THE GODFATHER DOCTRINE SECURITY FORCE ASSISTANCE (SFA) TRAINING - AN OFFER THE MARINE CORPS CAN'T REFUSE
AIR WAR COLLEGE, AIR UNIVERSITY MAXWELL AFB United States
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Thesis In a period of resource austerity and complex strategic environment, the USMCs training, preparation and deployment of Security Force Assistance SFA is a small investment that gives the United States vital placement, access, and cultural context to developing countries. USMC SFA success has history from the Philippines through Banana Wars, WWII, Vietnam, and most recently Iraq and Afghanistan. The current de-emphasis of SFA training and deployments is an economy of force decision as budgets and manpower are becoming more restrictive. Consequently, the USMC has created a void of experienced advisors and trainers. Investing in a permanent SFA role prevents future wars as much as it helps win current ones. SFA advising has a 120-year history of enhancing counterinsurgency COIN and conventional operations. It is a capability and a perspective. To articulate the perspective, I will introduce explain and apply the Godfather Doctrine to lessons the Marine Corps seems to forget after each major conflict. The direct approach of conventional forces often overlooks SFAs indirect capability. Advising facilitates the transition of local governance, which expedites the completion of a conflict and plants seeds of partnership for the future. A successful advisor program promotes stability and interoperability with the security forces they train. The investment is small, and the results are tangible. How different would Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq have turned out if more attention was spent on the indigenous history, language, and culture Military advisors would argue US interests aligned with the populations sentiment equals progress for both.
- Unconventional Warfare