Major Jahara Matisek, USAF, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Military and Strategic Studies at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Dr. William Reno is a Professor in the Political Science Department at Northwestern University.
If one accepts that the American military is the most powerful armed force in human history, why does it have a mixed record when it comes to building up foreign armies in weak states?
Cameroon, the central African country once known as an oasis of stability amongst volatile neighbors, is falling apart. Recent disturbing images emerging depict a country descending into violent civil war as the Cameroonian government fights to quash an Anglophone separatist movement. Thousands of innocent civilians have fled to neighboring Nigeria and Chad to avoid the violent atrocities orchestrated by both sides.
The Army's 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) deployed downrange to bolster the U.S. training, advisory, and assistance mission in Afghanistan four months ago, and so far the unit's impact on the ground has been, well, "positive" — or, at least, according to a new Pentagon report.
Less than a month after announcing the upcoming deployments of thousands of U.S. troops to Afghanistan to relieve existing forces ahead of the spring fighting season, the Army says those soldiers will be accompanied by a fresh batch of combat advisors. The coming deployment marks a historic first: On Jan. 11, the branch announced the deployment of roughly 500 specially trained soldiers with the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB), to provide training and advisory functions for the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces.