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Gates to State: Don’t Hate, Collaborate

InsideDefense has a good story about a bureaucratic change pushed by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to resolve a recurrent problem between his department and Foggy Bottom. In a memo called “Shared Responsibility, Pooled Resources,” Gates is proposing to revamp how the U.S. trains foreign partner militaries (“section 1206,” legally speaking) and how the Pentagon handles security and stability operations (“section 1207″).

Unfortunately the piece is behind InsideDefense’s subscriber firewall, but here’s the gist:

Pentagon programs executed under both sections have had “some notable successes over the past several years,” Gates writes. However, the authorities granted DOD under sections 1206 and 1207 have “stirred debate over [U.S. government] roles and missions,” regarding security and stability operations, specifically between DOD and the State Department, he adds.

In order to “transcend these recurrent debates” on how such authorities should be divvied up between DOD and State, Gates’ SRPR plan calls for the creation of three “pooled funding mechanisms” focused on three areas: security capacity building, stabilization and conflict prevention, the memo states.

To some degree, this is Gates saying, “You guys at State want this so bad? Great! Here’s your share. Now help us implement it.” To another degree, it underscores how Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton really do want to rebalance the civilian and military aspects of national security. I’m curious to see how they react to this.

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