The views expressed here neither represent nor are affiliated with the US DOD, US Navy, FAO association, MGM Studios, Time Warner, Sony, RCA Recording or Hostess. Now, "relax and take notes . . . "

FAO Quotables

"But being right, even morally right, isn't everything. It is also important to be competent, to be consistent, and to be knowledgeable. It's important for your soldiers and diplomats to speak the language of the people you want to influence. It's important to understand the ethnic and tribal divisions of the place you hope to assist."
-Anne Applebaum

Thursday, January 5, 2017

FY-17 NDAA Security Cooperation Excerpt and More

Below is an executive summary of the Security Cooperation portion of the FY-17 NDAA that I received from a GS Foreign Affairs Specialist.

I also also linked to the whole document here (please let me know if the link doesn't work--Blogger makes it difficult to embed PDFs).    Additionally, I've previously posted a broader FY-17 NDAA summary here.


1. Section 1208 Authorities are now codified under Section 127e; funds are
appropriated in the amount of up to USD $100 million; there is a 15 day
Congressional Notification period.

2. Section 1204 directs DoD to enter into an agreement with a federally
funded research and development center or another independent entity with
expertise in security cooperation to conduct an evaluation of the
implementation of the strategic framework  for DoD Security Cooperation as
directed by Section 1202 of the FY-16 NDAA.

3. The FY-17 NDAA, Chapter 16 is the Chapter covering Security Cooperation

                a. Subchapter I, Section 301 addresses General Matters (including
the definition of National Military/Security Forces and First Responders).

                b. Subchapter II, Section 311 addresses Mil-Mil Engagements
(including the exchange of personnel between the U.S and friendly foreign
countries); Section 312 covers payment of personnel expenses necessary for
theater security cooperation.

                c. Subchapter III, Section 321 addresses Training with Foreign
Forces; and, payment of training and exercise expmilienses.
                d. Subchapter IV, Section 331 addresses Support for Operations and
Capacity Building. Types of support authorized include: log support,
supplies and services to forces of a friendly foreign country participating
in -an operation with U.S. Armed Forces; and, military or stability
operations benefiting U.S. national security. Small Scale Construction is
also covered under this proviso. There is a 15 day congressional
notification requirement as well.  Section 333 specifically addresses
security cooperation Building Partner Capacity efforts and authorizes DoD to
conduct or support a program or programs to provide training and equipment
to the national security forces of one or more foreign countries for the
purpose of building partner capacity of such forces to conduct one or more
of the following: CT operations, CWMD operations, Counter Illicit
Trafficking (CIT) operations, Counter-Transnational Organized (CTO) Crime
operations, maritime and border security operations, military intelligence
operations, and operations or activities that contribute to and
international coalition operation that is determined by the Secretary (of
Defense) to be in the national interest. Again, there is a 15 day
congressional notification requirement.

                e. Subchapter V, Section 341 addresses Educational and Training
Activities (including the State Partnership Program and associated Leahy
Vetting requirements).

                f. Subchapter VI, Section 361 addresses Limitations on the Use of
Defense Funds.

                g. Subchapter VII, Section 385 addresses Administrative and
Miscellaneous Matters including authorization for DoD to transfer of up to
USD $75M (at the end of 30 days following Congressional Notification) to
other (Executive)  Departments/Agencies that advance DoD security
cooperation objectives.

Other authorities included in the FY-17 NDAA also address the development of
a (professional) security cooperation work-force; and, the requirement to
provide a report to Congress on current security cooperation programs by 31
January 2018; with additional reporting quadrennially thereafter (through
2034). Also, execution of the aforementioned programs requires approval by

FY-17 NDAA General Summary Here With Good Links

Below are links to three good documents on the FY17 NDAA that Congress passed.  I've also include a brief summary put together by an AFRICOM Foreign Affairs Specialist.  Finally, I've included a link here to a post on the Security Cooperation specific portions of the act.

FY17 NDAA Bill Summary
CRS R4497 Fact Sheet FY17 NDAA Highlights
Mercy Corps Press Release Praising NDAA USAID Funding Transfer Authority

In an effort to respond to the complaints of our military commanders and the
Department more broadly, the the FY-17 NDAA contains a major reform designed
to modernize and streamline DOD's security cooperation enterprise.
Specifically, the bill consolidates security cooperation authorities from
Title 10 and elsewhere in public law into a single chapter of U.S. code
(Chapter 16, Section 333) . Of note, the bill repeals numerous existing
so-called "train and equip" authorities and replaces them with one authority
that incorporates all of the Department's existing "train and equip"
authorized activities, greatly enhancing DOD's ability to address the
wide-ranging and evolving nature of global threats.

Additionally, the NDAA consolidates more than $2.0 billion in associated
security cooperation funding into a new fund (Security Cooperation
Enhancement Fund), enhancing transparency, flexibility, transparency, and
congressional oversight. For too long, the Department's activities in this
area have been diffuse and have lacked strategic coordination - both
regionally and functionally. A central fund will allow the Department's
senior civilian and military leaders to make strategic choices with respect
to the allocation of security cooperation resources against strategic
priorities rather than being forced to patch together disparate funding
sources to achieve objectives. The bill also requires the Secretary of
Defense to submit an annual consolidated budget justification for its
security cooperation activities.

