“The presence of US military installations and personnel around the world has been a defining feature of the global order since WWII,” said Stravers, a PhD Candidate in the Government Department and co-Principal Investigator on the project. “However, we know very little about the effects that those deployments have on local communities, even though we’ve been in some of these places for decades. We don’t know much about the public’s opinion of them, how installations impact crime in the surrounding area, or how and why organizations protest the US presence. We intend to fix that.”
The other Principal Investigators on the project, Dr. Michael Allen at Boise State University, along with Dr. Carla Martinez Machain and Dr. Michael Flynn at Kansas State University have researched issues such as US deployments’ effects on FDI within host nations, aggregate crime trends, and reductions in host nation defense spending.
They team formed after they all encountered similar hurdles in proceeding with research, because of the lack of subnational data. “We were unable to explore questions concerning individual attitudes toward the US military presence and how people behave with another nation’s military in their community,” said Stravers. “This grant will help us understand the sustainability of the US position and the stability of world order at the micro-level, in countries that host strategically valuable military forces.”
The US Department of Defense is keen to understand these issues as well, which is why it supports basic social science research through the Minerva Research Initiative. Minerva funds relevant research that speaks to current or near-term challenges the military is confronting, and the data will be available for public consumption when the three-year study is complete.
Earlier this year, the Clements Center provided Andrew and his team a Grant in History, Strategy, and Statecraft for a pilot study in three Latin American nations that provided a proof of concept and an opportunity to refine research questions.
“There just isn’t much data about how the US’ overseas military presence shapes, and is shaped by the political, economic, and social environments of host states,” noted Stravers. “Thankfully, the Clements Center provided funding to help us get off the ground. The questions we will answer are so vital to understanding an important piece the international system that we have all come to take for granted.”