Why do civil wars or the rise of terrorism in a country become protracted problems that are difficult to quash once they start? My dissertation seeks to provide an answer by examining how tensions between a government and its military may explain the prolonged nature of political violence. If a government sees its military as a threat to its power rather than as an ally, it may work to protect itself from a coup by undermining the military’s power and intentionally weakening its capabilities. Such an action, however, creates a weakened security environment that terrorists and insurgents can exploit. My research uses a mixed-methods approach to provide new insights to understand why and when a government may choose to coup-proof itself and how that strategy holds implications for combating political violence.