The reform package also directs the Secretary of Defense to create a DOD
security cooperation workforce program to oversee the development and
management of a professional workforce supporting security cooperation
programs of the DOD, as well as the execution of security assistance
programs and activities under the Foreign Assistance Act and the Arms
Control Act by the DOD. While DOD strategic guidance has increased the
emphasis on security cooperation programs and activities in furtherance of
its security objectives, it has not devoted sufficient attention and
resources to the development, management, and sustainment of the DOD's
security cooperation workforce. Building security capabilities of a partner
nation through security cooperation requires a specialized set of skills and
the current system neither develops those skills among its workforce nor
rationally assigns its workforce to match appropriate skills with requirements. Increased
attention and resourcing must be focused on the recruitment, training,
certification, assignment, and career development of the security
cooperation workforce in order to ensure the effective planning, monitoring,
execution, and evaluation of security cooperation programs and activities

In addition to the aforementioned T10, Chapter 16, Section 333 Security
Cooperation authorities, a new authority under Section 385 of the NDAA
allows the Secretary of Defense to transfer up to $75 million to agencies
like the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the
Department of State to implement foreign assistance programs, such as
community-led conflict mitigation, good governance and peacebuilding, to
address the root causes of violence. The desired goal with the addition of
this provision in the FY17 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is to
enable the U.S. government to more effectively tackle drivers of violence

and violent extremism.

Weekly Reading: Palestinian Christians, A Wonderful Life, Blues and Drinking Your Own Pee

Evangelicals Siding with Israel Hurt Palestinian Christians
This Post article should at least give my fellow believers some pause for thought.  Personally, I've always been a little hesitant to support Israel in an unqualified manner.

How Jimmy Stewart Became George Bailey
(You may have to google the title to get the WSJ article to load)  Some great background on Jimmy Stewart's considerable WWII combat experience and his return to Hollywood post V-day.

Super Cool Blue Angels 360 degree video
This is pretty amazing--it will definitely brighten your day for a few minutes!

Recycling Sewage Water? Namibia's Been Doing It For 50 Years
Recycling your own urine--it's not just for SERE school.  One of the most interesting aspects of this article was the background on the role apartheid played in this technology and its hangover effects today in Namibia.

Beautiful video about a Dad with an autistic son

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Weekly Reading: The Plague in Mada, Christianity, Writing at large, Getting Kids into College, Downs PSA, a total eclipse of AFRICOM and Mandatory FAO reading

Doing some catch-up posting after a long weekly reading hiatus. Now that I am back stateside, I hope to bring back this regular column.

The plague, alive and well in Madagascar
Yup--we keep it old school here on the Red Island

Why is Christianity the right religion?
I always enjoy hearing from Ravi Zacharias

From HBR to Mashable: How to Be a Guest Writer on 11 Popular Sites
Great reference doc for budding writerpreneurs!

Olivia Wilde stars in powerful PSA for World Down Syndrome Day
My wonderful uncle Dutch has down syndrome and this PSA is a great one that shows people with down syndrome are not to be pitied.

Advice College Admissions Officers Give Their Own Kids
Storing this one way for ten years from now.  The article contains a wide swath of advice from admissions officers at different universities.

Why the US needs AFRICOM
...and I need you more than ever...it's a total eclipse of the heart!  Sorry, where was I.  Some good soundbites for your next argument.

How Not to Make Disciples (Francis Chan Video)
Chan keeps it real and real funny.

Getting to Si, Ja, Oui, Hai, and Da
This is an incredible read.  I put in on my FAO (Foreign Area Officer) Mandatory Reading List/PQS page for good reason.  The author breaks down the myriad ways negotiations or relationship often break down across different cultures.  Absolutely vital reading for anyone working in cultures outside the US.

Janitor Felt Invisible Until One Changed His Life
Feel good story about common decency amongst the oft-maligned millenial generation.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Weekly Reading: Treating People Well, Happiness, Lent, Cleaning up Cereal, Partition and Confrontational, Loud Israelis

Playing a little catch up on my weekly readings.

A New Business Strategy: Treating Employees Well
Who would have thought right?  Great article on B-corporations and King Arthur flour in particular.

Yes, happiness is a difficult thing to quantify but this report is a great start.  Figuring out a country or a person's concept of happiness is one of the single most important thing you can do if you are a diplomat/foreign area officer working in a foreign country.

Ash Dykes Madagascar Journey
The man who traversed Madagascar on foot...and who wrote, filmed and blogged about it.

The baffling reason many millennials don’t eat cereal
Perfectly sums them up.  They don't cereal because they don't like to clean it up...seriously...they don't like to clean up the bowl...of empty cereal.

If my church does not practice Lent, should I?
Great post by an old friend from our church in DC.

Navy Medal of Honor Awardee Inducted into Pentagon's Hall of Heroes
Great video.

Goldwater Nichols 2.0
Mandatory reading for Foreign Area officers.  Great CSIS breakdown on the 2016 SASC hearings on defense reform and interagency changes.

It’s Time to Seriously Consider Partitioning Syria
Stavridis opines on partition.  Here's my own argument for partition, in general.

A helpful graphic that compares how EMOTIONALLY EXPRESSIVE and how CONFRONTATIONAL people of various cultural backgrounds generally are.