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The State Department will keep its hold in place on security assistance money for Ethiopia because of what it calls ethnic cleansing by the Ethiopian government. The Defense Department will send $125 million to Ukraine for security assistance with the possibility of sending $150 million more. Having both agencies doing similar jobs is one reason the system is broken, according to Alexandra Schmitt, Policy Analyst at the Center for American Progress.

  • Schmitt said the State Department is legally supposed to be in charge of all foreign assistance, which includes security assistance, but under the current system the Defense Department has its own programs and decision-making structure to allocate American weapons, training and support, which may not align with broader U.S. policy considerations.
  • There is broad consensus that the State Department, overshadowed by DoD, does not have the resources to play a large role in foreign policy; moving security assistance resources to the State Department (a roughly $7 billion transfer) would empower them to play a larger role, said Schmitt.
  • While there is always some resistance around cutting DoD’s budget, in making these reforms, the military would still implement U.S. security assistance, but the decision-making and policymaking power would be transferred back to the State Department, explained Schmitt.
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