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Military assistance: a tool of national security and American diplomacy

By J. J. Bahm


This thesis document was issued under the authority of another institution, not NPS. At the time it was written, a copy was added to the NPS Library collection for reasons not now known. It has been included in the digital archive for its historical value to NPS. Not believed to be a CIVINS (Civilian Institutions) title.The Military Assistance Program has been a feature of American national strategy for nearly twenty years. It began with the Greek-Turkish Aid Program of 1947 which was enacted as a commitment supporting the Truman Doctrine. This Doctrine proclaimed an American policy of aiding any state which was threatened by Communist aggression. The American containment policy evolved from this first commitment of the United States to deter Soviet expansion. In order to implement containment, the United States undertook the creation of extensive bilateral and multilateral military alliances. Under the provisions of these treaties, the United States agreed to extend military aid in the form of military equipment, training and financial support to those nations which joined the United States in mutual defense pacts. The early legislative acts which authorized and funded the many military assistance programs were essentially ad hoc laws with little planned correlation between the various programs. But it 1961, the Congress enacted a new and comprehensive law which brought nearly all the foreign assistance programs, economic as well as military, under one package. This was the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. This act remains the basic legislation for all of today's military assistance plans. Over the years, there has been a considerable amount of criticism of military assistance as being ineffective, wasteful and a give-a-way. Much of this criticism has originated in the Congress with the result that the successive presidential administrations have been continually burdened in attempting to get adequate funds for military aid. Support of military assistance has come primarily from the administration and the military services. If one examines the military assistance program in detail, it can be discovered that many vital advantages have accrued to the United States through its use. Primarily, it has enabled the allies of the United States to raise and maintain enormous military establishments with which to deter Communist expansion. It has enabled the United States to acquire vital overseas bases. Through the training programs conducted under the auspices of military aid, the united States has been able to indoctrinate thousands of foreign military personnel in matters of strategy, tactics and political science. The granting of American equipment has created a high state of standardization of Western armaments and technology. Military aid has established military elites in developing countries where often the military is the only segment of the population which is capable of maintaining order and stability. And, certainly not the least advantage, is the fact that military aid has been a vital element in cementing the many mutual defense alliances that the United States has so laboriously created. But undoubtedly, the most important advantage of military aid is that it has significantly contributed to the containment of Communism. Containment has been accomplished with relatively few limited wars and without a general world war. the only alternative to America's containment policy, with its vast network of world alliances supported by military assistance, would have been a Fortress America strategy which, in the end, could only result in the isolation of the U.S. and the demise of American democracy and independence.

Topics: Political science
Publisher: American University
Year: 1967
OAI identifier:

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