Posted: 1:01 am ET
Posted: 1:01 am ET
Posted: 3:59 am EDT
Updated: 2:55 pm EDT
Secretary Kerry Delivers Opening Statement During Budget Testimony in Washington to Senate Foreign Relations Committee | State Department Spokesperson John Kirby (far right) and Deputy Chief of Staff Tom Sullivan listen as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers his opening statement to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on February 23, 2016, during an appearance on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., to discuss the Obama Administration’s 2017 federal budget request. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]
Below is a brief summary of the State Department’s FY2017 budget request from the Congressional Research Service:
Posted: 2:58 am EDT
Below is an excerpt from the FY 2017 request for consular projects:
CONSULAR PROJECT INITIATIVES: $2,676.6 million
Revenue from Department-retained consular fees and surcharges funds CBSP consular programs and activities. These fees and surcharges include: Machine Readable Visa (MRV) fees, Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) surcharges, Passport Security surcharges, Immigrant Visa Security surcharges, Diversity Visa Lottery fees, Fraud Prevention and Detection fees (H&L), and Affidavit of Support (AoS) Review fees. Each consular fee or surcharge is used to fund CBSP activities consistent with its applicable statutory authorities.
Consular Systems Technology: $388.2 million
Consular Systems Technology (CST) supports worldwide consular information systems operations, maintenance, and modernization. CST includes several major investments, including ConsularOne, which consolidates and modernizes all consular applications under a common IT application framework. Other CST application packages support citizens with unplanned or emergency needs, and support task force groups when crises arise that endangers citizens’ lives. The FY 2017 request of $388.2 million, which reflects a decrease of $185.8 million from the FY 2016 estimate, ensures that CA/CST continues to develop and maintain the IT systems and infrastructure necessary to support both domestic offices and overseas posts. Hardware and software expenditures will decrease in FY 2017, due to the FY 2016 completion of worldwide infrastructure replacement projects needed to support the anticipated passport surge. The request reflects continued full software development support of ConsularOne.
Domestic Executive Support: $38.0 million
Domestic Executive Support encompasses CA’s Front Office, the Office of the Executive Director (CA/EX), the Office of Policy Coordination and Public Affairs (CA/P), and the Office of the Comptroller (CA/C). Under the leadership of the Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs (CA), the Front Office oversees the overall performance of the Bureau in its role as the primary implementer and manager of the Consular and Border Security Program. The FY 2017 request supports overall operational costs including contracts, supplies, travel and other domestic operations.
The $2.2 million decrease below the FY 2016 estimate is associated with the the realignment of payments for Protecting Powers and Emergency Medical and Dietary Assistance (EMDA) programs to American Citizens Services.
Document Integrity, Training and Anti-Fraud Programs: $4.8 million
The FY 2017 request for CA’s Office of Fraud Prevention Programs (CA/FPP) will support efforts to identify and combat internal fraud, to ensure unqualified applicants do not receive or retain consular benefits.
Visa Services: $96.4 million
CA administers the visa portion of the U.S. immigration framework, using the latest technology to automate the visa process and working with other U.S. government agencies to efficiently and accurately screen all applicants for security threats and other potential ineligibilities. The FY 2017 request of $96.4 million will fund Visa Services activities, including plans for a large-scale digitization of approximately 50 million visa records, a quality assurance audit among contractors to ensure proper procedure and policies are followed, and increases to the labor contract at the National Visa Center (NVC) and Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) due to anticipated workload increases. The $10.2 million decrease is attributable to non-recurring costs in the FY 2016 estimate.
Affidavit of Support Program: $36.7 million
The Affidavit of Support (AoS) form is a requirement for many family- and employment-based immigrant visas, to demonstrate that the applicant will have adequate financial support once in the United States. Revenue from the AoS fees support the review and processing of AoS forms.
Diversity Visa Lottery Program: $4.0 million
The Diversity Visa (DV) program randomly selects nationals of certain countries for the opportunity to apply for immigration visas. DV lottery fees support the administration of the DV program.
