Dissertations and Theses

Date of Award


Document Type



International Relations


Counterinsurgency, Aid, Development


The repercussions of September 11, 2011 have been felt worldwide and have drastically changed the paradigm in which countries operate today. They have justified two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and incursion into sovereign territories in pursuit of terrorists and insurgents. As insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan have continued to thrive, Coalition countries have been forced to adjust their approach to defeating non-conventional forces that they are largely not trained to fight. This has resulted in tactics that utilize what scholars have called “Smart Power,” a mixture of both hard and soft power. Foreign aid and its distribution in COIN operations has sparked a major debate amongst scholars, soldiers and aid industry workers as to who should distribute foreign aid and what relationship the military and aid workers should have.I hypothesize that the traditional relationship between aid workers and the military in the distribution of foreign aid in COIN operations is inadequate and dysfunctional. I will argue that while both parties are important vehicles in the distribution of aid, because of the lack of coordination between them, COIN has been much less effective. Therefore, this thesis aims to study the ways in which aid is distributed by aid workers and the military, in order to uncover evidence to support my thesis and draw conclusions as to what are the best practices in aid distribution, when dealing with insurgencies and winning hearts and minds.Traditionally, military and aid workers have tried to operate separately from one another, in order to maintain impartiality. However, COIN has called for aid workers to work with troops to implement development projects and in some cases troops have been responsible themselves for implementing projects. This has resulted in protests from the development community, arguing that soldiers are unqualified to distribute aid and separation of the military and aid workers is essential to security. Using Iraq and Afghanistan as case studies, this thesis looks at how foreign aid has been utilized in COIN. In the conclusion, based on my research, I make recommendations for ways in which countries can improve distribution of foreign aid in the COIN context.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.