internal and external threats. After World War II, the United States established a group of advisors assigned to train and advise Korean police and army units, focusing on counter-guerilla and riot control techniques aimed at defeating Communist insurgent threats South Korea then found itself embroiled in a conventional civil war time period. Iraqi Security Forces found themselves in a similar predicament, fighting a decentralized insurgency during the Coalition Forces occupation to then facing ISIL, an insurgent organization capable of fighting at the battalion level. National policies, along with the strategies that implement them, are not static and are subject to change based on internal and regional dynamics. Effective security force assistance requires military practitioners and policy makers to adjust their strategies according to the environment. This requires planners to anticipate both internal and external threats in order to ensure a more sustainable outcome.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations

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