Small Wars Journal

Stimson Releases New Report on Security Assistance

Sat, 04/23/2011 - 2:15pm
A New Way Forward: Rebalancing Security Assistance Programs and Authorities by Gordon Adams and Rebecca Williams, Stimson Center.

As the Arab world struggles to emerge from oppressive, generations-old autocracies, America's robust program to train and equip foreign militaries has become a focus of attention. The impact of US security assistance to the region is ambiguous, at best. Providing military equipment and training has helped keep autocrats in power but may have also provided us with a vital communication link to the Egyptian military as the crisis evolved in that country.

The Stimson Center's Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense program released a timely new report on security assistance. The report argues that US security assistance programs are now at a turning point, given the drawdown of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and the events in the Middle East, and that now is the time to reevaluate the purposes of such assistance and the framework which has defined them for the past six decades.

A New Way Forward proposes that the expansion of security assistance programs at DOD be reversed and that future programs be focused in a broader goal of governance. The report provides a list of guiding principles for rebalancing US security assistance programs, recommendations for the executive and legislative branches, and a transition strategy.

A New Way Forward: Rebalancing Security Assistance Programs and Authorities.

More: Report: Return U.S. Security Assistance Role to State Dept. by Kate Brannen, Defense News.


This report is probably one of the best overviews of Security Assistance whether you agree with its conclusions or not. But I certainly agree with this one:

"These differences in timing and overlapping goals suggests the need for a more strategic approach to US security assistance policy, one that brings rationality to these assistance programs based on an evaluation of their performance, and their link to broader US national security and foreign policy objectives."