Friday, January 22, 2010

Quickie: State Department Arm Wrestling with the Pentagon

And the winner is ….

Josh Rogin of The Cable has this piece yesterday: Pentagon wins turf war with State over military aid. Quick excerpt: 

One big chunk of funding at issue is in foreign security assistance, known as the "1206" account, which could total about $500 million next year. This is money used to do things like military training and joint operations with countries outside of Iraq and Afghanistan, such as Indonesia and Somalia.

Since the military doesn't have the lead in those countries, the funding should flow through State, right? Well, not in 2011. The president's budget will keep those funds in the Pentagon's purse in its Feb. 1 budget release, following a pitched internal battle in which the State Department eventually conceded.

"That literally is the result of vigorous arm wrestling within the administration," one source familiar with the discussions said. The battle had been waged primarily between the shops of Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michèle Flournoy and Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro, but finally Deputy Secretary of State Jack Lew got involved.
Overall, State is expected to receive a hefty increase in its top-line budget request for fiscal 2011, but much of that money will be for Iraq and Afghanistan, allowing little growth in the rest of the State-USAID accounts.

The slow pace of rebalancing national security spending and the lack of a comprehensive strategy for guiding that process is the subject of a new book by former OMB national security funding chief Gordon Adams, entitled Buying National Security: How America Plans and Pays for Its Global Role and Safety at Home.

"The tool kit is out of whack," Adams told The Cable. "There's been a major move over the last 10 years to expand the Defense Department's agenda, which has been creeping into the foreign-policy agenda in new and expensive ways."

Read the whole thing here.


Mamuka said...

See my comment on your later item about USAID-- they simply do not have the resources to execute large scale programs! The Foreign Service has aggressively ramped up hiring (to the extent of letting bums like me in at least conditionally); now it is time to turn to USAID and beef them up.

Note that in the CENTCOM AO, DoD has turned over a big chunk of cash to State/USAID to spend.

Anonymous said...

Mamuka - I just responded to the other thread on USAID. Congratulations even if its conditional! The last time I look, USAID was authorized to hire about 300, could be more under DLI but don't have the numbers on my fingertips right now. Of course, USAID was over 15,000 during the Vietnam war, and is just a couple thousands now. Long ways to go considering the budget and the current state of things. Yes, I did see that thing about the 1206 funds.