Passport Services: $991.7 million
The Passport Services Directorate (PPT) protects U.S. border security and facilitates legitimate travel through comprehensive management of consular information technology systems, financial resources, and human resources in support of consular activities. As the Department prepares for the significant increase in passport demand related to the WHTI surge, the FY 2017 request will ensure that PPT can continue to provide exemplary service while meeting the FY 2017 projected workload of 20 million applications. Increasing workload demand is a driver of most CBSP expenses, including those of Passport Services. The overall increase of $24.8 million over the FY 2016 estimate includes increases for the Traceable Mail Initiative, travel, the Passport Call Center, supplies such as passport books and cards, and the full implementation of the Next Generation Passport (NGP) book, which will include more security features than the current passport. The increases, however, will be offset by reductions for foils and ribbons not required with the NGP; savings from phasing out printers for the current passport, and a reduction in postage.
American Citizens Services (ACS): $13.5 million
The Directorate of Overseas Citizens Services, Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management (OCS/ACS) provides documentation and protection to U.S. citizens worldwide. The
FY 2017 request will allow CA to meets its protection responsibilities for U.S. citizens overseas through programs for crisis management; protection of children, victims of crime, and U.S. citizens residing and traveling abroad; voter assistance; and emergency support to destitute U.S. citizens. The FY 2017 request reflects a $912,000 increase over the FY 2016 estimate, which supports the biannual paper stock purchases for Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CBRA) forms and the realignment of payments for Protecting Powers and Emergency Medical and Dietary Assistance (EMDA) programs from Domestic Executive Support.
Consular Affairs Overseas Support: $1,102.1 million
CA Overseas Support covers overseas expenses of the CBSP, including the costs of start-up support costs for overseas staff. Overseas support includes continued implementation of the Global Support
Strategy (GSS); International Cooperative Administrative Support Services (ICASS) contributions; equipment for consular agents; and recurring, non-salary support for Locally Employed Staff (LE Staff) and all U.S. Direct Hire (USDH) personnel. The FY 2017 request of $1,102.1 million is approximately $1.7 million below the FY 2016 Estimate, which is the net result of an increase of additional overseas operational expenses of $19.5 million, offset by a $21.2 million decrease for non-recurring new position support costs from FY 2016. Additionally, CA will begin paying non-rent operating expenses in
FY 2017, which were previously funded by the Embassy Security, Construction, and Maintenance (ESCM) appropriation.
FSN Separation Liability Trust Fund (FSNSLTF): $1.2 million
FSNSLTF covers the accrued separation pay of CBSP-funded locally employed staff who voluntarily resign, retire, die in service, or lose their jobs due to reduction-in-force. The FY 2017 request funds the FSNSLTF contribution for consular-related Foreign National staff.
BORDER SECURITY STAFF/AMERICAN SALARIES (AMSALS): $680.5 million
Human capital is the most vital component of the CBSP. The Department devotes a significant level of effort and resources toward increasing the efficiency and capacity in the visa and passport processes, including ensuring adequate staffing levels both domestically and overseas. CBSP-funded staff costs include positions in CA as well as in numerous partner bureaus. The $37.4 million increase over the FY 2016 estimate is attributable to the new positions, which will strengthen the consular workforce during the upcoming renewal of millions of passports in FY 2017. To support the consular-funded programs and activities, the FY 2017 request includes 90 new positions: seven domestic consular positions; 61 overseas consular positions; 20 positions for the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS); and two positions for the Foreign Service Institute (FSI).
The full document for the State Department request is available here (PDF).
Posted: 12:11 am EDT
This is an excerpt from the State/OIG report on IRM’s new Vendor Management Office (VMO):
In a March 2013 action memorandum, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) established the Vendor Management Office (VMO) in the Bureau of Information Resource Management (IRM), Operations, to support the Vanguard Acquisition Strategy. The CIO created the VMO after determining that he needed dedicated staff to monitor the Vanguard contract and assist with the formulation of well-defined performance metrics. The Vanguard Acquisition Strategy, a Department initiative, consolidated existing IRM contracts under the umbrella of one performance-based contract with multiple firm fixed price1 task orders to provide better coordination and improve service delivery. The total Vanguard contract award was $3.5 billion over a period of 10 years and comprised 90 to 95 percent of IRM-wide contracting activity; IRM also has 50 contracts totaling $74 million that do not fall under the VMO or Vanguard.
Three functional support units comprise the VMO: Contract Management, Service Performance Management, and Enterprise Project Lifecycle Management. The VMO is separate from the Bureau of Administration, Office of Logistics Management, Office of Acquisitions Management (AQM), which is responsible for executing the Vanguard contract.
