New Report: The Expanding Scope of U.S. Security Assistance Since 9/11

Report – The Expanding Scope of U.S. Security Assistance Since 9/11 and more



September 13, 2021

New Report: The Expanding Scope of U.S. Security Assistance Since 9/11

Security Assistance Monitor, September 2021

A new report from the Security Assistance Monitor examines the developments in U.S security assistance since the September 11th attacks, highlighting strategic, thematic, and geographic trends in the security cooperation enterprise over the past two decades. The report – The Expanding Scope of U.S. Security Assistance Since 9/11 – finds that U.S. security assistance has expanded dramatically since the events of September 11, 2001, reflecting evolving national security priorities in the post-9/11 era and reshaping the U.S. government’s approach to foreign policy. 

Using budget documents from the State Department and Pentagon the report shows how U.S. security assistance around the world nearly doubled from $8.28 billion in FY2001 to $14.7 billion FY2004, peaking in FY2007 at $30.57 billion, before dipping back to $16.23 billion in 2020. Assistance also continued to prioritize the Middle East and North Africa but expanded dramatically in South Asia as the war in Afghanistan accelerated. Conversely, as the US shifted focus from counter-drug to counterterror operations, the Western Hemisphere, and Latin America in particular, saw steep cuts in its aid packages, dropping from peak between FY2001-FY2004 of 11.69% of the budget ($5.79 billion during those years), to just 3.91% of the budget between FY2017-FY2020 ($3.01 billion during those years).

Additionally, security assistance shifted from a largely Department of State-controlled endeavor to one that favored Department of Defense programs over time. The State Department share of security aid budgets fell from 79.09% in FY2001 to 35.54% by FY2007, before returning to a relative parity with the Pentagon in subsequent years. 

The report also provides critical context for the current security assistance landscape as the U.S. pivots from a focus on counterterrorism to that of Great Power Competition.

To read the full report and its findings click here


Security Assistance News & Research Roundup

News & Blog Posts

France 24, September 10

Tech giants have made billions from contracts with the U.S. military and “agencies central to the War on Terror.” The Department of Defense alone has spent $43.8 billion on Big Tech contracts since 2004 as the defense industry has “grown increasingly digitized,” a new report finds. 

Business Standard News, September 9

Business Standard News reports that the global security market is slated to grow by $32 billion by 2027 at an annual rate of approximately 4.5%, underscoring the continued rise of private contractors’ influence in international security. 

Philippine SECDEF: Mutual Defense Treaty Review Must Assess U.S. Commitment to Philippines

USNI News, September 8

The Philippine’s Secretary of Defense Delfine Lorenzana argued that the United States should explicitly define its military relationship with the Philippines. Of particular concern was how it would respond to future Chinese incursions of shoals claimed by the Philippines.

U.S. Probes Examine Raytheon’s Dealings With Qatari Defense Contractor

Wall Street Journal, September 7

The SEC is investigating whether Raytheon Technologies orchestrated bribes from 2014-2016 to Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, a member of the Qatari royal family. Allegedly, the bribes were intended to facilitate the completion of an arms sale contract.

Egypt accused of widespread state-sanctioned killings of dissidents

The Guardian, September 7

A new report from Human Rights Watch concludes that the Egyptian government sanctioned the murder of Egyptian dissidents by security forces from 2015 through 2020. The investigation concludes that Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s military dictatorship, which receives roughly $1.3 billion in U.S. security assistance per year, killed at least 14 individuals in a manner that was “deliberate and unlawful.” The revelations arrive just as Congress is expected to announce whether or not it will withhold $300 million in security assistance based on human rights concerns.

South Korea successfully tests SLBM from new submarine

Yonhap News Agency, September 7

In wake of the U.S. decision to waive range restrictions on missiles employed by the Republic of Korea Armed Forces, South Korea announces that it has become the eighth country in the world to successfully field a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) capability. The decision to waive Korea’s missile range restrictions also resulted this week in the development of a South Korean task force to explore options for the development of military space capabilities.

