One of America’s most important foreign policy tools is not fit for purpose. U.S. security sector assistance — the means by which the United States strengthens alliances and partners — is stuck in the past. Crucially, it is out of sync with U.S. priorities when it comes to where resources are needed most and the types of capabilities required by America’s allied and partners.
One of America’s most important foreign policy tools is not fit for purpose.
Despite widespread agreement on the need to prioritize strategic competition with Russia and China, the United States still directs a disproportionate amount of assistance toward the Middle East. An emphasis on counter-terrorism since 9/11 has also contributed to an emphasis on building the wrong capabilities. The United States is not equipping allies and partners with the capabilities they need to deal with competitors who are adopting increasingly sophisticated strategies in the areas of cyber security, strategic communications, and illicit commercial activity. Moreover, the mechanisms needed to integrate security sector competition with other instruments of national power, including diplomacy, military operations, strategic communications, and other foreign assistance, are underdeveloped at best. These shortcomings hinder U.S. allies and partners, in turn leaving them vulnerable to Chinese and Russian influence.
Read the full article in War on the Rocks.
More from CNAS
PodcastDefense One Radio, Ep. 106: Decoding China’s Taiwan saber-rattling + RIMPAC 2022
Becca Wasser, fellow for the Defense Program and lead of the Gaming Lab at the Center for a New American Security think tank in Washington, D.C, joins the the Defense One podc...
By Becca Wasser
CommentaryNuclear Risks: Russia’s Ukraine War Could End in Disaster
The likelihood of nuclear use in Ukraine may be low, but it is not zero....
By Rachel Tecott & Giles David Arceneaux
CommentaryStrange Debacle: Misadventures In Assessing Russian Military Power
Russia’s botched invasion of Ukraine has befuddled most defense analysts and Russia experts....
By Chris Dougherty
ReportsDangerous Straits: Wargaming a Future Conflict over Taiwan
Download the full PDF Executive Summary Until recently, U.S. policymakers and subject matter experts have viewed the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC’s) forcible unification ...
By Stacie Pettyjohn, Becca Wasser & Chris Dougherty