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Feature of the Week
On November 30, a congressional conference committee released details of a compromise bill to authorize Defense Department programs and policies for FY 2017. This year’s bill includes major reforms and changes to security cooperation authorities, including by expanding the types of purposes, activities, and recipients removing restrictions, and increasing funding to certain authorities. Here are some of the highlights:
  • Authorizes a new, multi-purpose “train and equip” authority that allows DoD to provide more training to national police forces, removes certain country restrictions, and requires human rights and institution building aid;
  • Increases funding significantly to the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund, Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, and the Special Defense Acquisition Fund; and,
  • Explicitly allows DoD to provide MANPADS to Syria rebel forces
For a full breakdown, click here
SAM in the News
Religious Repression and U.S. Security Aid: a Tale of Central Asian Jihad
Eloise Goldsmith, The McGill International Review
The author uses data from SAM's military aid and arms sales databases to highlight U.S. security assistance to Tajikistan since 2003.
Security Assistance News Roundup

Commander Pushes to Keep Syrian Rebel Training, Aid Program Under Skeptical Donald Trump
The election of Donald Trump has raised questions on the future of U.S. support for opposition forces in Syria and has caused thousands of rebels to consider weighing other alternatives, including closer alignment with extremist groups. U.S. Central Command chief General Joseph Votel, highlighting the ongoing push towards Raqqa by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, urged president-elect Donald Trump to continue the train and equip program currently in place. Last week, Qatar’s foreign minister announced that his country would continue supporting Syrian rebels even if the new U.S. administration abandons the effort. 

Obama Expands War With Al Qaeda to Include Shabaab in Somalia
The Obama administration has expanded the legal scope of the fight against al-Qaeda by designating al-Shabaab as an “associated force” to be included in Congress’ original authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) passed after 9/11. The move gives President-elect Trump the authority to intensify airstrike campaigns and other counter-terrorism operations in support of AU and Somali government forces. The European Union also announced that it would extend its anti-piracy operation by two years in Somalia until 2018, while NATO has signaled disengagement. All of this comes as Somalia’s electoral body postponed presidential elections for the third time.

German Arms Company Heckler & Koch to 'No Longer Supply Undemocratic, Corrupt Countries'
According to a senior employee, German arms manufacture Heckler & Koch has decided to limit its weapons sales to democratic countries that are in NATO or closely affiliated with the organization. Reports cite difficulties in obtaining government approval for deals outside these countries as a contributing factor. Notably, according to the company's new criteria, Turkey–a NATO member – would not make the list of approved countries.

Turkish PM Says Finalizing Constitutional Change to Bolster Erdogan’s Powers
Last week, Turkey’s ruling AK Party began finalizing plans to create an executive presidency, a move that would effectively cement President Tayyip Erdogan’s powers and give him the opportunity to govern until 2029. Prime Minister Binali Yildrim announced that the country might hold a referendum on the proposed changes as early as summer 2017. 
U.S. Push to Halt Genocide in South Sudan Unravels at United Nations
The South Sudanese military seems prepared to launch an offensive with the beginning of the annual dry season in December. According to Keith Harper, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, the U.S. has “credible information that the South Sudanese government is currently targeting civilians in Central Equatoria and preparing for large-scale attacks in the coming days or weeks”. Following a warning from the U.N. about an imminent genocide, the U.S. has been calling for an arms embargo against South Sudan at the UNSC. Thus far, however, the U.S. has failed to muster the minimum nine votes for a resolution. 
Colombia’s Congress Approves Peace Accord with FARC
Last Wednesday, Colombia’s Congress approved a new peace deal with the FARC, bypassing voters in the ratification process after a previous accord was struck down in the October 2nd referendum. The new deal, which failed to address the demands of some “no” voters, was signed on November 24th. While the signing and approval of the peace deal signal an end to the Americas’ longest war, there have been some negative consequences, notably that criminal armed groups are increasingly taking over the areas abandoned by the FARC.
Data Fact of the Week
In FY 2015, the United States allowed companies to export close to $70 million in military equipment, including for military aircraft and armored vehicles, to Turkey through the Commerce Department’s relatively new 600 series program. Over $17 million of these exports were delivered without a U.S. government license. The 600 series program includes arms that were previously controlled by the State Department under stricter regulations.
From the U.S. Government
U.S. Major Arms Sales Notifications
Poland - JASSM-ER with Support
November 28, 2016
The estimated cost is $200 million.
December 5, 2016
The estimated cost is $156 million.
December 5, 2016
The estimated cost is $115 million.
December 5, 2016
The estimated cost is $668 million.

Arms Export Control Reform Notifications
Sate Seeks Comments on Disclosure of Arms Export Law Violations
November 28, 2016

State Amends Arms Export Regulations
December 5, 2016
This final rule clarifies the scope of disclosure of information submitted to the State Department and clarifies policies and procedures on statutory debarment.
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