Accession Number:



Command Issues for Military Advisors

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Technical Report

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Air Univ Maxwell AFB AL Maxwell AFB United States

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Partnering with like-minded nations is a key component of the United States National Security Strategy. Historically, the United States record on partnering in conflicts has been mixed. The Department of Defense has made significant investments in building partner capacity in the last two decades. Training, education, and organization focus on partnering at the tactical and operational levels and have improved significantly from their near-zero status prior to the Global War on Terror. Even so, a key element to foreign force advising remains unexplored. Are U.S. military advisors serving overseas simply to provide their best military advice to the host nation, or are they to actually command those foreign forces, either directly or indirectly, in order to achieve the strategic aims of the United States This subject can be expanded to ask further questions such as are there some instances where command is warranted does the nature of the conflict or the capacity and capabilities of host nation forces influence the decision between the two are there trade-offs to be made between commanding and advising and if so what are they By examining the experience of General Joseph Stilwell, US Army, who served as the senior military advisor to China during WWII, this paper suggests four factors which military advisors should carefully consider when confronted with the dilemma of commanding or advising host nation forces. These four factors are the host nations leadership, the stability of the strategic situation, the host nations cultural conceptions of command, and the desired relationship between the United States and the host nation.

Subject Categories:

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

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