A New Way Forward: Rebalancing Security Assistance Programs and Authorities

April 20, 2011

Stimson's Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense project released its new report on security assistance policies, programs, and authorities: A New Way Forward: Rebalancing Security Assistance Programs and Authorities.

A New Way Forward examines the many authorities for security assistance, the trend toward increased funding and authorities at DOD, and the long-term framework for US security assistance programs.  This report urges a change in the current framework, which ties many programs to the operational needs of the military, to a broader framework of governance, which would link security assistance programs to US policies toward fragile states, and overall US development strategy. 

The authors, Dr. Gordon Adams and Rebecca Williams, recommend a substantive, detailed review of current authorities and programs, and an expanded role in oversight and direction for the State Department, as well as flexibility, within constraints, for DOD operational needs.

Comments about the report:

"Our security assistance efforts need to be solidly embedded in our foreign policy.  State should have a lead role in that process and this report provides one solid route for ensuring that leadership."

- Amb. Thomas Pickering, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs

"At a time when fragile states around the world are increasingly vulnerable to extremist and corrupt influences, Washington must find less costly and more effective ways to promote international security. A New Way Forward calls for a sensible realignment of security assistance programs that will go a long way to converting precious assistance dollars into maximum policy impact."

- Amb. Lincoln Bloomfield, Jr, former Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs

News articles about the report

Brannen, Kate. "Report: Return U.S. Security Assistance Role to State Dept.", Defense News, 20 April 2011.

Bennett, John. Think tank: Shift foreign assistance programs, funds back to State, The Hill, 24 April 2011.

Op-eds

Adams, Gordon and Rebecca Williams, Civilians should lead security assistance with longer-term focus, The Will and the Wallet, 25 April 2011.