Open Letter Urging Congressional Leadership on Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund

Middle East and North Africa

On June 16, seventeen faith and rights groups wrote an open letter to the U.S. Congress urging them not to fund the Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund (CTPF) proposed by President Obama in his recent West Point commencement address.

The letter states:

“Given the lack of information and policy engagement with Congress and others, we strongly urge that you not authorize or fund the CTPF, in either the FY2015 Defense appropriations bill or this year’s National Defense Authorization Act.”

And goes on further to argue:

The proposed $5 billion to be pulled out of Overseas Contingency Operations funds would come on top of dozens of Department of Defense training authorities created over the past decade and expanded use of DOD money for “coalition support,” “cooperative logistics,” joint training, and exercises with forces in more than 100 countries. This fund would also come on top of $8 billion in traditional State Department assistance to foreign armed forces currently being funded out of the Foreign Military Financing account in the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, as well as other related programs like the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership, which have never been subject to public audit or impact.

Additionally, the President has requested this new funding with no indication of strategic planning and no evaluation of the effectiveness of existing counterterrorism and countering violent extremism efforts. This comes in spite of a White House policy directive in April 2013 requiring that all U.S. security assistance “be evaluated based on common U.S. government assessments, multi-year strategies, and performance against measures of effectiveness.

The full letter can be read here, including the list of signees.