The Obama administration repeatedly criticized the Bush administration’s over-reliance on emergency supplemental budget requests to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. From FY 2001 to FY 2009, more than $800 billion was funded through supplemental appropriations for the Defense (050) budget alone.
Afghan insurgents know IEDs are effective, and are amplifying the quantity, size and strength of the bombs. As the IED problem grows, the role and impact of DOD’s Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) in developing effective counter-IED policy has come into question.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently released a cost estimate of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2010 (H.R. 2647), which was signed into law by President Obama last week. According to the estimate, which focused solely on mandatory costs, the FY 2010 NDAA would increase direct spending by $855 million between the FY 2010-FY 2019 period.
Ginger Cruz, Deputy Inspector General at SIGIR, considers identifying where and when fraud and waste occur in Iraq contracts to be the “easy part” of SIGIR’s job. The hard part, in her view, is creating the right recommendations and solutions for many of the issues.
According to projections in the FY 2010 budget proposal, the federal government will spend almost as much on non-defense as defense in FY 2009, due in large part to the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA), and the gap between defense and non-defense spending will continue to be much smaller through 2014, averaging $6 billion, than it has been in the last 5-6 years when defense spending outpaced non-defense spending by as much as $90 billion in FY 2008.
A CRS report recently highlighted two important trends regarding US foreign assistance: there is more of it and more US agencies are involved in doing it.
According to the report, US foreign assistance funding has increased significantly since 9/11, from roughly $15 billion in FY 2001 to more than $45 billion in FY 2007. Moreover, there as been an increase in the number of agencies implementing foreign assistance, from 19 departments and agencies reported disbursing foreign assistance in FY 2001 compared to 24 in FY 2007. As BFAD has reported, with no overarching mechanism for coordination, the increased diaspora of foreign assistance programs weakens the strategic integrity of US foreign assistance, as varying agencies objectives may duplicate and/or undermine each others programs.
Source: CRS Report 7-5700. “Other” includes: Institute of Peace, African Development Foundation, Broadcast Board of Governors, Commerce, Justice, Labor, Interior, Transportation, EPA, Federal Trade Commission, Inter-American Foundation, National Science Foundation, Open World Leadership, OPIC, Trade & Development Agency, Postal Service.
As the graph demonstrates, an increased portion of US assistance is being disbursed by the Department of Defense (DOD), largely due to large increases in military and reconstruction assistance associated with the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. In FY 2001, DOD disbursed 29 percent of US foreign assistance which has increased to 60 percent in FY 2007. Conversely, nearly half of US foreign assistance (48 percent) was disbursed by USAID in FY 2001, while in FY 2007 USAID disbursed 23 percent. The State Department also experienced a decline, from 11 percent in FY 2001 to 7 percent in FY 2007.
CRS also compared total US foreign assistance disbursements from FY 2001-FY2007, excluding funding to Iraq and Afghanistan. When excluding funding to these two countries, USAID’s portion remains the largest with 38 percent, followed by State at 23 percent, and DOD at 21 percent. However, while DOD’s share does decrease outside of spending in Iraq and Afghanistan, DOD still remains a significant player in development assistance dispersal.
The report highlights that most analysts believe that US foreign assistance activities need to be coordinated or consolidated into a modern national foreign assistance strategy that defines objectives. The executive branch is currently conducting the Quadrennial Defense Review, the new Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, and interagency reviews of security assistance authorities and development programs. Congress is also taking on these issues, as both authorizers and appropriators for defense and foreign affairs are considering legislative and statutory provisions that would extend DOD authorities, reform those of the State Department, or reassign responsibilities for such programs. These are important steps, as an agile and effective foreign assistance program is vital to US national security.
As children of all ages prepare for the festivities this weekend, Halloween means something else for Congress this year: the expiration of the first Continuing Resolution (CR). Congress is working on its second FY 2010 CR (added onto the Interior & Environment appropriations bill) which would extend FY 2009 spending levels for those bills that have not yet been enacted until December 18, 2009.
The following is a comparison of key provisions between the House and Senate bills with regard to the growing number of DOD authorities, programs, and funding for foreign and security assistance, as proposed by the administration in its FY 2010 request.
Pakistan, a key US ally in the struggle against terrorist organizations and the Taliban, has become one of the leading recipients of US foreign and security assistance, receiving more than $16 billion in such support since fiscal year (FY) 2002. This funding has focused on regional terrorism, political stability and democratization, nuclear weapons proliferation, human rights protection and economic development.
This analysis examines the balance between US assistance programs whose principal objective is development and humanitarian support (including programs developed with US strategic and foreign policy interests in mind) and security assistance programs aimed at strengthening the Pakistan military and security forces.
As the above graph demonstrates, security assistance has made up the bulk of US assistance to Pakistan, constituting roughly 73 percent.
