Today, the United States stations military forces in nearly 180 countries and has nearly 280 diplomatic posts worldwide. Many of these contingents position U.S. military and diplomatic forces in, or adjacent to, ongoing foreign conflicts and engage local-national allies in integral roles in U.S. operations. Yet a closer look at the United States’ presence in these conflict zones reveals an unsettling reality: few measures exist to effectively protect local-national partners, despite substantial evidence that adversaries target these individuals in order to weaken U.S. operational capabilities. Given these partners’ significant sacrifices for the security of the United States—often to their own detriment and their families’ personal safety—the U.S. is morally and strategically obligated to protect local-national allies.
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