Military Faction Stages Coup in Mineral-Rich Guinea

Wall Street Journal, September 5

A faction of the Republic of Guinea Armed Forces, led by special forces commander Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, has announced that it has taken control of the country’s government from President Alpha Conde. From 2001 to 2020, the U.S. provided the Guinean military with just under $20 million in security sector assistance and military education/training.

B-52 bombers train with Japanese and Indonesian fighters after deploying to Guam

Stars and Stripes, September 3

U.S. B-52 Straofotress bombers, along with 230 accompanying airmen, joined aircraft from the Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Indonesian F-16s in the Pacific. The purpose of the multilateral exercise was to conduct “training to enhance deterrence and response capabilities” and to “[project] U.S. airpower and resolve to North Korea, China, and Russia.”

A New Lawsuit Illustrates the Problem of U.S. Guns in Mexico

Center for American Progress, September 2

Mexico is suing several major US gunmakers over their role in the proliferation of small arms in Mexico during its violent war on drugs. As of 2020, roughly 70% of homicides in Mexico involved small arms.  


Research, Analysis, and Opinion


The Army Needs to Understand the Afghanistan Disaster

Wall Street Journal, September 8

Frank Sobchak and Matthew Zais contend that in order to properly understand the U.S. Army’s failings in Afghanistan, an independent investigative civilian commission is needed.

America’s High-Tech Problem in Low-Tech Wars

Small Wars Journal, September 8

In an article for the Small Wars Journal, Michael Ferguson argues that U.S. interventions and security assistance efforts rely too heavily on revolutionary tech that is unsustainable and ineffective in certain scenarios. He claims that overconfidence in new technologies led to miscalculations about what could be accomplished in harsh terrain such as Afghanistan, especially in the face of complex and poorly defined mission objectives. 

Afghanistan: A Tragic Lesson of the US Military’s Flawed Approach to Capacity Building

Just Security, September 6

Researcher Andrea Walther-Puri argues that, in Afghanistan, the U.S. adopted an insurmountably flawed approach to capacity building. Walther-Puri notes that the U.S. security cooperation philosophy almost always fails to make “results-based decisions” while ignoring “a growing body of academic research that links military assistance to increased terrorist activity.”


Data Fact of the Week:

State vs. Defense Department Share of U.S. Security Assistance Between FY2001-FY2020

The graphic above illustrates how the share of the U.S. security assistance budget manage by the department of defense has grown over the past two decades. The State Department share of security aid budgets fell from 79.09% in FY2001 to 35.54% by FY2007, before returning to a relative parity with the Pentagon in subsequent years. 

The data comes from SAM’s latest report – The Expanding Scope of U.S. Security Assistance Since 9/11. Read the full publication here

From the U.S. Government


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Upcoming Events (All Online)

9/14: AI and Allies in the Indo-Pacific: Enhancing Shared Security and Defense, Wilson Center
9/14: From Gender to Geopolitics: Towards a Feminist Foreign Policy in South Asia, Stimson Center
9/14: Covid, Conflict, and Climate: Food Insecurity Today and the Way Forward, Stimson Center
9/14: Power and complacency: How the US can succeed in a new era of competition, American Enterprise Institute
9/14: Future Security Forum 2021 (Day Two), New America
9/15: Central America at 200: What does the next phase of regional integration look like?, Atlantic Council
9/15: How Korea Can Unleash the Power of Data, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
9/15: The Strategy of Denial, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
9/16: Future Foreign Policy series: Congress and AUMF repeal, Atlantic Council
9/16: Becoming a digital power: Japan’s path for domestic transformation and international influence, Brookings
9/16: Defense Leadership Series: John Allen, Middle East Institute
9/19: Ocean Nations: An Indo-Pacific Islands Dialogue, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
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