The greatest part of the security assistance package has been reimbursements to the Pakistani budget for Pakistan’s military and security support for US counterterrorism activities, known as Coalition Support Funds (CSF). The US has provided about $7.6 billion in CSF reimbursements from FY 2002-FY 2009, or roughly $946 million a year.
There was a sizable increase in security-related funding in FY 2009 primarily due to the establishment of the new Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund (PCF) and the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund (PCCF) funded in the FY 2009 Emergency Supplemental. The PCF was initially provided with $400 million in DOD funds, which remained available through FY 2010. The FY 2009 emergency supplemental also provided $700 million to State for the PCCF, although these funds only became available September 30, 2009, and remain available through FY 2010. Therefore, even though PCCF was funded in FY 2009, it will be spent in FY 2010, meaning that if the President’s request is fully funded, the total amount of assistance in FY 2010 to Pakistan will actually be greater than FY 2009.
Assistance to Pakistan is provided through a number of budget accounts in the Defense (050), International Affairs (150), and Agriculture (350) budgets. After the $7.6 billion in CSF reimbursements through FY 2009, the second largest volume of support - $3.5 billion – has come through State’s Economic Support Funds (ESF). ESF spending can be used with developmental goals in mind, but the decision to provide ESF is generally driven by US strategic and foreign policy goals. In addition, security-driven Foreign Military Financing (FMF) has made up 12 percent of total assistance to Pakistan since FY 2002, with nearly $1.9 billion in military equipment and training to improve Pakistan’s defense capabilities.
Nearly three quarters of US assistance to Pakistan is provided through the Defense Department budget, including CSF, Global Train and Equip (Section 1206), the Pakistan Frontier Corps train and equip program, the PCF account, and the Pentagon’s counternarcotics funds. Most of the remaining 28 percent is funded through State and USAID accounts.
 Development/ Humanitarian assistances includes: Global Health and Child Services (GHSC), Development Assistance (DA), Economic Support Funds (ESF), Food Aid (PL 480, Title I, II and Section 416 (b)), Human Rights and Democracy Fund (HRDF), International Disaster Assistance (IDA), and Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA). Security Assistance includes: Foreign Military Financing (FMF), International Military Education and Training (IMET), International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (INCLE), Peacekeeping (PKO), Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capabilities Fund (PCCF); Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund (PCF); Section 1206; Coalition Support Funds (CSF), Counternarcoitcs Funds (CN), Nonproliferation, Anti-Terrorism, Demining and Related Programs (NADR), Pakistan Frontier Corp train and equip (FC).
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations have risen each year since the Department’s creation in 2003. H.R. 2892, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2010 (the Act), now headed to President Obama for his expected signature, provides a net appropriation of $44.14 billion.
The US ambassador to Mali announced last week that the US will give more than $5 million of military equipment to the Mali government. This assistance is being given to support efforts by the Mali government to combat growing extremism in the West African nation. This funding is separate from the $123 million that the State Department has requested in the FY 2010 budget for Mali.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently released a report outlining possible timelines and estimated costs of the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq. The report summarizes the administration’s plan for troop withdrawal, and includes four alternative timelines and their associated costs.
On October 7, the final conference agreement on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was released. Both the House and Senate voted and approved the bill, which is headed to the White House for President Obama’s approval.
Secretary Gates said recently: “If the Department of Defense can’t figure out a way to defend the United States on a budget of more than half a trillion dollars a year, then our problems are much bigger than anything that can be cured by buying a few more ships and planes. “ He has a point. The problems in the defense budget are much bigger than the recent debates over buying more F-22s, cancelling the Presidential Helicopter, or building an alternative engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
According to McChrystal, the US could send in thousands of additional troops to Afghanistan and the war could still be lost due to unchecked rampant corruption.
Over the last year instability and violence have been increasing along Pakistan’s western border, which is a source of instability both in Pakistan and in neighboring Afghanistan. The Pakistani military has, in recent months, been increasingly engaged in counter-insurgency operations in these regions. Early in 2009, the administration urged the Congress to provide new assistance to the Pakistani military as part of the effort to encourage even greater engagement against these adversaries.
The foreign policy machinery in the Obama administration is finally grinding away on a difficult long-term policy and institutional problem: What should the U.S. development and foreign assistance strategy be?
While the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) will not likely be released until early next year the rumor mill is humming. One of the largest procurement issues seemingly under consideration within the Pentagon is a proposal to decrease the number of aircraft carriers from today’s 11 to 8 or 9.
As US foreign policy objectives are perused through non-military foreign aid, the effectiveness and sensitivity of such efforts have real foreign policy implications. Ineffectual policy decisions and/or poor choices negatively influence the perception of the US in target countries and regions and waste finite development resources.