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Set Up for Failure: The Use of US Security Force Assistance to Prepare Foreign Security Forces for Traditional Combat Operations

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Technical Report,01 Jun 2016,31 May 2017

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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The United States Armed Forces is currently redefining its approach to Security Force Assistance SFA. The force structure has shifted to adopt the Regionally Aligned Force RAF concept, Engagement may emerge as a seventh war fighting function, and the testing of Security Force Assistance Brigades SFABs may yield future programmed fielding. This reexamination of US SFA is occurring simultaneously with a reinvigorated commitment to preparing the joint force for traditional major combat operations. Where these two foundational military imperatives intersect is of both contemporary and historical relevance. Do the SFA lessons drawn from the unconventional warfare focus of the post-9-11 paradigm hold true across the spectrum of conflict, or are there special considerations for SFA in support of traditional warfare In December of 1941, following years of American-led SFA, the Japanese invaded the Philippines and forced the withdrawal of its defending forces. In 1950, following years of American-led SFA, the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea DPRK invaded the Republic of Korea ROK, forcing a defensive retrograde to Pusan. A comparative analysis of these two case studies may yield lessons for contemporary SFA in support of traditional major combat operations.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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