Secretary of Defense Bob Gates has rightly been hailed as a great public servant, a stellar Secretary, and a constructive partner to Secretary Clinton. He also frequently makes the case for building up civilian international affairs capacity in his most prominent policy speeches. Yet a number of his proposals applying this policy in fact undercut civilian authorities and capabilities. Foremost among these is the idea for new, permanent, shared DOD-State resources and authorities for conflict prevention, post-conflict reconstruction, and security assistance.
Secretary Gates has an article in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs that builds on his December letter to Secretary Clinton, proposing joint funds between State and Defense. It is the latest salvo in a long-running debate over how to manage security assistance programs, how to fund contingencies, and how to integrate short-term defense requirements with longer-term development and diplomatic considerations.