Dr. Richard D. Newton, an operational planner at the Special Operations Command Africa, has written a paper about Defense Institution Building (DIB). He describes how DIB helps “. . . to enhance the capacity of allies and partners to sustainably man, train, equip, and independently employ their own military and security forces in support of common strategic interests.
The author notes that Security Force Assistance (SFA), Foreign Internal Defense (FID), and Joint/Combined Exchange Training (JCETS) have a long history in the U.S. special operations community. However, he points out that these missions are often not effective in achieving paradigm shifts that cause organizational transformation.
In his 30-page paper, Dr. Newton describes the purpose of Defense Institution Building and how it is different from SFA, FID, and JCETs. The paper reviews the history of DIB, current literature on DIB, relevant doctrinal publications, and challenges to DIB programs.
He then goes on to recommend taking a design-thinking approach for “designing, developing, and implementing a sustainable DIB partnership with a willing nation.” Newton offers as an example the case study of the transformation of Romania’s special operations forces – which was a priority effort for the Special Operations Command Europe.
In the post 9/11 environment U.S. SOF was focused more at the tactical level (advising combat units) than at the national level (institution building). The author has seen a slow change in approach since 2010 – with an increased focus towards security cooperation intent on institution building. The author concludes his paper with . . . “Since 2015, design-thinking has offered SOF planners and commanders a practical tool for problem-solving in the human domain.”
Defense Institution Building . . . by Design
By Richard D. Newton, Ph.D.
Joint Special Operations University (JSOU)
Department of Strategic Studies
JSOU Press – Occasional Paper
Bio of Dr. Newton. Richard Newton has a long history in the special operations community. He served 22 years in the U.S. Air Force as a combat rescue and special operations helicopter pilot; as well as a combat aviation advisor, planner, and educator. Newton continued his service in the SOF community as a senior faculty member at the Joint Special Operations University. He is an educator, planner, researcher, and curriculum developer in the fields of air-ground integration, irregular and asymmetric warfare, and special operations.