WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued a statement following the release of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report critical of the Department of Defense’s “333” security assistance projects, titled “Building Partner Capacity: DoD and State Should Strengthen Planning for Train and Equip Projects.”
“This report makes clear what I have long suspected – that the State Department has not been adequately consulted or involved in the formulation of important Department of Defense security assistance projects to foreign countries, as required by law. This is not a ‘turf’ issue; it’s an effectiveness imperative, and as we’ve seen repeatedly, security assistance programs are achieving neither security nor stability in many of these countries.
“The GAO report reveals that much of Department of Defense’s assistance has not taken country-specific needs and resources fully into account, underscoring the importance of Department of State expertise being involved from the outset of these 333 programs. I fully endorse the report’s recommendations that a comprehensive mechanism for early and fulsome State Department participation in the formulation of these security projects is vital for the Department of Defense’s assistance to be productive, as well as more personnel and training resources for the Department of State to participate more fully in these programs.”