Small Wars Journal

How Defense Dollars Are Wasted on Security Assistance

How Defense Dollars Are Wasted on Security Assistance

Current U.S. security assistance programs are ineffective, and often undermine American security, according to a new report from National Center for Policy Analysis Senior Fellow David Grantham and Research Associate Braxton Clark.

The Defense Department alone administers over 60 different security assistance programs totaling anywhere from $1 billion to $10 billion in the proposed FY2017 NDAA. Giving the Pentagon greater control might “add clarity to an otherwise murky disbursement process shared between the State and Defense departments,” write Grantham and Clark.

“The real concern is U.S. defense spending in areas where the costs clearly outweigh the benefits,” says Grantham. “Given the growing threats and financial constraints of the military, Congress should consider reallocating those billions of dollars spent on training and equipping other countries to mission-critical areas within the U.S. military.”

The bottom line: Money can – and should – be spent more wisely. Congress should consider reallocating the money elsewhere in the cash-strapped U.S. military by:

  • Trimming money given directly to Somali and Nigerian forces;
  • Encouraging greater reliance on U.N. Peacekeeping Operations — of which the United States funds nearly 30 percent, or $8.27 billion in 2015-2016; and
  • Conducting an audit of existing programs.

“The proposed changes to the National Defense Authorization Act would give the Pentagon greater control over security assistance program it shares with the state department,” says Grantham. “The latest iteration of the NDAA is a welcome change and a step in the right direction.”

Read the full report.