State Department Speaks on Security Cooperation
Andrew J. Shapiro, Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of State, spoke at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School on the State Department’s role “in the area of arms transfers [and] security assistance.” Shapiro justified its role on the premise that any transfer of military equipment or involvement in enhancing the military capacity of partner countries “has clear foreign policy implications, and is fundamentally a foreign policy function.”
Shapiro also said that it is the Secretary of State’s role to oversee and authorize arms transfers, and the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs’ mission to ensure that transfers are in line with U.S. foreign policy. He emphasized the necessity of making sure that every sale and transfer of arms is “reviewed and rigorously assessed by the State Department through the Conventional Arms Transfer Policy,” to verify that such a transaction would not present any “human rights” concerns which are not “in the best foreign policy and national security interests of the United States.” Shapiro also noted that certain sales require Congressional approval to guarantee broad support for the transaction.
International Military Education Training (IMET) was mentioned as another critical diplomatic tool which facilitates the professionalization of foreign security personnel through military instruction, and building of personal relationships with their U.S. counterparts. In theory, IMET members are expected to adopt “core U.S. values, like respect for human rights and civilian control of the military.” Shapiro asserted that these types of security relationships are imperative going into the future as they do not just help “partners handle their own security” but also “empower them to contribute to global security,” in an age where the U.S. is having to carry a heavier burden on its shoulders.