Assessing “Security Cooperation,” and More from CRS

04.07.16 | 3 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

There are approximately 80 distinct “security cooperation” programs and statutory authorities by which the U.S. provides security assistance to foreign security forces, according to a Department of Defense tally.

The legal and institutional framework for delivering U.S. security aid to foreign countries is detailed in a new report from the Congressional Research Service.

“Over the past decade, Congress has substantially increased Department of State and Department of Defense (DOD) efforts to train, equip, and otherwise engage with foreign military and other security forces. As these efforts have increased, congressional questions and concerns have multiplied,” the CRS report said.

“Such concerns range from broad to specific–for example, the perceived lack of an overarching strategy for such assistance or, more specifically, the utility of the current legal framework, appropriate State Department and DOD roles and modes of coordination, and program effectiveness.”

“Current State and DOD security assistance and engagement efforts involve a range of activities, including ‘traditional’ programs transferring conventional arms for defense posture purposes, training and equipping regular and irregular forces for combat, conducting counterterrorism programs, and expanding education and training programs.”

“This report provides an overview of U.S. assistance to and engagement with foreign military and other security forces, focusing on Department of State and DOD roles. It lays out the historical evolution and current framework of the Department of State-DOD shared responsibility. It concludes with a brief overview of salient issues” including how to assess effectiveness, whether and how to modify the existing framework, and how to provide appropriate transparency for oversight.

A copy of the CRS report was obtained by Secrecy News. See Security Assistance and Cooperation: Shared Responsibility of the Departments of State and Defense, April 4, 2016.

(We are told that the FAS web site is currently inaccessible at the Pentagon, thanks to US Cyber Command. DoD personnel who wish to obtain a copy of this document or other materials are welcome to email me directly.)

Other new products of the Congressional Research Service that have not been publicly released include the following.

Supreme Court Vacancies That Arose During One Presidency and Were Filled During a Different Presidency, CRS Insight, April 5, 2016

Discharging a Senate Committee from Consideration of a Nomination, CRS Insight, April 5, 2016

Federal Lifeline Program: Modernization and Reform, CRS Insight, April 5, 2016

FDIC’s Plan to Meet Increased Deposit Insurance Fund Reserve Ratio, CRS Insight, April 4, 2016

High Frequency Trading: Overview of Recent Developments, April 4, 2016

Newly updated versions of previously released CRS reports include the following.

Millennium Challenge Corporation, updated April 5, 2016

Temporarily Filling Presidentially Appointed, Senate-Confirmed Positions, updated April 1, 2016

Calling Up Business on the Senate Floor, updated April 1, 2016

Telemarketing Regulation: National and State Do Not Call Registries, updated April 1, 2016

Overview of Private Health Insurance Provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), updated April 5, 2016

Agricultural Disaster Assistance, updated April 6, 2016

Maritime Territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Disputes Involving China: Issues for Congress, updated April 1, 2016

Navy Ford (CVN-78) Class Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress, updated April 5, 2016

Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)/Frigate Program: Background and Issues for Congress, updated April 5, 2016

The Army’s M-1 Abrams, M-2/M-3 Bradley, and M-1126 Stryker: Background and Issues for Congress, updated April 5, 2016

Navy Ohio Replacement (SSBN[X]) Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress, updated April 5, 2016

Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress, updated April 4, 2016