Since the VMO’s establishment, the CIO has tasked it with coordinating several priority projects that include Public Key Infrastructure deployment, the Virtual Desktop Initiative, the Foreign Affairs Network, and Cyber Security. These are listed objectives in the Department’s IT Strategic Plan. This has led to increased responsibilities for the VMO and the resources needed to support them.
Where is this on the FAM, again?
The language in 1 Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM), 270 Organizations and Functions for the VMO, drafted in August 2014, was still in the clearance process at the time of the inspection.
The VMO operates without authority to require compliance with its procedures. The Department has no guidelines on the operation of a vendor management office in the FAM, which defines authorities and responsibilities for each major component of the Department.
To date, the VMO has operated without a 1 FAM entry or IRM policy or guidance that specifies the office’s authority. On April 13, 2015, IRM circulated a draft 1 FAM, outlining the proposed role and responsibilities of the VMO. In the interim, the VMO has no mechanism beyond consensus building to enforce adherence to its policies, procedures, and processes.
More contractors than direct-hire employees?
At the start of the inspection, the VMO staff consisted of 9 full-time employees, 1 student- trainee, and 16 contract positions. During the inspection, the number of contract positions increased to 24. FY 2014 funding for VMO activities is $1.5 million from diplomatic and consular program funding. As of May 2015, the amount for FY 2015 had increased to $3.9 million because of resources needed to manage new projects.
$376K Performance Incentive Fees to Contractors
The VMO Service Performance Management unit has implemented performance metrics to review and analyze information generated through contractor performance assessments. The CORs and GTMs are required to review and validate performance metrics on a monthly basis. However, between April 2014 and March 2015, the OIG team found that Vanguard GTMs failed to validate, on average, 25 of the 268 performance metrics each month because of other priorities. Despite the lack of review and validation, the CORs and GTMs certify to the contracting officer that the contractor has provided all services as specified in the contract and met all the performance metrics and that the Department can pay contractors their incentive fees. For example, in January and February 2015, the Department paid $376,595 in incentive fees to contractors for superior performance without a review or verification of 20 performance metrics, which could lead to the Department paying for services that it did not receive.
The system the VMO uses to process performance metric data for contracts is inadequate for mission requirements. The unit currently uses Excel spreadsheets to track, monitor, and analyze contractor compliance with 475 active performance metrics.
What about iSchedule?
The Enterprise Lifecycle Project Management unit created the iSchedule Management System (iSchedule), which provides the framework for integrating information technology project schedules to enable IRM to assign and manage work, monitor and control progress toward milestones, and understand the relationships and dependencies among the information technology projects.
Despite the VMO’s deployment of the iSchedule application in September 2014, IRM directorates do not use iSchedule on a consistent basis because IRM has not yet made use of the system mandatory. This inconsistent use of iSchedule has resulted in inadequate bureau coordination and incomplete project data and limits visibility on projects, activities, and risk. According to 5 FAH-5 H212, projects may require the formal use of a project management tool.
Inadequate acquisition planning and sole source contracts
The OIG team found little evidence that the Messaging Systems Office and the VMO conducted acquisition planning within the timeframes suggested in the Federal Acquisition Regulation 7.104-General Procedures.
In order to award a new blanket purchase agreement, the Messaging Systems Office submitted a sole source justification based on an urgent and compelling need. The Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser denied the office’s request because of inadequate acquisition planning. Program offices issuing requirements without sufficient lead-time restricts competition and risks increased costs. It can also put a strain on the contracting and administrative staff.
Read the full report here: https://oig.state.gov/system/files/isp-i-16-03.pdf
Posted: 12:55 am EDT
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released its report on Embassy Kabul Construction. Below is a a quick summary:
Since re-opening in 2002, the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, has experienced a dramatic increase in staffing, followed by a gradual drawdown. State has invested or plans to invest a total of $2.17 billion in U.S. facilities to address current and projected space needs. State awarded two contracts in 2009 and 2010 to construct additional on-compound housing and office facilities. State partially terminated one contract for the convenience of the U.S. government, and expanded the construction requirements of the second, affecting cost and schedule.
Schedule and cost: The Embassy Kabul project was originally scheduled for completion last summer but is now projected to be completed in fall of 2017. The cost has also increased from $625.4 million to $792.9 million.
