Discusses the ability of the military in less industrialized countries, particularly Peru, to generate economic and social progress. Military forces may contribute to social mobility and economic development, but simultaneously monopolize strategic resources and engage in irrelevant Byzantine conspiracies. However, we cannot judge the third-world military services' political activities by the values of American constitutional democracy, since these governments are frequently delicate civil-military coalitions. Nor do military expenditures on sophisticated modern hardware indicate unconcern with progress, because the services cannot neglect modernization. The best guides to the services' long-term orientations and objectives are their historic institutional policy precedents. The Peruvian military government seems committed to national development, using authoritarian restraints on consumption, local radicals, and foreign investors. Its long-term policy precedents, however, center on institutional autonomy and survival, public order and control of remote areas, and foreign policy and boundary questions, in addition to national development. 4 pp.