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U.S. Aid To Caucasus, Central Asia To Drop, Except For Security

The U.S. is proposing to cut State Department aid to the Caucasus by about 24 percent, while decreasing the portion of that aid devoted to security-related programs by about two percent, according to recently released budget documents (pdf). In Central Asia, while total aid would drop 13 percent, security assistance would remain roughly the same. The aid packages, if approved by Congress, would continue a pattern by the U.S. of increasingly placing a greater emphasis on security than on political, economic or health programs in the region.

Overall, State Department aid to Central Asia would drop from $133.6 million in fiscal year 2012 to $118.3 million in the current fiscal year, while aid programs under the rubric of "Peace and Security" would stay roughly steady at $30.3 million. (Programs in the "Peace and Security" category include not only military aid programs but also those targeting police, border control agencies and so on.) In the Caucasus, the aid would drop from $150.2 million to $121.6 million, with the security portion of that declining slightly from $35.6 million to $34.9 million.

Georgia would remain the largest U.S. aid recipient in the region, though its assistance package would drop from $85 million last year to $68.7 million this year. Most of the decrease would affect programs under the rubric of "Economic Growth." Aid programs in the "Peace and Security" category, meanwhile, would remain steady, at $21.7 million, with particular focuses on preparing Georgia's armed forces for NATO interoperability and retraining weapons scientists to work in counterproliferation.

Kyrgyzstan would be the second biggest aid recipient in the region, with its total package remaining steady at about $47 million. Its security assistance package would grow, though, from $6.3 million to $9.2 million, which would, among other things, "help the new Kyrgyz Government undertake a well-planned overhaul of its security services" and "enhance the ability of the Kyrgyz Republic to improve border security and address transnational threats such as terrorism."

Tajikistan's total aid would drop from $45 million to $37.4 million, with security assistance dropping from $11.7 to $9.8 million. Armenia's aid would decrease from $44.3 million to $36.6 million, with the peace and security portion of that dropping slightly, from $9.2 million to $8.9 million. Azerbaijan's total aid would drop from $20.9 million to $16.3 million, with security assistance staying roughly the same, at $4.3 million. Kazakhstan's aid would drop from $18.8 million to $14.9 million, with security assistance declining from $6.2 million to $5.8 million. Uzbekistan's aid would stay roughly steady, with $12.6 in total aid of which $3.4 million would be security assistance. Turkmenistan's aid would drop from $9.9 million to $6.7 million, with the security portion of that dropping from $2.9 to $2.1 million.

If you count Mongolia as part of the region, it is the one country that bucks the trend: while its total assistance is rising from $7.1 to $10.1 million, its security assistance package of $4 million would decline slightly from last year.

It should be kept in mind that the State Department does not operate all of the U.S. government's aid programs; in particular, Department of Defense-administered programs have been an increasingly significant part of U.S. military aid to the region. And they are not budgeted and reported in the same way, so they are somewhat harder to keep track of. So the above is not a complete picture, but the trend is still, of course, suggestive.

U.S. Aid To Caucasus, Central Asia To Drop, Except For Security

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