Forced Shortsightedness: Security Force Assistance Missions
AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL SCHOOL OF ADVANCED AIR AND SPACE STUDIES
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Security force assistance missions are an important aspect of U.S. foreign policy and a means to protect U.S. national security and strategic interests. The United States has declared the stability and the security of Africa as critical to its interests and therefore provides security assistance to Trans-Saharan under-developed countries as a way to combat terrorism. The lack of applicability of the Department of State s traditional security assistance authorities to help beleaguered African nations has forced the use of temporary Department of Defense authorities, which have the potential to undermine trust between the United States and its under-developed partners. This thesis conducts a qualitative analysis comparing gaps within and between U.S. Code and the National Defense Authorization Act authorities related to security assistance. In doing so, it evaluates who developed the authorities, assesses the purposes for which they were developed, determines their applicability to the present and anticipated strategic environment, and investigates possible implications related to the U.S. military s increased role in security assistance. The Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership provides an example of how these authorities are used to address the threat of terrorism in this region. The thesis introduces organization, balance of power, and policy change theories as a means to elevate discussion of security assistance authorities to the strategic level. The primary audience for this thesis are special operations forces SOF operators given that the patchwork of authorities are critical elements to the indirect approaches SOF will utilize in countering violent extremism in under-developed countries. In the end, this thesis asserts that the temporary authorities are inherently strategically shortsighted, as they are cumbersome, in some cases difficult to distinguish between.
- Government and Political Science
- Sociology and Law
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics