• United States Air Force Military Civic Action in Thailand, 1964-1976: Modernization, U.S. Foreign Policy, and Military Doctrine

      Immerman, Richard H.; Talton, Benjamin (Temple University. Libraries, 2012)
      This thesis examines the relationship between foreign policy and military doctrine, specifically the problems that arise when military doctrine is politicized and the military is used as an instrument of diplomatic or economic power rather than military power. It contains original research on the conduct of military civic action (MCA) by the United States Air Force in Thailand from 1964 until 1976, based largely on archival material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency. MCA has been an element of counterinsurgency doctrine since President Kennedy directed it in 1961, a role often labeled "nation-building." Like Kennedy's foreign policy, MCA had its intellectual origins in the social scientific concept of modernization theory. MCA represents the politicization of military doctrine, a method of employing forces based on social scientific theory rather than military experience. As a result of this and the realities on the ground in Thailand, the objectives of MCA did not fit the context of the Thai situation, training did not provide necessary cultural awareness, and execution was haphazard. Ultimately, the USAF failed to achieve the policy goals of MCA in Thailand. Today the U.S. continues to employ military manpower in the diplomatic, economic, and information realms while only training service members in their core specialty. Policymakers and military leaders need to determine whether to sacrifice proficiency in core specialties to enhance cultural and diplomatic skills or to rely more on those agencies traditionally responsible for those instruments of national power.