NATO will update its strategic concept at its upcoming Lisbon Summit for the first time since 1999. Last week, a group of experts convened by the Alliance made a series recommendations for this new strategic concept. Foremost among them is renewed commitment to a Europe whole, free, and at peace.
The U.S. more than shares this policy – we originated it, and have enshrined it in our foreign policy ever since. Security assistance to new and aspiring members is one of the most prominent expressions of this policy, including the State Departments Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program and the Defense Department’s Section 1206 train and equip authority.
Top-Level Security Assistance Picture: FMF and Section 1206 Combined
Turkey is the only pre-1999 NATO member to receive any of the $507 million in FMF or 1206 assistance ($37M; 7%) offered to European states between FY2006-09. Another $60 million (12%) went to seven states contributing a total of 160 troops in Afghanistan and either uninterested in NATO membership (Serbia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova) or far from achieving it (Kosovo, Montenegro, Bosnia).
81% of FMF and Section 1206 spending, however, went to NATO’s twelve most recent members and the three partners (Macedonia, Ukraine, Georgia) closest to membership. Budgets strongly reflect U.S.-NATO policy in this instance, helping to tie European states into a meaningful whole.
Understanding the Strategy: FMF and Section 1206 in Detail
That European whole is premised on peace, an immediate and empirical goal, and democratic freedom, which develops and is maintained over the longer term. Section 1206 and FMF assistance can be distinguished in similar ways. Focused on training and equipping foreign forces to control their territory and contribute to coalition counterterrorism operations, Section 1206 aligns closely with U.S. policy of European peace. Just as that peace then is institutionalized through democratic freedom, Section 1206 assistance needs more deliberate FMF packages to be sustained.
U.S. spending patterns on FMF and Section 1206 assistance to Europe reflect this complementary nature. More so than any other region, Section 1206 assistance is spent strategically in Europe. 95% ($45M) of it is spent in the four states (Albania, Georgia, Macedonia, and Ukraine) struggling most mightily to institutionalize durable peace, meet NATO interoperability standards, and contribute troops in Afghanistan. Only one of these – Albania – is a NATO member, and it acceded just last year. Sustainment is a goal but more for the long term, represented by the fact that they each receive FMF assistance, but only 22% ($99M) of the region’s total.
This story is inverted for NATO’s other post-1998 members. Security assistance helps tighten their binds to Europe, but with a focus on sustainability and maintenance given their relatively mature positions. 58% of the region’s FMF spending goes to these eleven states: Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Croatia. They receive none of the U.S.’ Section 1206 assistance.
U.S. Security Assistance in Europe: Strategy and its Limits
U.S. FMF and Section 1206 spending thus is uniquely strategic in the European region. Nowhere is foreign and defense policy more comfortably integrated than in Europe, and no organization channels these policies better than NATO. This brings clarity to multiple priorities – countering terrorism in Afghanistan immediately and vigorously, and binding Europe together in a steady and principled manner.
Security assistance authorities, however, prohibit this success from being duplicated elsewhere. A U.S. government-wide commitment to NATO channels foreign and defense policies together even though security assistance authorities are separate between departments – FMF for State and Section 1206 for Defense. No similar channel exists in the world’s other regions. Yet it is badly needed and, lacking any foreseeable hope of NATO-like institutions elsewhere, is best achieved by integrated Section 1206 policymaking authorities under the State Department.