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State-Defense Cooperation
by Andrew Shapiro, Assistant Secretary of State
Text: http://csis.org/files/attachments/120808_Transcript_Shapiro.pdf
Video: http://csis.org/event/ushering-new-era-state-defense-cooperation (click on video)
Reviewed by David T. Jones

On 8 August, Andrew Shapiro, the State Department’s Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs (PM), addressed the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He explored a hardy perennial: State-Defense Cooperation. Indeed, Shapiro delivered the equivalent of a primer on what PM does and how it works with the Defense Department.

Improved Collaboration. A new (as of January) State-Defense Memorandum of Understanding rationalizes personnel exchanges; it specifies numbers for each agency, State students in Defense Department schools, a two-star deputy assistant secretary for PM, and the expanded POLAD program. The latter has doubled in the past four years with Foreign Service Officers now posted in every service headquarters, unified combatant command, and most subordinate commands (previously POLADS were primarily assigned to four-star “chiefs” and combatant commanders).

More Integrated Planning. Greater State input to the Quadrennial Defense Review (and Defense Department input for State’s QDDR).

Improved State Ability in Security Partnerships. State’s responsibility in security agreements, SOFA, defense cooperation agreements, etc. continues. A new creation is the “Global Security Contingency Fund” with pooled Defense-State monies to respond to unanticipated security emergencies in allied countries. Still a concept in progress, Shapiro noted, “we are working to stand up the fund and to identify the first recipient countries.”

Enhanced Coordination on Transnational Security Challenges. The past several years have seen innovative work regarding challenges as far ranging as securing MANPADS (shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles) in Libya—and prospectively Syria—to working creatively to combat piracy off the Somali coast.

The U. S. government is clearly attempting to put the ritualistic State-Defense head-butting behind it. For several years, SecDef and SecState have made nice with each other regarding budgetary needs and interagency cooperation. During the Gates/Panetta/Clinton combine, mutual appreciation has proved productive. The essential question will be whether such cooperation will survive new senior leadership and straitened budgets.bluestar

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