Kausner: Total government effort needed for U.S. security

A total government approach with the State Department in the lead will be needed to address U.S. security cooperation challenges going forward, a high-ranking U.S. official said on Wednesday.

Gregory Kausner, the deputy assistant secretary for the State Department's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, made the statement at the 2013 Defense Security Cooperation Workshop in Arlington, Virginia. Kausner said that each part of the government has a role to play in the field of security cooperation.

"What's readily apparent to me, irrespective of what role I have filled, is how vital all the players -DoD, Congress, and the State Department - are to the effective administration and execution of security cooperation," Kausner said. "This all-hands approach is what's required, not only because of the volume of and demand for security cooperation programs, but because of the unique perspective and expertise that our interagency model brings to bear."

Kausner spoke of challenges the State Department faces in U.S. security, including finding a balance between security interests and the promotion of freedom and human rights, building both capability and capacity, deciding which weapons systems to sell to ensure sales do not destabilize regional security balances and the protection of a U.S. military-technological edge.

Kausner said the one method of dealing with the challenges involves the development of effective policies and the cooperative implementation of the policies by the State Department and the DoD.

"We learned valuable lessons from an unprecedented transition from a military footprint to a civilian-led mission in Iraq, and we are now engaged in a similar level of cooperation in Afghanistan, where State Department civilians work side-by-side on a daily basis with their military counterparts," Kausner said. "We have almost doubled the number of professionals exchanged between state and DoD, whether coming from state to DoD via the Policy Advisor's program, or from DoD to state in the form of detailees into the department, of which there are now the most on record. I think we'd all agree that interoperability isn't just about the way we interact with foreign partners; it's about fine-tuning how we interact with each other."

Kausner said the second aspect of the path forward on security cooperation involves an improvement of the process itself.

"For the State Department, one of the most significant areas of focus has been the revision of the (State Department)-managed U.S. Munitions List, to migrate items to the Department of Commerce's Commerce Control List," Kausner said. "These revisions are necessary to allow us to shield the technologies and capabilities that truly do give us an edge, protecting national security more effectively while enabling a more reliable and predictable system for U.S. industry and exporters."

Kausner closed by saying while there is unfinished business in the area of security cooperation, the State Department will continue to work to improve its policies to fit the changing international environment.