Methodology

Overview

Over the past 15 years, U.S. security assistance or cooperation has grown significantly both in the number of programs and the amount of funding to address a range of U.S. national security and foreign policy goals abroad. The increase in programs provides new opportunities to address U.S. goals, but it has also created some confusion about nature and extent of U.S. security assistance. Although the U.S. government maintains two public databases (Foreign Aid Dashboard and Foreign Aid Explorer) to provide transparency on U.S. security aid, these databases do not yet include data on many of these new programs, especially programs funded by the Defense Department. These databases also often exclude important data on proposed U.S. security aid spending for all programs.

Recognizing the importance of having comprehensive and proposed data on key U.S. security aid programs, the Security Assistance Monitor created the U.S. military and police aid database to help researchers, media, civil society, and policy makers monitor and analyze U.S. security aid. Importantly, this database includes data on over 30 separate U.S. security aid funding accounts or programs, including many funded by the Defense Department. The database also includes proposed U.S. security aid spending. In addition, we’ve created three other databases on U.S. economic aid, U.S. trainings of foreign militaries, and U.S. arms sales to assist users in their analysis of U.S. security assistance.

All the data included in these databases originates from U.S. government reports, usually from the State Department, Defense Department, Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), Congressional Research Service (CRS), Government Accountability Office (GAO), and the White House. These reports are acquired through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, congressional offices, or U.S. government websites. As a result, these databases are much more detailed and accurate than the U.S. Foreign Assistance Dashboard. The specific source for each data point can be found in the databases by clicking on any number in the grid, clicking "Show" and then scrolling to the right to see the footnote.

As we use the data directly from U.S. government reports, the data is not adjusted for inflation but reflects the actual dollars listed in the U.S. government report. For information on how to use the databases, please check out our video tutorials. Below, please find more detail about the methodology we use for each database. If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at SAM@ciponline.org.

U.S. Military and Police Aid Database

The U.S. military aid database provides users with details on U.S. funds allocated primarily to foreign militaries and police through various U.S. security aid or cooperation programs (also known as funds or accounts) to over 160 countries or regional accounts. It includes data from Fiscal Year (FY) 2000 (except Latin America, where the data goes back to 1996) to the upcoming Fiscal Year. These programs are funded by the State Department or the Defense Department.

For most State Department-funded programs, we use the Congressional Budget Justification (CBJ)- Foreign Operations, which is released in February each year. This report provides details on allocated funds to specific countries and regions or sub-regions by program. We use this report to provide details on actual allocations from previous years, estimated allocations for the current year, and requested funds for the upcoming year. Sometimes, these reports do not provide estimates for the current year. In those cases, we use requested fund allocations from a previous year’s CBJ report.

For several of the programs, such as the Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining, and Related Programs (NADR), the State Department provides sub-category level spending by country. By clicking on one of the data points associated with the NADR program, one can see how much money is allocated to antiterrorism, weapons of mass destruction, border security, or others.

The State Department provides spending data by country for most of the programs; however, sometimes the report provides only regional-level or global-level spending data. Under the Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) program, for example, the State Department lists funding allocations to a Sub-Saharan Africa Regional line item without identifying which countries will receive the funding. In these cases, our database creates a “country” for Sub-Saharan Africa Regional to display alongside the country-level data. Allocations for specific countries within Sub-Saharan Africa will not include the regional “country” since there is no way to determine which countries will receive the funds. When we receive additional U.S. reports that provide greater country level detail on these broad line items, these details are uploaded.

For Defense Department-funded programs, we use many different reports, as there is not one main source. In the past, we used the congressionally required Section 1209 report, which provided allocation funding for most programs, until the report was discontinued after FY 2012. Since FY 2012, we have used various other reports, includng the Foreign Military Training and DoD Engagement of Activities of Interest report (FMTR), Section 1009 reports on U.S. counter-drug aid, Defense Department Budget Justification documents, Congressional Research Service (CRS), and Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports.

As Defense Department reporting is less consistent and detailed, in some cases we use actual expenditures or obligations instead of spending allocations. These include Coalition Support Funds, Global Lift and Sustain, and programs where the source is the FMTR like the Combating Terrorism Fellowship Program after the 1209 report was discontinued. In other cases, the Defense Department only provides global or regional funding details by program. To assist our users in analyzing this aid, we often provide country-level estimates for such programs based on country totals from the most recent year we have accurate country data and the new regional or global total for the program. One can identify these estimates by the footnotes.

U.S. Economic Aid Database

The economic aid database provides users with details about U.S. economic and development aid to other countries around the world. The data comes from the State Department’s Congressional Budget Justification, Foreign Operations. The report provides data on actual allocations from previous years, estimated allocations for the current year, and requested allocations for the upcoming year. In FY 2015, we provided economic and development aid details globally through 20 different programs.

U.S. Military Training Database

The U.S. military trainings database provides users with detailed information on the amount of training the United States provides to foreign militaries around the world. The data comes from the Foreign Military Training and DoD Engagement of Activities of Interest report (FMTR), Volume I. Due to congressionally-mandated reporting requirements, U.S. training of foreign country police forces is not generally included. In some cases, the report will list training provided to the police or coast guard in the FMTR, but it is not a consistent or legally binding requirement and does not represent the vast array of police training the United States conducts.

The first part of the training database shows the total number of students by a country that received military training from State or Defense Department-funded security assistance programs. This data is pulled from the State and Foreign Policy Objectives section of the FMTR (Section III). This is the only section that provides a full and accurate account of the total number of students trained. Please note, however, that the total number of individuals trained by program on this level of the database will be different than the total number of students trained by program when clicking through other levels of the database. The reason for this difference is that Section III of the report weeds out the same student taking multiple courses as well as including classified courses, whereas the Country Training Activities section includes neither.

By clicking through twice in the training database, one can find details on the recipient unit, training institution, training location, cost, and course title by U.S. security assistance program. The Country Training Activities (Section IV) of the FMTR is used to provide this added level of detail.

U.S. Arms Sales Database

The U.S. arms sales database provides detailed information on U.S. commercial and government-to-government sales of defense articles and 600 Series military equipment to foreign countries around the world. The data comes from various reports including the Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s Historical Factsbook, the State Department’s Section 655 Annual Military Assistance report, and the Commerce Department's U.S. export list. The 655 report provides details on the equipment licensed for sale based on the U.S. munitions list (USML) categories. In 2010, the 655 report stopped providing information on the actual items licensed and resorted to only providing the number of items per military item category on the USML.

Foreign Military Sales (FMS), Foreign Military Contruction Sales, and Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) programs show authorizations and deliveries of U.S. military equipment and training. Where additional details exist beyond the country totals, one can find these details by clicking on the interested amount and selecting the appropriate report (details or deliveries). In most cases, FMS has additional details on actual deliveries, whereas, DCS provides additional details for authorizations. Since it's possible to separate sales of defense articles (actual equipment) from sales of defense services (training, maintenance, etc.) within Direct Commercial Sales, we have created a separate program called Direct Commercial Sales Services. This services program only includes data for deliveries of defense services as this is the only information the State Department provides publicly.

With the Commerce Department's release of data on actual U.S. exports of 600 Series military equipment in 2015, we have included this data under a new program called Commerce Arms Sales. Items that are included in the 600 Series are military equipment that used to by controlled by the State Department under its U.S. Munitions List, but have been moved over to Commerce Department oversight in connection with Export Control Reform. These items are still used by military end-users, but are considered by the State Department as less militarily signficant.