MILITARY SOFT POWER IS NOT AN OXYMORON: USING PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ANALYTIC APPROACHES TO EXAMINE GOALS AND EFFECTS OF U.S. MILITARY EDUCATIONAL EXCHANGE PROGRAMS
McGee, Anne E.
Current, less traditional threats to global security and stability call for changes in how we address national security goals. A number of studies have highlighted the importance of soft power in this new international environment. While such programs have long been a useful tool of the Department of State, little attention has been paid to a long-standing Defense soft power program with strong parallels to State's educational exchanges - the attendance by foreign military officers at U.S. staff and war colleges.This thesis contends that military educational exchange programs are highly relevant examples of public diplomacy by using close analysis of their history and evaluation of their program objectives and outcomes, such as support for the international order and development of mutual relationships, as well as the values that these exchanges promote. After establishing the relevance of public diplomacy for analyzing the military's educational exchanges, this paper uses elements of the emerging interdisciplinary academic field of public diplomacy theory to craft a multi-part theoretical framework. Analysis of the program objectives using this public diplomacy-based framework provides new insights into the effectiveness of military educational exchanges by identifying parallel causalities in the more-examined civilian programs. Finally, a review of the current state of effectiveness assessment approaches will identify those showing the most promise of establishing a causal link between programs and outcomes, not merely identifying correlation.Overall, this study reveals that military educational exchanges, by functioning as public diplomacy programs with all of public diplomacy's potential effects on values-related attitudes and behaviors, directly and indirectly educate and build relationships with foreign officers in ways that support our national goals of global stability and international order. While currently effective, these programs should move towards relying more on networks of relationships and less on messaging. One way to do that is for military education institutions to further emphasize their dialogic seminar focus, rather than their values-advocacy monologic field studies programs, to support Congressional values-related intentions. Another is to incentivize American students to further engage with International Fellows by creating more opportunities for collective interaction in and out of the classroom.Our ultimate goal for military educational exchanges should be a more collaborative approach, as opposed to a dialogic one. This, plus a robust American/International Alumni connectivity network, can create an epistemic community of professional military thinkers who share a common perspective learned in the U.S. These networks can help make up for the shortcomings of traditional government hierarchies in responding to complex global instability, by improving governments' scope, speed and range. Future use of public diplomacy approaches to analyze military educational exchanges will further increase our understanding of how to enhance and expand their impacts.
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