Date of Graduation

Fall 2019


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

John Rose


nation-building, insurgency, counterinsurgency, Vietnam, El Salvador, Afghanistan, Iraq

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies | Military History | Other International and Area Studies | United States History


U.S. defense policy has often relied on a strategy of nation-building to reform the local government and address the root causes of the instability in a given nation or region. This strategy has, in recent years, been criticized for being ineffective and a wasteful drain on American resources. This paper will determine if such criticism is valid by analyzing the performance of four security environments where such a strategy was used: Vietnam, El Salvador, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The paper will determine if such a strategy was effective in these conflicts by analyzing the progress of reforms and, when possible, the final outcome of the conflict.


© Joseph Valles

Open Access