News / USA

    Gates Calls for Better US Military Aid Program

    Al Pessin

    U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the United States must do a better and more consistent job of helping other countries provide for their own defenses.  That was the theme of a speech he gave on Wednesday when he accepted an award for distinguished public service from the Nixon Center, a Washington research organization.  

    Secretary Gates told the audience of current and former diplomats, and experts on international affairs, that the U.S. government is not structured to provide security assistance of the right type, in the right quantities and within the right timeframe to meet today's challenges around the world.

    "I believe our ability to help other countries better provide for their own security will be a key and enduring test of America's global leadership in the 21st century, and a critical part of protecting our own security," said Robert Gates.

    Gates said U.S. government agencies are not structured to provide the kind of "flexible, responsive" aid that is needed, and he called for more cooperation among departments, particularly his own and the Department of State.

    Gates also criticized the practice of cutting aid to countries when their governments do something that angers a U.S. president or the Congress.

    "Convincing other countries and leaders to be a partner of the United States, often at political and physical risk, ultimately depends on proving that our own government is capable of being a reliable partner over time," he said. "To be blunt, that means we cannot cut off assistance and relationships every time a country does something we dislike or disagree with."

    Secretary Gates often has lamented  the U.S. decisions to freeze relations with Pakistan in the 1980s, and to largely ignore Afghanistan after the Soviet Union pulled out in 1989, among other examples.  

    In recent years, the U.S. military has made significant efforts to train new Iraqi and Afghan armies and police forces, and to improve the defense capabilities of friendly countries around the world, particularly in Africa and Latin America.  One goal is to enable those states to prevent terrorist groups from finding safe havens in uncontrolled areas, as the Taliban did in Afghanistan in the 1990s.  

    During his speech, Gates noted in particular recent U.S. training and assistance efforts in Yemen and the Philippines, which he said achieved "real success."

    But he acknowledged that even better organization and more funding of military aid programs will not necessarily be as effective as Americans might like.

    "Everything we do must be suffused with strong doses of modesty and realism," said Gates. "When all is said and done, there are limits to what even the United States can do to influence the direction of countries and cultures radically different than our own."

    Gates has spoken before about the value of helping other countries maintain stability to reduce the need for U.S. troop deployments to troubled areas.  According to the secretary, only a steady, long term and agile program has a chance of achieving that.   

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora