Accession Number:



Mission Accomplished Rebuilding the Iraqi and Afghan Armies

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report

Corporate Author:

Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



The two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have demonstrated that the U.S. military must be prepared to conduct foreign security force assistance missions as a major element of the U.S. national security strategy. This thesis is a study of the United States attempt to build strong central armies in Iraq and Afghanistan in the midst of a larger nation-building effort. Following the collapse of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein regimes, the U.S. military was tasked to rebuild the national armies of Afghanistan and Iraq. Since the departure of U.S. forces from Iraq in 2011 and the withdrawal of combat advisors from Afghanistan in 2014, the Islamic State has gained control of significant territory in Iraq including Mosul, Iraqs second largest city, while the Taliban and the Islamic State of Iraq and the LevantKhorasan control 30 percent of Afghan districts. The purpose of this thesis is to explain why, despite 60billion and more than a decade of military advisory efforts, the Iraqi and Afghan national armies are not unified sustainable forces loyal to the central government and capable of defending their territories from internal and external threats. There are four key premises as to why the Iraqi and Afghan armies have not met the expectations of a sustainable and legitimate central army failure to achieve legitimacy of governance, lack of motivation and will to fight, creation of an army in the Western image rather than an army that meets the needs of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the lack of a long-term U.S. strategy and commitment.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement: