Meet the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund
Friday, April 03, 2009 at 8:51 am
The New York Times has the details of the funding program to support Pakistani troops in counterinsurgency that Gen. David Petraeus and Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy unveiled Wednesday:
The new approach, which requires Congressional approval, would give responsibility to the Pentagon and its Central Command for consulting with Pakistan’s military and determining what equipment and training it most needed to fight an Islamist militancy that is gaining momentum in the country’s unruly tribal areas. The fund would also be used to replace equipment the Pakistani Army and the Frontier Corps lost in combat.
The fund will include $500 million for this year and $3 billion over the next five years. Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), foreign affairs committee chair in the House, frets that the money that the Obama administration will seek in the final-ever war supplemental (!) for the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund continues a pattern of taking foreign military training out of the foreign aid budget and places it with the Pentagon. Sure, but — you know, prioritize here, yeah? This is a COIN capability the Pakistanis need ASAP if the United States isn’t going to invade the Pakistani tribal areas. It took real effort on the part of Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) this week just to get the foreign aid budget request fully funded. One foot before the other.
Still, though, there remains an as-yet unanswered question: the aid money that the Bush administration gave to the Pakistani military came primarily in the form of untraceable cash transfers. Yes, really. After the United States signed away the cash, it literally had no oversight into how it got spent. Will the Obama administration break that pattern? It talks a big game on benchmarks but the early signals for their delivery aren’t positive ones.
This post has been updated for clarity.
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