MILITARY PROFESSIONALISM AND THE FUTURE OF CIVIL-MILITARY RELATIONS IN AFRICA
Wilkerson, Richard T.
Piombo, Jessica R.
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Transnational crime, violent extremism, insecurity, and instability are common challenges that negatively impact U.S. interests in Africa, including democracy promotion, development, trade, peace, and security. Professional African militaries are one potential solution to these challenges. Toward this end, U.S. military training and professional education has increased in Africa since 2002. Building professional militaries can improve security but also presents a moral dilemma. African regimes are often criticized for poor governance—including patrimonial, kleptocratic, and authoritarian rule—and African armies are often political in nature. In this regard, this thesis investigated whether U.S. training and professional education encourages democratic civil-military relations or simply provides rulers with more lethal militaries. From a comparison of four case studies, the effects of U.S. security assistance to El Salvador and Colombia during the 1980s and 1990s were compared to the political and military environments of modern Cameroon and Senegal to determine potential outcomes of current and future training and professional education programs there. Results show likely increases in soldiering skills but indeterminate effects on the professionalism required for transition to democratic civil–military relations. This transition is more probable when both the partner state’s regime and military are reform-minded, and reforms are implemented throughout the defense sector.
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