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The author explores here the key national security issue of our time : how to effectively build partner militaries. Given the complex and complicated global security environment, volatile US defense budgets, and an increasingly connected (and often unstable) world, the United States has an ever-deepening interest in strengthening fragile states. Particularly since World War II, it has often chosen to do so by strengthening partner militaries. It will continue this practice, the author predicts, given US sensitivity to casualties, the constrained fiscal environment, the nature of modern nationalism, increasing transnational security threats, the proliferation of fragile states, and limits on US public support for military interventions. However, the record of success is thin. While most analyses of these programs emphasize training and equipment, this book argues that this approach is misguided. Instead, given the nature of fragile states, the author focuses on the outsize roles played by two key actors : the US military and unhelpful external actors. With a rich comparative case-study approach that spans Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, she unearths provocative findings that suggest the traditional way of working with foreign militaries needs to be rethought.