Stimson in the News

Op-ed by Gordon Adams & Richard Sokolsky in Lawfare on security assistance & governance – Part II

In the first part of this article, we suggested that the success of U.S. security assistance and cooperation programs would depend heavily on the extent to which they were embedded in a broader strategy to improve governance in recipient countries. Effective, efficient, accountable, uncorrupt governance, we think, is an essential prerequisite for security assistance that achieves U.S. policy goals and creates an accountable, effective security sector and military in recipient countries.

The most direct engagement the U.S. has with the governing institutions of aid-recipient countries is the military. Setting aside the rather small proportion of U.S. foreign assistance that directly and purposely targets “governing justly and democratically,” the 25% of U.S. foreign assistance that targets peace and security constitutes a direct engagement with what is frequently the strongest sector of governance-the military and surrounding security institutions. Moreover, the security assistance funds of the Department of State are only part of the story. Over the past decade, starting with large train-and-equip programs in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Department of Defense (DoD), which has always implemented the State-funded programs, has become as significant a funder of security assistance (and what the DoD calls “security cooperation,” or “Building Partner Capacity”) as the State Department itself.

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