January 18, 2017 (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 commends the Department of Defense for establishing a first-ever Assessment, Monitoring and Evaluation Policy (5132.14) for security cooperation programs. This framework, adopted on January 13, represents the first time the Pentagon’s security cooperation programs will be systematically tracked, measured, and evaluated. These overseas programs make up about $9 billion of the annual Defense Department budget and include efforts ranging from counter narcotics to military training.
MFAN has long advocated for all foreign assistance programs to be rigorously monitored and independently evaluated. This policy is a major step toward more accountable and effective U.S. foreign assistance, as the Pentagon joins USAID, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and the State Department in establishing significant guidance on monitoring and evaluation.
MFAN is especially encouraged to see the Department commit to best practices of accountability and learning, with the stated aim of understanding what security cooperation programs work, why, and how to improve them. In particular, the Network is pleased to see a central focal point tasked with overseeing evaluations as well as the requirement that evaluation summaries be publicly posted online within 90 days of completion.
Last year, Congress and the Department agreed to new levels of transparency and assessment for security cooperation programs in the Defense Authorization bill. This policy is another step forward for accountability. We look forward to working with the Department and Congress in the coming months to ensure that assessment, monitoring, and evaluation of security cooperation activities are adequately prioritized, resourced, and implemented.
For more details about the policy, see this exclusive post on the MFAN blog from Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Security Cooperation Thomas W. Ross Jr.