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No Civilian Left Behind: Educating the Elusive “Interagency” October 6, 2010

Posted by bfadtest in Analysis.
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By Laura A. Hall and Jonathan M. Larkin

“Interagency” has become a favorite noun and adjective in the national security community (perhaps we’ll even hear it as a verb one day!).  Over the years, the need for greater cross-department planning and operations has engendered many efforts to improve the way organizations work together.  The proposed legislation’s goals – to foster greater interagency cooperation and to provide extended professional education, training, and interagency assignment opportunities to national security professionals across the U.S. government – can only be applauded.  The sponsors are serious legislators.

Rep. Geoff Davis has long been an advocate for national security human capital development and Rep. Ike Skelton took part in the debate that led to Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986, which established the joint military command and improved the ability of U.S. armed forces to conduct joint operations in the field.  However, “Goldwater Nichols II,” this is not.  The bill suffers from several problems that could serve to make it yet another unmet mandate. Read more…


Skelton offers DOD modest nudge away from budget discipline tsunami June 21, 2010

Posted by Matthew Leatherman in Analysis.
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Two movements of tsunami-like size are bearing down on the Defense Department and the all-inclusive, un-prioritized mission set that it laid out in the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR).  As the drawdown dates for U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan approach, those missions will be seen more and more as outlier cases rather than models of the new normal.  Budget discipline is the second movement, and that tsunami is peaking.

Congressman Ike Skelton (D-MO), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), recently took a tentative step in recognition of the oncoming budget discipline tsunami.  Specifically, Rep. Skelton publicized his intent to create a special body or process charged with identifying opportune cuts in the defense budget.  Like the Defense Department’s own plan, however, Rep. Skelton intends for this money to be reallocated within the Defense Department rather than to generate true savings for the country.  It also seems that Rep. Skelton presently plans to consider only efficiency increases rather than accepting the far more difficult, but important, task of disciplining missions.

This tentative step is insufficient for the problems we face.  Defense spending is at heights unreached since World War II while our economy is at depths unseen since the Great Depression.  The Defense Department’s mission set needs discipline, and that discipline needs to generate real and meaningful savings for the country.

Though insufficient, Rep. Skelton’s plan still is very useful.  His voice is authoritative, and adding it to Secretary Gates’ statements on spending constraints lends unique legitimacy to the issue.  Likewise, a number of steps are available within his parameters that would advance the issue significantly.  The Stimson Center’s Dr. Gordon Adams addressed many of these in recent testimony before HASC’s Oversight and Investigations subcommittee.  They include: (more…)

The HASC NDAA Markup May 20, 2010

Posted by Rebecca Williams in Analysis.
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The House Armed Service Committee (HASC) marked up its version of the FY 2011 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) yesterday, revealing some important changes in security assistance authorities and programs for next year.  Budget Insight will be diving into each of these areas over the coming weeks, but here are the basic facts of the House changes, according to the HASC summary document:

–         Section 1206 (Train and Equip)

The Obama Administration requested an increase in Section 1206 funding levels to $500 million for FY 2011, stressing that building defense capacity of allied and friendly states is an important part of US defense strategy.

The HASC markup fully authorized the President’s request, increasing the current topline by $150 million.  The bill also raised the ceiling on Section 1206 funding that can be used to support military and stability operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to $100 million (up from $75 million).

The HASC added a new authority, allowing $75 million of Section 1206 funding to transfer to the State Department to build the capacity of the counterterrorism forces of the Yemeni Ministry of the Interior.

–         Section 1207 (Security and Stabilization Assistance)

Section 1207 of the FY 2006 NDAA authorized the Secretary of Defense to transfer defense articles and funds to the Department of State for the purposes of providing reconstruction, security or stabilization assistance to a foreign country.  Section 1207 is set to expire at the end of FY 2010; the Administration did not seek to extend the authority or funding and the HASC did not authorize any.

–         Section 1208 (Support to Foreign Forces)

The HASC markup authorizes the increase of the annual budgetary authority for Section 1208 to $50 million, $10 million more than the request. (more…)

Comparison of the FY 2010 House and Senate Armed Services Defense Authorization Bills July 20, 2009

Posted by Stephen Abott in Analysis, News.
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Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense has released a comparison of the FY 2010 House and Senate Armed Services defense authorization bills.  As authorizing bills, these two pieces of legislation deal with DOD authorities and programs.  This report assesses how they deal with the growing number of DOD authorities, programs, and funding for foreign and security assistance, as proposed by the administration in its FY 2010 request.  Attached are the first two pages of the analysis or you can assess the entire document here.

DOD Authorities for Foreign and Security Assistance Programs

A Comparison of the FY 2010 House and Senate Armed Services

Defense Authorization Bills

July 20, 2009

The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) marked up its version of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on June 18 and the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) concluded its markup on July 2. The Senate bill is currently under debate on the floor.

The president requested $663.8 billion in discretionary funding for DOD, including $533.8 billion for the base defense budget and $130 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds.  The Senate bill authorized $534.6 billion for the base budget and $129.3 billion in OCO funds, providing $800 million more than the base budget request and $700 million less than the OCO request.

The House authorized a total of $664 billion for the DOD, $534 billion in base defense funding and $130 billion in OCO funds.  The House bill authorized $200 million more in the base budget than the request but $600 million less than the Senate bill.

FY 2010 National Defense Authorization Act

Discretionary DOD Budget

($ in billions)

Obama Request

Senate Bill

House Bill

Base Budget (051)




OCO Budget








*Total excludes the Department of Energy component of the DOD Budget

As authorizing bills, these two pieces of legislation deal with DOD authorities and programs.  This report assesses how they deal with the growing number of DOD authorities, programs, and funding for foreign and security assistance, as proposed by the administration in its FY 2010 request.


  • Section 1206 (Global Train and Equip)


The Week That Was: April 27-May 1 May 1, 2009

Posted by Stephen Abott in Analysis, News.
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In this new weekly item, Budget Insight will briefly outline the week’s blog posts and major news.

This week, BFAD highlighted items about DOD’s role in combating the swine flu outbreak and security assistance. The Department of Defense released its Terms of Reference (TOR) for the forthcoming Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), a document that excluded mention of the Pentagon’s interaction with State or USAID. The FY2010 budget resolution passed Congress, it included a 0.6% increase for total DOD funding (base and supplemental) over FY2009, and was in line with Obama’s request; the international affairs 150 budget request was cut by $2.8 billion, leading to an increase of only 2% over FY2009. Defense acquisition reform recommendations and legislation worked its way through Washington. The full HASC held a hearing on the House’s recent legislation on the topic, while the Defense Science Board released the report: “Creating a DOD Strategic Acquisition Platform“.

Congressman Berman, Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, kicked off a busy year dealing with foreign affairs issues, introducing legislation this week calling on the White House to, “develop and implement, on an interagency basis, a comprehensive national strategy to further the Unite States foreign policy objective of reducing poverty and contributing to broad-based economic growth in developing countries, including responding to humanitarian crises. This call is an important signal to the administration that Congress is expecting a reshaping of foreign assistance strategy this year. Because it does not propose any institutional changes for the foreign assistance agencies, it leaves the door open to a careful review of US foreign assistance structures. It will be important to initiate a dialogue between the new administration and the Congress about how to shape foreign assistance strategies, programs, and agencies.