Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Craig M. Brandt, PhD

Second Advisor

Richard Taliaferro, PhD


Since the 'Truman Doctrine' was enunciated in 1947, the United States has pursued its foreign policy objectives using various forms of economic and military assistance. With the majority of this assistance aimed at containing communist expansionism, the United States' allies became increasingly dependent upon large amounts of grant military assistance. As President John F. Kennedy assumed office the economic burden of this grant assistance came under increasing scrutiny. This study analyzes the role of the Kennedy administration in the evolution of military assistance from grants to sales. An in-depth literature review focusing on historical reviews of this topic, and congressional testimony regarding the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 was conducted to trace the development of military sales policy during this period. An examination of Kennedy administration actions with regard to Cold War nuclear policy, Latin American challenges, instability in Southeast Asia, and the influence of Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, indicates a policy shift in the method used to deliver military assistance. These policies, and the actions of McNamara indicate an increasing reliance upon foreign military sales as the primary mode of supplying military assistance. Foreign policy, Military assistance, Foreign military sales, President (United States)

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number



The author's Vita page is omitted.

Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Logistics and Acquisition Management of the Air Force Institute of Technology.