Bigger Is Not Always Better - The United States Support to Security Force Assistance
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV NORFOLK VA JOINT FORCES STAFF COLLEGE
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Multiple media outlets recently published stories about Iraqi security forces disintegrating under pressure from elements of the Islamic State oflraq and the Levant ISIL. Despite the 25 billion dollars and the eight years spent training, arming, and equipping Iraqs security forces by the United States, ISIL forces still managed to capture large amounts of strategic territory and US supplied equipment from the Iraqi Security Forces ISF. In contrast, during the 1980s and 1990s, the United States spent an estimated six billion dollars each aiding both the armed forces of El Salvador and Colombia. In El Salvador, a ten-year United States military training mission concluded with a negotiated settlement between government and insurgent forces. In Colombia, an ongoing military training mission continues its success aimed at combating Colombian drug cartels and left-wing insurgent groups in Colombian territory. Clearly, high expenditures and a large presence do not guarantee success. With recurrent training missions in Afghanistan, and emerging training missions in Syria and again in Iraq, this thesis identifies the benchmarks for success of future training missions. In todays resource constrained environment, this approach to organize, train, and equip host nation forces secures American strategic objectives without the costly and lengthy deployments of U.S. forces. With a war weary populace, the United States governments success or failure to train host nation forces will have enduring effects on future policy.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics