Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Gerald Regier


Past research and government reports document that Security Force Assistance (SFA) provided by the United States to partner nations often failed to achieve the desired impact of developing the capacity and capability of the partner to defeat an insurgency and maintain security. A lack of research and available data inhibit the identification of reasons SFA programs fail. In this qualitative phenomenological study, the perspectives of recipients of training were explored to understand the factors that impact the development of capability and capacity as a result of SFA training. The agency theory was applied as the theoretical framework in the study to examine possible conflicting objectives between the United States and the partner nation. The research questions addressed the training effectiveness by exploring the perspectives of Sub-Sahara African soldiers that received training and senior leaders of their army that was engaged in counterinsurgency operations. Data from interviews with 17 soldiers that received training and 5 senior leaders were coded and compared to developed major themes. The results showed evidence of limited capability development but no capacity development as a result of SFA training. The primary reason for the lack of development was that the training provided skills the recipient army was not able to incorporate in its operations or sustain. The results of this study indicated issues that practitioners could address to improve SFA programs and achieve the desired impact. Creating more effective SFA programs will help develop partner nation security forces that can maintain security for their civilian populations in which human development can thrive and eliminate safe havens for terrorist organizations that threaten the United States and its allies.