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Foreign Military Training: Building Effective Armed Forces in Weak States

DECUR Partnership

Year selected for award: 2019 DECUR

Project Title: Foreign Military Training: Building Effective Armed Forces in Weak States

Program: DECUR Partnership

Co-Principal Investigators: Will Reno, Northwestern University and Ryan Burke, United States Air Force Academy

Years of Award: 2020-2022  

Managing Service Agency: Air Force Office of Scientific Research

Project Description:
Foreign Military Training (FMT) is a core element of U.S efforts to build defense relationships that promote U.S security interests, and figures prominently in North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and European Union (EU) strategic objectives in the Middle East
and Africa. Though FMT can produce highly effective military units, it also has created few intended and many unintended outcomes. This research captures the entirety of the FMT process from design to provision to absorption stages. We aim to capture the impact of US and NATO partner FMT to host national soldiers, FMT recipient definition of goals and absorption and varied organizational outcomes in Sahel African countries, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The research seeks to better understand 1) how the US, NATO, and provider partners design FMT doctrines in line with their national interest and broader alliance objectives; 2) how FMT implementers design their Lines of Effort to align with national interests, doctrine, and the realities of the recipient political context; 3) how the congruity or incongruity between provider and recipient’s desired end-states shape FMT outcomes; 4) how FMT provision shapes recipient country political calculations and how that impacts patronage-based ruling coalitions; 5) how FMT provision is creating a global epistemic community of military professionals; and 6) the generation of a FMT Maturity Model that identifies and refines best practices across FMT phases. This project will increase USAFA social science expertise and will help cadets hone their research skills and help them develop wider professional networks with the civilian researchers. The FMT Maturity Model will be integrated into revised FMT training manuals and elements of this research will be used to create and improve core courses in USAFA’s Military and Strategic Studies department. This research will be a cornerstone of an ongoing research partnership between USAFA and Northwestern University. The research also aims to inform DOD missions to develop allied and partner military capabilities for self-defense and coalition operations and fairly share responsibilities for common defense.

Select Publications:
Colin D. Robinson and Jahara Matisek, “Assistance to Locally Appropriate Military Forces in Southern Somalia: Bypassing Mogadishu for Local Legitimacy.” RUSI Journal 165, no. 4 (2020): 68-78.
Jahara Matisek, “International Competition to Provide Security Force Assistance in Africa: Civil-Military Relations Matter.” PRISM: Journal of Complex Operations 9, no. 1 (October 2020).
Nils Zimmerman and Jahara Matisek, “A Developmental Role for Militaries in Africa: The Peace Engineering Corps Solution.” Sicherheit und Frieden, 38, no. 2 (2020): 112-117.
Jahara Matisek and Mike Fowler, “The Paradox of Security Force Assistance after the rise and fall of the Islamic State in Syria-Iraq.” Special Operations Journal 6, no.2 (2020): 118-138.
Jahara Matisek and Cadet Josh Williamson, “Limited Wars in the Periphery: The Dilemma of American Military Assistance.” Expeditions with Marine Corps University Press (June 2020).