Clash of Military Traditions: Meritocracy, Modernization, and Neo- Traditional Challenges to the United States of America's Foreign Internal Defense (FID) Policy




In the decades before, and with greater intensity since 1945, the United States of America engaged in numerous 'nation-building' efforts around the world; the focus of which was the creation, or the strengthening, of national military establishments in allied-states. With the passage of the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act in 1986, Foreign Internal Defense (FID) became a legislatively directed activity of the Special Operations Forces of the U.S. Army. Since 1986, FID has been formally defined by the U.S. Department of the Army as the 'participation by civilian and military agencies of a government in any of the action programs taken by another government or other designated organization to free and protect its society from subversion, lawlessness, and insurgency' (DA FM 3-05.202, 2007, p. 1-1). This thesis provides an examination of the effectiveness of the U.S. Army's FID. It argues that FID, or what can also be characterized as foreign army building, has failed more often than it has succeeded. Furthermore, this failure is primarily a result of a clash of military traditions between the U.S advisors conducting FID and the recipient military establishments. Under these circumstances the FID model needs to be altered. Applying a revised, more flexible version of FID would yield greater success in current and future FID operations.



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