Where two is better than one: Instead of building one temporary vehicle maintenance facility, the State Department ended up funding two new, temporary vehicle maintenance facilities—one at Camp Sullivan (built by OBO) and one at Qasemi Lot (to be built by DS). Apparently, post officials reported that there are security concerns with using the Sullivan vehicle maintenance facility. And if that’s the case, one wonders why OBO did not scrub the other one, hey?
Which five overseas posts have hardened trailers? According to DS officials, hardened trailers could be required as part of State’s containerized housing and office unit task orders. State reported to the GAO that the hardened trailer specification has been applied to temporary facilities at five overseas posts.
Temporary facilities: As of February 2015, temporary facilities on the embassy compound provided nearly 1,100 desks and 760 beds.
Permanent facilities: Once the current construction is completed, the Kabul embassy’s permanent facilities—both older and newly constructed office and apartment buildings—will contain 1,487 desks and 819 beds. Those totals do not include the desks or beds in temporary offices and housing facilities.
The never ending story: State planning documents, as well as post and OBO officials, identify a continued need for some of the temporary facilities following completion of the permanent facilities in 2017. That would be 875 temporary desks and 472 to 640 temporary beds. The GAO notes that even with the permanent construction completion “temporary housing will continue to provide between 37 and 44 percent of the available beds on-compound” at Embassy Kabul.
What the GAO found:
Too many cooks and constant personnel turnover:
According to State officials in Kabul and Washington, coordination to address the Kabul embassy’s future needs is particularly difficult due to the large number of stakeholders in Kabul and in Washington. Additionally, the constant personnel turnover caused by the 1-year tours served by most management, facilities, and security staff in Kabul results in lack of continuity in decision making. As far back as January 2006, the State Office of Inspector General also identified “the near total lack of institutional memory” stemming from the lack of staff continuity and a “never-ending” learning curve as the most serious impediment to good executive direction at the U.S. embassy in Kabul.
Post and Inter-Bureau Cooperation: Embassy Kabul, DS, OBO
Without a comprehensive plan that provides a strategic framework to document mission needs, catalog existing facilities, analyze gaps, provide projected costs, and document recommendations, the competing proposals of the post’s many stakeholders are difficult to manage, prioritize, and reconcile. As a result, State officials in Kabul said that these meetings suffer from no common vision and a lack of decision making. Consequently, State has been challenged to efficiently address changing embassy needs in several instances on- and off-compound. For example:
Posted: 1:04 am EDT
Afghanistan produces three-quarters of the world’s illicit opium, with cultivation reaching a record high in 2013. To reduce, among other things, illicit opium revenue for the insurgency in Afghanistan, the Department of State (Department), Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), assists the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) with initiatives aimed at reducing opium’s supply and demand. Since 2006, INL has expended $220 million on seven Counternarcotics (CN) initiatives in Afghanistan according to its Financial Management Activity Report (FMAR).
The degree to which INL’s CN program for Afghanistan has achieved desired results is unclear because INL has not fully developed or implemented Performance Measurement Plans (PMPs)2 to track progress for its CN initiatives and to allow for appropriate budgeting. As a result, INL cannot determine whether its Afghan CN initiatives are successful or should be revised, reduced, or canceled. Additionally, the long-term viability of CN initiatives is unclear because INL had not worked with the GIRoA to develop required sustainment plans that detail how CN initiatives will continue without U.S. assistance.
Above graphic extracted from State/OIG Audit of Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Counternarcotics Assistance to Afghanistan, November 2014 (pdf).
Related to our blog post on Colombia, note that INL’s program in Afghanistan does not seem to include aerial eradication ( see State/INL: Anti-Drug Aerial Eradication in Colombia and the Cancer-Linked Herbicide, What Now?).
The Crisis Management Training office out of FSI has a running tally of posts evacuated in the last two decades but it’s not available to the public. The 2016 budget justification for USAID and the State Department does include a list of posts that went on evac status in FY2013 and FY2014. I think I’ve covered all the post evacution on this list except for the one in Los Cabos, Mexico (how did I miss that?)
Also note that in June 2014, Embassy Baghdad personnel were “temporarily relocated” both to the Consulate Generals in Basra and Erbil and to the Iraq Support Unit in Amman, Jordan but that personnel movement does not appear to be considered an “evacuation.” Might that be because Iraq constitute a different/separate congressional funding request?
