Lt. Gen. (ret.) Michael Flynn visits the NCPA

I had the distinct honor of sitting down with Lt. General Michael Flynn recently to discuss the threat of global terrorism during his recent visit to the National Center for Policy Analysis.

You can view the interview here: 

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  1. Eddie Guevara says:

    David (Sir),

    My comment is not on this blog but on How Defense Dollars Are Wasted on Security Assistance. As I found the task to respond on your Blog to which I also acknowledged today has become an issue in our DOD spending in funding our troops. As DOD and State Department join in the decision making process in releasing funds to support as they see where our taxpayers money should be spend, but I see funding DOD in defend of country remain a prority.

    Right now, the Pentagon is not required to provide comprehensive public information on foreign military aid spending until well after the money has been spent. Sometimes, it can be more than a year before the public knows how that money was spent. And insulated from public scrutiny, flawed security assistance programs can bleed money and cost lives for years.

    Congress should require that the Pentagon, like the State Department, spell out in detail how it intends to use taxpayer money to assist foreign security forces. It should be required to do this on a country-by-country and program-by-program basis. With timely and comprehensive information at their disposal, civilian leadership and civil society would be equipped to gauge the effectiveness of DOD foreign aid against stated objectives.

    Congress has already demonstrated that it understands the principle of transparency, because it has applied it rigorously to other forms of foreign aid. The Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act (FATA), which would tighten the already considerable transparency and accountability controls on development assistance.

    “Although it is less than 1 percent of our budget, [development] assistance plays an important role in advancing American interests in the world. Taxpayers have a right to see where and how American dollars are being used overseas.”

    The bill, scheduled for mark up by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee reported on 2015, would apply to the billions of dollars spent on providing economic assistance, fighting HIV/AIDS, and supporting democracy throughout the world. But it would not apply to military assistance programs, which cost the American taxpayer $20.1 billion in 2015.

    As the administration continues to contend with both a war-weary populace and the multiplicity of U.S. national security interests, assistance to foreign armies and police is bound to be integral to its foreign and military policy. But Congress needs to hold the military accountable for its budget, and ensure that every dollar spent on security assistance is a dollar well spent.

    The time to put dollars back into DOD for support of US combat operations, however, should not be dependent on reallocating what was already proposed and approved Security Assistance.

    • David Grantham says:

      Eddie,

      Great points. Increased financial transparency with these DOD programs is a must. But I think it’s broader than that. The track record of success is a poor one. So while transparency must happen — the issue of foreign aid and its effectiveness remains a question of a greater importance. You might enjoy our previous piece on this issue: http://www.ncpa.org/pdfs/ib191.pdf.