Building the Capacity of Partner States through Security Force Assistance [May 5, 2011]   [open pdf - 2MB]

"Historically, the U.S. military's Special Operations Forces (SOF) have had primary responsibility for training, advising, and assisting foreign military forces. Today, although this mission has not been completely relegated to conventional forces, the National Security Strategies of the current and previous administrations direct the U.S. military services (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines) to organize, train, and equip themselves to carry out these activities on a larger scale with conventional (non-SOF) forces. This responsibility in its broad sense of building the capacity of partner states has been termed 'security force assistance' (SFA). [...] Of significant interest to Congress in the near term is the ability of U.S. military forces to train their counterparts in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Obama Administration position, endorsed for the most part by Congress, is that developing competent forces in these countries is pivotal to coalition mission success and to protecting U.S. national interests. SFA is part of the U.S. strategic goal of having Iraq and Afghanistan responsible for their own security. Congress has supported the Department of Defense's agenda for training Afghani forces; however, some Members are skeptical of the new Iraqi government's commitment to developing its own security forces."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R41817
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