The Missing Middle: Defense Financing for Middle-Income Democracies

Over the past 15 years, the United States has increasingly prioritized efforts to “build partner capacity.” The goal is to empower other countries to better handle their own security and contribute to international coalitions. During the Bush and Obama administrations, substantial new security assistance funds were created for the Department of Defense to increase the amount of training, equipping, advising and technical advice the United States provides to a wide array of countries. The new authorities enabled more sharing of resources between departments and were intended to make America’s security assistance programs more responsive to changing situations. Under President Barack Obama, the United States also substantially reformed export controls to expand defense trade with close partners. The Pentagon even created a deputy assistant secretary position specifically for security cooperation and building partnership capacity.

This article was originally published in War on the Rocks.