It is unlikely that the Iraq crisis will put a damper on partner-building initiatives, although critics will certainly try to make a case that the Iraq effort, like others, backfired on the United States, said John R. Deni, professor of national security studies at the U.S. Army War College. "Sometimes U.S. objectives for what we hope to see other countries achieve are not going to mesh up very well with what they want," Deni said. "But I still think security cooperation is going to be the primary means through which we exercise our military power over the next five to seven years."...Building partner capacity is the cornerstone of U.S. Special Operations Command's vision of its future. SOCOM Commander Adm. William McRaven has been a forceful advocate of partner-capacity building programs.
Although the U.S. track record in this area is mixed — some countries take the tools and lessons the United States gives them and use them to subjugate their political competitors — the military is a strong believer in building up allies, Deni said. "Despite Iraq, I’m not ready to say this is a bad tool in the toolkit."
In private discussions, SOCOM officials said the command's new "campaign plan" mirrors the Obama administration plan the president outlined May 30 in his West Point commencement speech. The problem with current efforts, a senior military official said during a recent industry gathering, is that they are short term. "We need persistent presence," the military official said. "We are hoping we will have the resources. We’ll see what happens with this budget."The Iraq debacle could dampen the enthusiasm for training foreign armies, although the official pointed out that Iraq's special forces have been more effective because SOCOM made sure they had an equal balance of Sunnis, Shias and Kurds.