The Stimson Center has launched the Child Soldiers Prevention Act (CSPA) implementation tracker, an interactive and comprehensive online tool to help advocates, lawmakers, and other stakeholders monitor the law’s effect and serve as a tool for policymakers and the public to examine U.S. arms transfers and military assistance to governments with documented records of child soldier recruitment or use.
The tracker provides interactive data mapping platforms, with visualizations and easy-to-understand data on U.S. security cooperating and engagement with countries known to recruit and employ child soldiers. In 2008, Congress passed the CSPA aimed expressly at preventing the exploitation of children in armed conflict by leveraging U.S. arms sales and military assistance to prompt governments to end the recruitment or use of child soldiers. The law took effect in 2009 and contains several elements to help prevent and ultimately end the use of children as tools of warfare around the world.
The CSPA prohibits seven types of U.S. arms sales and military assistance that fall under both Departments of State and Defense accounts.
The tracker captures information based on the terms of the law itself and examines four key elements on an annual basis to inform analyses of the law’s implementation:
The countries identified on the annual CSPA list,
The types of U.S. arms sales and military assistance relevant to each country that are prohibited by the law,
The type of national interest waiver that may be applied to each country – e.g., a full or partial waiver, or no waiver, and
The amount of U.S. arms sales and military assistance that are either prohibited or allowed through a waiver for each country following the U.S. president’s annual determination of the national interest waivers.
The tracker is the only consolidated tool of its kind, using open-source information – pulled from government documents – and packages all of the information together to provide the U.S. executive branch, Congress, the public, and the media with an essential resource that demonstrates how the United States implements the CSPA and maintains its commitment to prevent the use of child soldiers around the world.
The House Appropriations State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee released its FY22 foreign aid funding bill before its mark-up, which proposes $300 million in aid conditioned on human rights and with only $150 million subject to a national security waiver.
The United Kingdom sold more than $20 million worth of arms to 39 countries characterized by U.S.-based organization Freedom House as “not free” because of their poor human rights & civil liberties records, reports Mark Townsend for The Guardian. These countries include Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.
A legal campaign to expose details about Israeli arms exports came to an end this week, as the country’s Supreme Court not only rejected a petition regarding tracking technology made by an Israeli cyber company, but also shut the door on all future petitions.
The United Arab Emirates has given Italy until Friday to pull its forces from a military base in the Gulf country in apparent retaliation for Rome’s blocking of arms sales to Abu Dhabi earlier this year.
A group of Yemeni civilians are asking the UK government to account for its role in the Saudi drone campaign in Yemen, which has enjoyed the support of US security sector assistance since the Obama administration. In a letter to the Ministry of Defense, the civilians, many of them drone strike survivors, ask specifically about the role of UK drone pilots and intelligence in planning and executing the strikes
U.S. President Joe Biden has officially expressed his support for continued security assistance to Afghanistan post-withdrawal via a request to Congress for $3.3 billion aid allocation to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces in 2022.
Tunisian President Kais Saied has announced that Tunisia will not accept foreign military installations or foreign troops. The rebuke comes on the heels of comments by AFRICOM commander GEN. Stephen Town indicating U.S. interest in sending military advisors to the north African nation.
Alvite Ningthoujam of the Symbiosis School of International Studies argues that China is making a credible effort to increase its share of the Middle Eastern arms market by seeking to meet demand from “affluent Persian Gulf nations” like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE.
In response to a recent Center for American Progress report recommending the reestablishment of the State Department “as the overseer of all U.S. foreign assistance,” Janae Diaz and Brent Sadler of the Heritage Foundation argue that such a reform would shut key stakeholders out of the security assistance enterprise. Instead, the authors argue that State should “[share] directive authority and decision-making power with the entity most relevant to each program’s purpose” (e.g. Defense Department for military assistance, Justice Department for justice system reform).
Amisha Parikh-Friese urges the United States to end its short-sighted security assistance programs that arm militia groups in the Sahel that carry out atrocities and exacerbate instability, arguing that American support is myopic and counterproductive to security.