Ten days after an editorial appeard in the New York Times on June 12 (see below or link on NYT here) suggested a reduced role by State granting (and managing) foreign aid, the Pentagon responded. Today, two Secretaries of Defense co-signed a rebuttal: Training Foreign Armies
To the Editor:
Re "In Foreign Territory" (editorial, June 12), about the training and equipping of foreign militaries:
argue that Congress "should at least mandate that the programs financed
by the Pentagon conform to the same democratic and human rights
standards that apply when they are run by the State Department." We
Section 1206 of the 2006 National Defense Authorization
Act states that "the authority may not be used to provide any type of
assistance that is otherwise prohibited by any provision of law," and
that all programs incorporate "elements that promote observance of and
respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; and respect for
legitimate civilian authority within that country."
that this legislation "marks the continuation of a dangerous shift in
responsibilities" from the State Department to the Defense Department.
Not only do both departments jointly develop 1206 programs, but the
secretaries of state and defense must also both approve them. The law
enables the two departments to maximize their capabilities to address
Washington, June 16, 2006
The writers are deputy assistant secretaries of state and defense, respectively.
Here’s the detail from the Editorial that’s their primary bug:
Traditionally, the authority to train and equip foreign forces was the
territory of the State Department… [U]nder law, Congress requires the State Department to
verify that a government meets certain standards of rights and
democracy before it can receive assistance. But no such restrictions
impede the Defense Department, and the danger is more than theoretical.
It is already clear, as the editorial comments, that American foreign policy is increasingly militarized but what the editorial ignores and the Pentagonn alludes to is the role of the Executive. The Executive Branch "owns" both State and Defense. Defense has seen an increase in responsibility and issue ownership since 9/11, a fact MountainRunner has been commenting on for a while…