Building Other People’s Armies: Military Capacity Building and Civil-Military Relations during International Interventions
Neads, Alexander Stephen
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
This thesis is embargoed to comply with the requirements of the Ministry of Defence Research Ethics Committee, and to enable publication.
Reason for embargo
This thesis is embargoed to comply with the requirements of the Ministry of Defence Research Ethics Committee, and to enable publication. The required five year embargo period is necessary for two reasons: 1. The thesis contains material of a potentially sensitive nature relating to recent military operations, which will remain of relevance for some time. 2. Sections of the research contained in this thesis were conducted under the purview of the Ministry of Defence Research Ethics Committee (MODREC), under protocol number 570/MODREC/14. In order to ensure compliance with the conditions of release imposed by the Ministry of Defence, elements of this thesis may require institutional clearance for wider publication. This has not yet been received.
Following state-building campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, the UK has increasingly eschewed large-scale intervention in favour of local proxy forces. Whilst this strategy might appeal to the war-weary and cash strapped interventionist, frequent use of military capacity building as a tool of foreign policy inevitably raises questions about the accountability of those local forces being trained. This thesis examines the exportation of Western concepts of civil-military relations into the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF), carried out by the British-led International Military Advisory and Training Team (IMATT) during intervention and post-conflict stabilisation in Sierra Leone. It argues that external interventionists can reshape local military culture, to promote both democratic civil-military norms and professional military effectiveness, but only through extensive institutional change. In Sierra Leone, IMATT attempted to change the organisational culture of the RSLAF by reforming its institutional mechanisms for socialisation, training, education and promotion. By inculcating a new normative ethos in a cohort of junior RSLAF officers, IMATT sought to promulgate cultural change throughout the military via a structured process of intra-service competition and generational replacement. This novel blend of internal and external processes of military change challenges existing scholarship on military innovation and adaptation, advancing our understanding of the relationship between military culture, military change, and external intervention. However, this process of institutional redevelopment and cultural change in the RSLAF proved to be both heavily contested and deeply political, ultimately leading to partial results. Consequently, IMATT’s experience of RSLAF reform holds important implications for the study of civil-military relations and security sector reform, and with it, the conduct of contemporary military capacity building and liberal intervention.
University of Exeter
PhD in Strategy and Security