Fiscal Year 2013 Evacuations (October 2012-September 2013)
Fiscal Year 2014 Evacuations (October 2013-September 2014)
Extracted from the 2016 budget request for USAID and the State Department:
EDCS funding is heavily influenced by unpredictable evacuations that may occur as a result of natural disasters, epidemics, terrorist acts, and civil unrest. Recent demands include Sierra time Leone’s Ebola-related emergency evacuation and the evacuation of the embassy in Ukraine due to the ongoing conflict.
EDCS also funds certain activities relating to the conduct of foreign affairs by senior Administration officials. These activities generally take place in connection with the U.S. hosting of U.S. Government-sponsored conferences, such as the UN and OAS General Assemblies, the G-20 Summit, the Nuclear Security Summit, the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, the Asian-Pacific Economic (APEC) Summit, and the NATO Summit. In FY 2014, the U.S. hosted the U.S. – Africa Leaders’ Summit. In FY 2015, the U.S. will begin the two-year Chairmanship of the Arctic Council. In FY 2016, the Department will host the Nuclear Security Summit.
Other EDCS activities include presidential, vice presidential, and congressional delegation travel overseas; official visits and official gifts for foreign dignitaries; representation requirements of senior Department officials; rewards for information on international terrorism, narcotics trafficking, transnational organized crime, and war crimes; as well as the expansion of publicity efforts.
— Domani Spero
Congress annually appropriates funds for the security of diplomatic personnel and facilities within the Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs appropriation, which is about 1% of the total federal budget. Security funding amounts to about 9% of that appropriation.
Congress has not enacted a stand-alone State Department appropriation prior to the start of the fiscal year since 1995 and has not passed a stand-alone Foreign Relations Authorization law since 2002.6 Both could have been legislative vehicles for debate regarding Administration of Foreign Affairs, including diplomatic/embassy security funding and priorities. Instead, Congress has provided ongoing security funding within Continuing Resolutions (CRs) that have delayed by several months the full-year appropriation eventually provided. Funding within a CR is usually based on the previous year’s funding levels. Furthermore, if spending was not in the previous year’s appropriation (as was the case with Benghazi in 2012), it would not be funded by a CR. Only after the final appropriation is passed by Congress and signed into law by the President would State Department officials know what level of funding they can allocate on a daily/weekly/monthly basis over the 275 worldwide diplomatic posts (or 1600 work facilities)7 and over the remainder of the fiscal year.
Read in full here (pdf).
International affairs is important but apparently not important enough to merit the right interest in Congress in the last two decades when it comes to appropriating funds. There’s enough blame to go around going back to 1995, spanning three administrations, all the way back to the 104th Congress and every congressional session thereafter.
Remember that the next time you see an elected representative shed tears on teevee or blow fire from his ass about somebody or another not doing enough for the diplomats our country send overseas.
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— Domani Spero
Note that some documents are web-accessible but most are in pdf formats.
-08/29/14 Latin America and the Caribbean: Key Issues for the 113th Congress [598 Kb]
-08/29/14 Organization of American States: Background and Issues for Congress [433 Kb]
-08/29/14 Special Immigrant Juveniles: In Brief [317 Kb]
-08/29/14 Taiwan: Major U.S. Arms Sales Since 1990 [646 Kb]
-08/28/14 The “1033 Program,” Department of Defense Support to Law Enforcement [234 Kb]
-08/28/14 The Islamic State in Syria and Iraq: A Possible Threat to Jordan? – CRS Insights [84 Kb]
-08/28/14 Unaccompanied Children from Central America: Foreign Policy Considerations [451 Kb]
-08/27/14 The New START Treaty: Central Limits and Key Provisions [436 Kb]
-08/27/14 The Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) [53 Kb]
-08/26/14 Conventional Prompt Global Strike and Long-Range Ballistic Missiles: Background and Issues [452 Kb]
-08/26/14 NATO’s Wales Summit: Expected Outcomes and Key Challenges [317 Kb]
-08/26/14 The 2014 Ebola Outbreak: International and U.S. Responses [625 Kb]
-08/21/14 China’s Economic Rise: History, Trends, Challenges, and Implications for the United States [646 Kb]
