Great powers have often sought to achieve their strategic goals through the allocation of military aid. The United States is no exception, as it has frequently used military aid to influence the policies and military capacity of its allies and partners. However, our understanding of the effects of US military aid on the conflict behavior of recipient states - and especially the mechanisms underlying these effects - remains poorly understood. The results of previous studies of U.S. military aid are often contradictory, and are mostly based on over-aggregated, country-level data. In this dissertation, I argue that examining the individual-level effects will give us a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying country-level associations between US military aid and recipient behavior. I examine three research questions related to the manner in which military aid influences conflict in recipient countries. First, I explore the individual effects of U.S. IMET using semi-structures in-depth interviews and an original survey of Hungarian military officers and non-commissioned officers. This paper investigates the transmission of professional values and "democratic" norms to individual participants through the U.S. IMET programs. Second, I investigate the effects of U.S. IMET participation on civil conflict duration. I argue that government forces with more robust U.S. IMET participation will accumulate more and better military human capital, which incentivize rebels to hide and minimize their operations leading to a prolonged civil conflict. Finally, while exploring recipient states international conflict behavior I theorize that American educated and trained foreign military personnel return home with a better understanding about the role of the military as an instrument of national power, civil-military relations, the value of cooperation and the cost of war. I argue that these military personnel advise their political masters against the use of military force during international disputes leading to a decreased probability of MID initiation. I find support for each of the main arguments presented in the dissertation. Overall, this dissertation represents one of the first attempts to move beyond country-level data and explore the micro-foundations of US military assistance.


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Graduation Date





Boutton, Andrew


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Sciences


School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs

Degree Program

Security Studies




CFE0008159; DP0023501





Release Date

August 2020

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

Restricted to the UCF community until August 2020; it will then be open access.