The Department of Defense has assumed a growing role in providing assistance to foreign military and security services over the past decade, often supplanting the Department of State. The evolution of DoD security cooperation activities is traced in a new report from the Congressional Research Service.
“Since military aid became a major component of U.S. foreign assistance to counter the rise of the Soviet Union after World War II, the State Department has historically exercised the lead in security assistance activities,” CRS noted.
Over time, however, “Congress began to expand gradually the scope and character of the statutory framework by authorizing DOD to directly train, equip, and otherwise assist foreign military and other security forces….”
“As DOD’s security cooperation responsibilities and authorities have multiplied, general agreement has emerged that the statutory framework has evolved into a cumbersome system.”
“Congress has provided DOD with, by CRS’s estimate, more than 80 separate authorities to assist and engage with foreign governments, militaries, security forces, and populations, although other organizations have identified a larger number of authorities.”
Those legislative authorities for DoD security cooperation programs are tabulated in the CRS report along with associated funding levels for many of the individual programs. See DOD Security Cooperation: An Overview of Authorities and Issues, August 23, 2016.
Other new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from public release include the following.
Coalition Contributions to Countering the Islamic State, updated August 24, 2016
Heroin Trafficking in the United States, August 23, 2016
Latin America and the Caribbean: Fact Sheet on Leaders and Elections, updated August 24, 2016
Cyprus: Reunification Proving Elusive, updated August 25, 2016
Venezuela: Background and U.S. Relations, updated August 22, 2016
Federal Support for Reproductive Health Services: Frequently Asked Questions, updated August 24, 2016
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