Yesterday, the Stimson Center released a new report, “A New Way Forward: Rebalancing Security Assistance Programs and Authorities,” that analyzes U.S. security assistance in a changing environment. Given the drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan and the events throughout the Middle East and North Africa, the report explores the purpose of our security assistance and the expansion of programs at the Defense Department. Ultimately, the report suggests security assistance programs should be focused on the broader goal of governance, offering appropriate action steps and recommendations for a transition strategy. The report reads:
“A narrow focus on security in US security assistance programs misses this vital connection. It de-links support for security forces from the need for effective, efficient, and accountable governance. Historically, military and other security forces empowered through security assistance programs in countries with weak governance have too often led to diminished accountability, authoritarian government, military coups, and human rights violations.”
“This report argues that the US security assistance portfolio should be restructured around the objective of effective, efficient, and accountable governance. This framework links security assistance to the objective of building effective state institutions that can provide internal and border security; protect the rule of law, including adhering to internationally recognized standards of human rights; support a duly constituted, responsive government; meet the needs of the citizens; and facilitate social and economic development.”
The report goes on to say U.S. security assistance programs should be guided by three overarching principles:
- Reinforce U.S. civilian leadership of security assistance programs;
- Maintain DOD train and equip programs; and
- Task and empower civilian capacity to implement broader security sector assistance.
To read the full report and the list of recommendations for Congress and the Administration click here.