Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Craig M. Brandt, PhD

Second Advisor

Jannett Bradford, PhD


The United States employs security assistance as an instrument of foreign policy. This thesis examines how security assistance was used to achieve U.S. foreign policy objectives in Latin America since the end of World War II. Qualitative analysis was used consisting of historical and archival research of government documents and secondary sources. A literature review was conducted to discover general trends concerning security assistance to include its establishment as an arm of foreign policy, its problems, and its purpose. Presidential policies toward Latin America are analyzed during and after World War II, to include Kennedy's Alliance for Progress, Nixon Doctrine, Carter's human rights policies, and the containment policies of Reagan. The histories of five Latin American countries are examined to specifically discover how the U.S. has used security assistance to achieve its foreign policy objectives. The countries examined are Argentina, Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. Findings concerning South American countries include a tendency for the U.S. to use security assistance as an incentive to reward democratic and pro-U.S. behaviors. Findings in Central America include the use of security assistance to fight internal subversion in an effort to maintain the status quo and deter communism.

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.