NEWPORT, R.I. – A new book by Naval War College’s (NWC) professor Derek Reveron immediately fills a gap not just in the security studies literature but also in international relations.
“Exporting Security: International Engagement, Security Cooperation, and the Changing Face of the U.S. Military,” published by Georgetown University Press, provides an answer to “what happens next?” after a military invasion, civil war ends, UN peacekeeping operations, or weak states are identified.
It also answers how militaries can reduce political tensions through cooperative activities.
“The military in general, and the Navy in particular, has always engaged in these types of activities,” Reveron said. “Whether it was Commodore Mathew C. Perry in the 19th century or Admiral Jim Stavridis in the 21st century, military officers are key actors in U.S. foreign policy.”
He said that there has been an increase in building partnership capacity operations, which is based on the shift in U.S. foreign policy from coercive diplomacy to military engagement, to reduce security deficits around the world.
“Given the large number of U.S. military forces deployed around the world and the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is easy to miss that the military does much more than engage in combat,” Reveron said. “On any given day, military engineers are digging wells in East Africa, medical personnel provide vaccinations in Latin America, and special forces mentor militaries in southeast Asia.
“By doing so, the United States seeks to improve its international image, strengthen the state sovereignty system by training and equipping security forces, pre-empt localized violence from escalating into regional crises, and protect U.S. national security by addressing underlying conditions that inspire and sustain violent extremism,” he said. “Far from preparation for major war, these activities rely on a unique blend of charitable American political culture, latent civil-military capacity, and ambitious military officers who see the strategic landscape characterized by challenges to human security, weak states, and transnational actors.”
Reveron is the EMC Informationist Chair and a professor for NWC’s National Security Decision Making (NSDM) Department. In NSDM’s intermediate course, he teaches students how to translate national strategy into theater strategy in Africa. Reveron’s pragmatic analysis strides with the department’s objectives, pin-pointing the change in the traditional image of a warrior.
“Since militaries do more than fight wars, it is imperative that officers understand the strategic rationale for security cooperation and develop inter-cultural skills to effectively work with partners in other countries,” Reveron said.
Derek Reveron, a graduate of NWC, earned his Ph.D. in public policy analysis from the University of Illinois, and taught at the U.S. Naval Academy before NWC. Dr. Reveron has lectured in more than 20 countries and serves as an editorial board member for the Naval War College Review and the National Intelligence Journal, and as a contributing editor for the New Atlanticist.
By Tyler Will
NOTE: the views expressed in Exporting Security are Derek Reveron’s own, and do not speak for the U.S. Naval War College. Additionally, his views do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Naval War College, the Department of the Navy or Department of Defense or any other agency or branch of the U.S. government.
From Georgetown University Press:
From Confrontation to Cooperation: The U.S. Military as a Foreign Policy Tool
WASHINGTON, D.C. — When it comes to the security of the country, the United States is more concerned that Pakistan will fail than it is that Russia will attack Western Europe. This new balance of security risk in the world has made security assistance to friendly countries a key pillar of U.S. military strategy. Currently, the U.S. places American officers and non-commissioned officers in over 150 countries training, mentoring, and professionalizing other militaries. Of course, the U.S. is deeply occupied with the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also on any given day, military engineers are digging wells in East Africa, medical personnel are providing vaccinations in Latin America, and special forces are mentoring militaries in southeast Asia.
Without security, democratization and development in third world countries are not possible. Therefore, promoting allies’ militaries has become essential for U.S. national security, according to Derek Reveron, author of Exporting Security. By strengthening partner countries to provide for their own security, he argues, the U.S. seeks to improve its international image, strengthen the state sovereignty system, prevent localized violence from escalating into regional crises, and address underlying conditions that inspire and sustain violent extremism. In Exporting Security, Reveron provides a comprehensive analysis of the shift in U.S. foreign policy from coercive diplomacy to cooperative military engagement, exploring the methods used to reduce security deficits around the world. He examines how and why the U.S. military is an effective tool of foreign policy and the implications of this increased policy role.
David W. Barno, lieutenant general, U.S. Army (Ret.), former U.S. commander in Afghanistan, and senior advisor and senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, asserts that Reveron “argues persuasively that the ‘next’ U.S. military will be one less fixated on preparing for high-tech future fights than a force centrally engaged in security cooperation abroad: quietly deploying advice, assistance, and the power of the democratic example . . . This is a realistic vision of our future global military footprint—one that's already beginning to play out today.”