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U.S. Army planners working on the problem of multinational force compatibility require a planning framework to guide and focus the service’s long-term compatibility investments with partner armies of varying capabilities. This report defines and describes such a framework, called the Niche Capability Planning Framework. It provides a conceptual template for integrating the various considerations, ranging from U.S. Army capability gaps, to the politics of collaborating with foreign armies, to the coordination of Army and Department of Defense security cooperation activities, implicit in a strategy for cultivating compatible niche capabilities in non-core partner armies, which lack a stable, long-term, collaborative program of assistance with the U.S. Army. The report concludes with specific recommendations for implementing the Niche Capability Planning framework, which should, at a minimum, incorporate analyses of projected Army capability gaps, key partner characteristics, and the resources required to match capabilities with partners in a systematic way.

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The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Army and conducted by the RAND Arroyo Center.

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