President Biden’s suspension of arms transfers in support of the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen is a major break from the Trump administration. However, there is still likely to be significant continuity over the next four years in U.S. security cooperation policy.
This study conducted by the CSIS Cooperative Defense Project assesses the levels of progress on implementing reforms throughout the security sector assistance enterprise and developing an action plan that addresses specific issues along planning, operations, policy and doctrine, and training lines of effort.
The U.S. government’s Stabilization Assistance Review (SAR) framework provides an opportunity to clarify and streamline stabilization assistance, though implementation will require sustained leadership, an interagency roadmap, new processes, bureaucratic incentives, and a review of authorities and resources.
Actions by the administration further endanger the already tenuous relation between the U.S. and Pakistan, risking repeating past mistakes and undoing civil/military progress. Punitive measures have been unsuccessful in Pakistan – by exploring policy options like restoring CSF funding, IMET opportunities for Pakistani officers, and leveraging other partners, the U.S. may be able to influence Pakistan in a positive direction.
The 2018 National Defense Strategy elevated security cooperation in stressing the importance of “Strengthening alliances and attracting new partners.” This has typically been an area of strength for the United States in ensuring U.S. superiority in an era of strategic competition. However, countervailing priorities in the current U.S. administration challenge this formulation.
Security cooperation enables the United States to deepen its global alliances and partnerships in pursuit of common security objectives. It will be critical to ensure FY17 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) reform provisions retains the U.S. competitive advantage globally through its network of alliances and partnerships. This analysis provides recommendations for the Trump administration to consider during security cooperation reform.