-08/20/14 Climate Change and Existing Law: A Survey of Legal Issues Past, Present, and Future [514 Kb]
-08/20/14 The “Militarization” of Law Enforcement and the Department of Defense’s “1033 Program” – CRS Insights [66 Kb]
-08/19/14 Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances [504 Kb]
-08/19/14 Iran Sanctions [709 Kb]
-08/15/14 Domestic Terrorism Appears to Be Reemerging as a Priority at the Department of Justice – CRS Insights [97 Kb]
-08/15/14 Latin America: Terrorism Issues [530 Kb]
-08/15/14 Manufacturing Nuclear Weapon “Pits”: A Decisionmaking Approach to Congress [656 Kb]
-08/15/14 Same-Sex Marriage: A Legal Background After United v. Windsor [234 Kb]
-08/15/14 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs: FY2015 Budget and Appropriations [558 Kb]
-08/14/14 The U.S. Military Presence in Okinawa and Futenma Base Controversy [654 Kb]
-08/13/14 U.S. – Vietnam Economic and Trade Relations: Issues for the 113th Congress [408 Kb]
-08/12/14 Iraq: Politics, Governance, and Human Rights [497 Kb]
-08/08/14 Ebola: 2014 Outbreak in West Africa – CRS In Focus [243 Kb]
-08/08/14 Iraq Crisis and U.S. Policy [578 Kb]
-08/08/14 U.S. – Vietnam Nuclear Cooperation Agreement: Issues for Congress [336 Kb]
-08/07/14 Guatemala: Political, Security, and Socio-Economic Conditions and U.S. Relations [449 Kb]
-08/07/14 India’s New Government and Implications for U.S. Interests [310 Kb]
-08/07/14 Reducing the Budget Deficit: Overview of Policy Issues [410 Kb]
-08/07/14 U.S. – EU Cooperation on Ukraine and Russia – CRS Insights [135 Kb]
-08/06/14 2014 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review: Evolution of Strategic Review – CRS Insights [243 Kb]
-08/05/14 China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities – Background and Issues for Congress [4552 Kb]
-08/05/14 Maritime Territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Disputes Involving China: Issues for Congress [1348 Kb]
-08/05/14 Safe at Home? Letting Ebola-Stricken Americans Return – CRS Insights [195 Kb]
-08/04/14 Indonesia’s 2014 Presidential Election – CRS Insights [55 Kb]
-08/01/14 “Womenomics” in Japan: In Brief [232 Kb]
-08/01/14 Gun Control Legislation in the 113th Congress [539 Kb]
-08/01/14 Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations [907 Kb]
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— Domani Spero
On September 2, President Obama arrived in Tallinn, Estonia. From September 4-5, he will be in Wales for the NATO Summit. There will be 60 world leaders, 70 foreign ministers, 70 defence ministers and 28 NATO member countries invited to the UK summit.
According to the CRS, the formal summit agenda is expected to focus on three main issues:
• Enhancing allied readiness and strengthening collective defense and military capabilities, including through increased troop rotations and military exercises in Central and Eastern Europe;
• Marking the conclusion of NATO’s decade-long mission in Afghanistan at the end of 2014 and launching a planned follow-on training mission; and
• Enhancing NATO’s support of partner countries outside the alliance, including through a new “Defense Capacity Building Initiative.”
Apparently, also a key discussion that must be had during the summit is the defense spending of member states. Below via the CRS:
A key question underlying summit deliberations on collective defense will be whether the allies are willing to devote the resources necessary to meet their stated commitments. As such, a primary objective of NATO leaders and U.S. and UK officials, among others, is to secure allied pledges to reverse the ongoing downward trend in allied defense spending.
In 2013, total defense spending by NATO European allies as a percentage of GDP was about 1.6%; just four NATO allies (Estonia, Greece, the UK, and the United States) met the alliance’s goal of spending 2% of GDP on defense (see Appendix for more allied defense spending figures). Since 2001, the U.S. share of total allied defense spending has grown from 63% to 72%.13 Many analysts and U.S. officials have long asserted that defense spending in many European countries is not only too low; it is also inefficient, with disproportionately high personnel costs coming at the expense of much-needed research, development, and procurement. In 2013, only four allies (France, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States) met a NATO guideline to devote 20% of defense expenditures to the purchase of major equipment, considered a key indicator of the pace of military modernization.
Follow the NATO Summit Wales 2014 via GOV.UK here.
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