December 9, 2016 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs George Ingram, Carolyn Miles, and Connie Veillette
MFAN applauds Congress for prioritizing principles of accountability in the recently approved FY17 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). We have long supported greater transparency and monitoring and evaluation across all U.S. foreign assistance programs, which will now be embedded in Department of Defense (DOD) security cooperation budgets and programs. Knowing the scope of DOD funding for security cooperation and objectively evaluating the outcomes achieved is vital for Congress and civilians in partner countries to conduct effective oversight.
“We are particularly encouraged by the new Chapter 16 of Title 10 on Security Cooperation, and specifically Section 383, which requires assessment, monitoring and evaluation, identification of lessons learned, and recommendations for improving security cooperation programs and activities. Additionally, on the transparency side, DOD will now be required to submit an annual budget request and justification for all security cooperation programs and activities,” said Connie Veillette, MFAN Co-Chair and Senior Fellow at The Lugar Center.
“This language is a huge step forward for the Department of Defense, which has lagged behind other U.S. agencies involved in foreign aid when it comes to transparency and monitoring and evaluation. With these accountability provisions in place, DOD can better ensure the effectiveness and coherence of its security cooperation programs,” said George Ingram, MFAN Co-Chair and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.
“We are also pleased to see the inclusion of Section 384 on security cooperation workforce development. Producing timely and high-quality data and evaluations cannot be done without adequate staff capacity and expertise,” said Carolyn Miles, MFAN Co-Chair and President and CEO of Save the Children.
DOD has already begun to demonstrate a commitment to improving transparency and evaluation practices of security cooperation, and these new provisions in the FY17 NDAA will help support those efforts. On the heels of enactment earlier this year of the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act, we would also like to commend the bipartisan leadership in the 114th Congress, which has made huge strides on pushing forward legislation that promotes foreign aid effectiveness.