Theses and Dissertations


Barbier, Mary Kathryn

Committee Member

Thompson, Joseph

Committee Member

Damms, Richard

Committee Member

Lang, Andrew

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Embargo 2 years

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of History


This study addresses the role of Cold War-era American law enforcement and intelligence institutions in shaping U.S. grand strategy and carrying out paramilitary operations. It examines American civil-military relations through the formal and informal relationships between the U.S. military, private organizations, and American law enforcement personnel within a framework I call “associational defense.” The concept provides a framework for observing and comprehending the existence of an American garrison state. While police institutions are civil institutions and not military organizations, law enforcement possessed a paramilitary mission throughout the Cold War and into the War on Drugs and the Global War on Terrorism. During the 1950s, under the National Security Council’s 1290-d Program, later renamed the Overseas Internal Security Program in 1957, American police officers at the municipal, state, and federal levels engaged in numerous joint overseas operations, supported the U.S. Military Assistance Program, independently trained foreign police recruits in countersubversive strategies, and helped develop global intelligence networks. By the end of 1962, more than 200 agencies and departments of the U.S. federal government assisted in training international police forces, supported by 63 state, 34 county, 276 municipal police and government agencies, and 203 civilian organizations.

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