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This two-part series describes shortcomings in the current U.S. approach to security assistance in the context of broader governance. Part two of the series will examine weaknesses in the U.S. government’s current security assistance policies and programs and recommend measures the U.S. government should take to develop more coherent strategies and effective tools for addressing the interrelated challenges of improving governance and security.

From extremist attacks against civilians in Afghanistan to police abuse of Muslim community members in Kenya, people struggle every day with security threats that violate other basic human rights and inhibit development. Security assistance—the aid, arms, and training provided to other countries’ militaries and police forces—can be a helpful tool to foster stability. 

For years, Afghanistan has been rated one of the most corrupt countries in the world and the massive infusion of foreign aid, including military and police aid, has often exacerbated, if not fueled, the problem. To help countries furnishing aid to countries like Afghanistan, Transparency International’s new report, Corruption: Lessons from the International Mission in Afghanistan provides helpful insights and recommendations on how to reduce these problems and consequences.

I’ve identified 71 different programs in the U.S. Defense Department’s budget that provide aid to other countries’ militaries and police forces. Here they are listed in a six-page PDF.

By contrast, there are only eight military and police aid programs in the actual foreign aid budget. That’s the budget, guided by the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, that the...

Combining the State and Defense Department’s FY 2016 requests, the administration is seeking to provide at least $18.7 billion in security assistance worldwide in FY 2016, a 5 percent increase from FY 2015 and a 13.2 percent increase from FY 2014 (see Figure 1). These totals come from a new Security Assistance Monitor fact sheet released today as part of a briefing we’re sponsoring entitled “Assessing Proposed U.S. Security Assistance to Africa, Latin America & Middle East.”

As these countries continue to engage in airstrikes against targets in Yemen with support from the United States, here is a breakdown of what the United States has been providing since FY 2009, and what they might be using during the operation.

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