U.S. military engaging in foreign aid is a troublesome idea to civilians of the U.S. government and to international aid, humanitarian, and development organizations. The United States recent experience in the counterinsurgency (COIIN) efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan has shown that we can successfully employ our military to ‘train, advise, and assist’ foreign security forces. However, a huge component of counterinsurgency is the “civil dimension“.
A good COIN effort includes working in the security, governance, and development areas. The governance and development lines of effort are best done by civilian experts (think USAID and the State Department) – but both conflicts (Iraq and Afghanistan) found that the quantity of these civilian experts (numbers of personnel) never equaled the need or demand. To that end, Mark Moyar has penned an article entitled “The Case for the Militarization of Foreign Aid”, War on the Rocks, November 1, 2016.
Dr. Mark Moyer is the Director of the Center for Military and Diplomatic History at the Foreign Policy Initiative.