I have thought and referenced a theme from this Foreign Affairs piece on Afghanistan “Why America Can’t Build Allied Armies” quite a bit (highlighting mine):
U.S. military advisers are taught to prioritize their relationships with their counterparts, as “trust and confidence define how well the advisor will be able to influence the foreign security force.”
Many U.S. military advisers come to view interpersonal rapport with partners—once a tool presumed to increase influence and shape partner behavior—as the very goal of advising. When persuasion fails, advisers are instructed to avoid any steps that might jeopardize the relationship.
…The military is aiming to minimize bureaucratic headache and implement the standard operating procedures it can sustain, even if those procedures are untethered from its own theory of victory.