Implementing U.S. Security Strategy in the 21st Century: A Three-Part Examination of the Evolving Role of the Military in American Foreign and Security Policy Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Gibb, Arthur
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Political Science
  • This study is a three-part examination of the evolving role of the military and related civilian foreign policy instruments in U.S. foreign policy since 1990. The first article is a quantitative analysis of the effectiveness of U.S. security assistance at improving the security of recipient nations. I argue that security is a function of the capacity of government security institutions and the legitimacy of the government in the eyes of its citizens, and that U.S. security assistance programs are designed to enhance one or both of these dimensions of security. My results demonstrate that U.S. security assistance is effective at increasing not only military capacity, but also stability and regime legitimacy. However, they also raise the possibility that improved coercive capacity may be used heavy-handedly or cause opposition groups to perceive their relative power as diminishing, causing an increase in small-scale opposition violence. The second article attempts to answer the charge that U.S. foreign policy has become militarized over the last 20 years, and particularly since 2001. I argue that the increasingly central role played by the military represents not a militarization of U.S. policy but a failure of existing policy institutions to meet the demands of a rapidly changing security environment. The civilian instruments of U.S. foreign policy were inadequate to the state-building tasks that emerged in the 1990s and completely overwhelmed by reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. As a result, policy makers have increasingly turned to the military to undertake these large-scale stabilization and reconstruction operations. Finally, I present a case study of the use of Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in Afghanistan to lead the American and coalition stabilization effort. Examining the evolution of the PRTs in Afghanistan reveals that they failed to achieve their three-fold mission of improving security, governance, and development for three principle reasons. I analyze each of the three mission areas with respect to how they were affected by these three factors, and how the PRTs in some cases overcame them. I close with a number of proposed initiatives that will help to address these factors, in anticipation of future stabilization operations.
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  • In Copyright
  • Crescenzi, Mark J. C.
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2012

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