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Security Capacity Building

Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance
July 5, 2011



SUBJECT: Terms of Reference -- lSAB Study on Security Capacity Building

The International Security Advisory Board (lSAB) is requested to undertake a study of U.S. efforts to build the security capacity of our foreign partners.

The United States annually spends billions of dollars on efforts to improve the security capacity of nations around the globe. Such security capacity building is a prime mission of the United States. It involves a range of programs and activities, including military education and training, military equipping and financing, and capacity building in the security and justice sector (i.e., training, education, and/or equipping for court and detention officials and police and border forces). The current U.S. approach to security capacity building would benefit from a fundamental review of the goals of this effort and its effectiveness. The importance of such security capacity building is not the question; the issues are whether the United States' approach is appropriately scoped and effective, achieves a clear set of appropriate goals, and represents the best use of U.S. resources. The lSAB review of U.S. security capacity building may identify different national goals, revise current key assumptions underpinning U.S. policy, and could help the United States evaluate and better target assistance. The need is for a strategic level analysis across U.S. security capacity building efforts, not a study focused on program-level evaluations of specific existing programs.

It would be of great assistance if the ISAB review of security capacity building could examine and assess:

  • Whether adequate metrics and evaluation procedures are in place to measure efficiency and effectiveness;
  • The clarity and appropriateness of current security capacity building goals and the extent to which these effectively and sufficiently contribute to achieving broad U.S. national objectives;
  • Criteria for deciding resource allocations, by level, among and within countries, measures for determining the return on the U.S. investment, and what can be done to improve the results of U.S. investment;
  • The risks associated with security sector assistance approaches that do not comprehensively address the full spectrum of security institutions within a recipient nation. The study may explore the risks of U.S. assistance to militarized countries, the nature of threat assumptions, root causes of insecurity, internal vs. external security, and the ability of countries to employ and effectively maintain U.S.-provided programs and equipment;
  • Whether the U.S. approach to such security capacity building is appropriately scoped in terms of the different types of assistance provided and the goals of specific assistance; and
  • Whether the interagency is appropriately organized (authorities, funding, manpower, etc.).

During its conduct of the study, the ISAB may take on additional tasks within this delineated focus, as it deems necessary. I request that you complete the study in 180 days. Completed work should be submitted to the ISAB Executive Directorate no later than January 17, 2012.

The Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security will sponsor the study. The Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs will support the study. Tom Cooney will serve as the Executive Secretary for the study and Chris Herrick will represent the ISAB Executive Directorate.

The study will be conducted in accordance with the provisions of P.L. 92-463, the "Federal Advisory Board Committee Act." If the ISAB establishes a working group to assist in its study, the working group must present its report or findings to the full ISAB for consideration in a formal meeting, prior to presenting the report or findings to the Department.


 Date: 07/05/2011 Description: Ellen O. Tauscher - State Dept Image  
 Ellen O. Tauscher 

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