Security sector assistance is an integral component of U.S. national security strategy and a crucial foreign policy tool enabling foreign partners to advance U.S. national security goals; promote human rights and long-term relationship building; enhance regional security and interoperability with U.S. forces; and strengthen the professionalism of the armed forces and law enforcement agencies of allied and partner nations. The Department of State supervises and directs the U.S. Government’s security sector assistance programs, in consultation and coordination with the Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of Justice, and other interagency partners.
The Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM) Office of Security Assistance (PM/SA) oversees several security sector assistance programs funded under Title 22 of the U.S. Code: Foreign Military Financing (FMF), International Military Education and Training (IMET), and the Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) account. The Office of Global Programs and Initiatives (PM/GPI) manages the implementation of global programs funded under the PKO account. The Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) implements several Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining and Related programs (NADR). PM also coordinates joint planning and development with DoD on many of its security sector authorities under Title 10 of the U.S. Code.
Security assistance provided under these accounts is subject to the ‘Leahy laws,’ which prohibit assistance to units who are credibly implicated in a gross violation of human rights, unless the host government is taking effective steps to bring responsible members to justice or to take corrective action.
PM is committed to using program design, monitoring, evaluation, and data analysis best practices to achieve the most effective U.S. foreign policy outcomes with our security assistance resources. Our dedicated teams, tools, and data aid in our assessment of performance at the bureau, program, and project level and we continually strive to improve how to measure diplomatic progress through data.
Foreign Military Financing (FMF)
- The FMF program provides appropriated funds to assist over 50 partner nations in procuring from the United States weapons, defense articles, services, and military training in support of their sovereign defense needs.
- State manages the FMF program and directs foreign policy oversight over FMF assistance. DoD’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) serves as our implementing partner.
International Military Education and Training (IMET)
- The IMET program funds the attendance of foreign military and select civilian personnel at U.S. military professional education and training courses offered by DoD institutions of higher learning and professional schools across the United States.
- IMET training serves as a cultural exchange program by introducing students to key elements of U.S. democracy, such as civilian control of the military, separation of powers, and legislative oversight; and exposing them to U.S. values like free speech, freedom of assembly, and commitment to human rights and international law.
- IMET specifically targets current and future leadership of partner militaries by training mid- to senior-level officers and non-commissioned officers who often go on to fill senior leadership positions in their militaries and governments. For instance, the Chairman of the Jordanian Armed Forces, Chief of Staff of the Indonesian Army, Chief and Deputy Chief of the Georgian Defenses, and Director of Philippines Naval Operations are graduates of U.S. professional military education schools funded via the IMET program.
Peacekeeping Operations (PKO)
- The PKO account supports a variety of programs promoting national security objectives globally. The United States remains the largest financial contributor to UN peacekeeping – as well as the largest capacity-building contributor, reinforcing the ability of troop and police contributing countries to effectively train, deploy, and sustain peacekeeping forces in UN operations. Since 2005, the United States invested nearly $1.5 billion through our military and police peacekeeping capacity-building initiatives alone.
- PKO-funded programs: (1) support non-UN (voluntary) peacekeeping operations including the Multinational Force and Observes in the Sinai; (2) build the capacity of partner nations around the world to participate in peacekeeping operations; (3) support African partners’ conduct of counterterrorism operations against terrorist threats; (4) support the peace process and stabilization in select African countries (e.g., South Sudan); (5) enhance African maritime security; (6) support counter wildlife trafficking in select countries in Africa; and (7) support reform in Africa and globally to professionalize military and select security forces, helping ensure that they operate in accordance with international human rights standards, respect civilian control of the military, and prevent civilian harm.
There are three PKO-funded global programs: (1) the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI), which builds capacity of partner nations around the world to participate in peacekeeping operations; (2) the Global Defense Reform Program (GDRP), which builds partners’ capacity to more effectively manage their security forces, and (3) the Security Force Professionalization (SFP) program, which builds partners’ capacity to reduce civilian harm during military operations.
Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining and Related Programs (NADR)
- The Conventional Weapons Destruction (CWD) program is part of the NADR account. Since 1993 the United States has spent $3.7 billion to fund CWD programs in more than 100 countries around the world to assist them with rendering-safe vulnerable stockpiles of small arms and light weapons (including man-portable air defense systems, or MANPADS) and remediating landmines and other explosive remnants of war (ERW).
- Stockpiles of excess small arms, light weapons, and conventional ammunition pose a range of security-related threats. Where poorly-secured stockpiles include MANPADS the consequences of theft or loss could have wide-ranging, catastrophic outcomes. CWD programs assist partner governments with destroying their excess, unstable, and at-risk munitions (including MANPADS); improving physical security at munitions storage facilities; and bringing stockpile management practices into line with international standards.
- Landmines and ERW can linger for decades in post-conflict environments. In areas reeling from recent fighting, stabilization assistance efforts effectively are blocked until ERW, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and mines can be cleared from key sites. CWD programs help overcome these obstacles through a range of activities, including landmine and ERW clearance, as well as risk education for vulnerable populations.
Global Security Contingency Fund (GSCF)
- A dual State-DoD funded program to provide train and equip assistance to enhance national-level security forces to conduct border and maritime security, internal defense, and counterterrorism operations, as well as support military, stability or peace operations.
State Role in DoD Security Assistance Programs
- DoD also has the authority and resources to in a wide range of areas. By law, Department of State approval is required on many DoD security sector assistance activities to ensure that State and DoD are collaborating appropriately and that DoD programs advance a unified foreign policy strategy.
For further information, please contact the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at PM-CPA@state.gov, and follow the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs on Twitter, .