Since 9/11, the U.S. government has overseen a massive expansion in Pentagon-funded aid to foreign security forces — from $800 million in 2001 to more than $10.8 billion in 2015.
The bulk of this funding to arm and train partner security forces focuses on counterterrorism efforts around the world, and for many national security experts the expansion of this aid has remained relatively unquestioned.
But a string of reports and articles over the past year have highlighted serious concerns with the U.S. Defense Department’s aid efforts — including a surprising sloppiness when it comes to evaluating the risks associated with all these giveaways.
While U.S. security assistance used to be led almost exclusively by the State Department, the Defense Department is increasingly taking the lead. In 2015, the Pentagon led the design and implementation of more than 50 different military and police assistance programs in more than 180 countries.