Senate considers funding cuts to Kenyan security forces over human rights abuses (Part II)

In my last post, I wrote about how the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations had asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to submit a report to the Committee to verify that the U.S. government is not providing security assistance to Kenyan military or police personnel who may have been involved in human rights abuses in Mt. Elgon in March 2008 and in North Eastern Province between November 2011 and January 2012. In her report, Secretary Clinton is to document the steps the Government of Kenya has taken to conduct thorough, credible investigations of such violations.

In order to get a sense of the scale of the funding that may be at stake, let’s take a short crash course on security assistance funding. It’ll be fun, I promise.

Without getting too down in the weeds on U.S. security assistance, the Secretary of State maintains oversight for some security assistance under Title 22 (Foreign Assistance) of the U.S. Code. However, under Title 10 (Armed Services) of the U.S. Code, the Secretary of Defense has oversight of Section 1206 funds. This gives the Secretary of Defense the authority to train and equip foreign military forces for two specified purposes — to enable foreign military forces to perform counterterrorism operations, and to enable foreign military forces to participate in or to support military and stability operations in which U.S. armed forces are participating. (For background on the origins and future of Section 1206 funding, see the Congressional Research Service report Security Assistance Reform: “Section 1206” Background and Issues for Congress or the Government Accountability Office report Section 1206 Security Assistance Program—Findings on Criteria, Coordination, and Implementation.) There are other Title 10 authorities, but to be quite honest, some of this security assistance data is so opaque that efforts to dig up what other Title 10 funding Kenya might receive may be futile.

No matter who maintains the authorities for security assistance, funding is supposed to comply with the Leahy Amendment of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, which stipulates that all units scheduled to receive training or equipment should be vetted so as to ensure that the U.S. government is not funding security forces that have been involved in gross human rights violations.

According to the FY13 Congressional Budget Justification for Foreign Operations, Kenya receives the following Title 22 funds:

Type of Funding

FY11 Actual

FY12 Estimate

FY13 Request

Foreign Military Financing (FMF)





International Military Education and Training (IMET)




International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (INCLE)




Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining and Related Programs (NADR)




As a caveat, this may not be an all-inclusive list of Title 22 funds, as Kenya may receive additional assistance on a regional basis as a part of the Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism (PREACT) – a multi-disciplinary, interagency counterterrorism initiative formerly known as the East Africa Regional Strategic Initiative (EARSI). Regardless, we can still see that in accordance with the request of the Senate Committee on Appropriations report, and based on the FY13 Request in the Congressional Budget Justification, Secretary Clinton will have to verify that at least $9.8M of Title 22 security assistance funding would not be going towards Kenyan military or police personnel who may have been involved in human rights abuses.

Kenya also receives Section 1206 funds, which do not fall under State Department oversight, since they are Title 10 funds. I do not have visibility over what Kenya may have received in FY12 or what may be planned for FY13. But as a reference, Kenya received $46.5M in Section 1206 funds between FY06 and FY11. To break that down, that’s $25.9M between FY06 and FY09, $8.5M in FY10, and $12.1M in FY11. 

The question I’m left with is, if the Secretary of State must verify that Title 22 funds are not allocated to Kenyan security forces involved in human rights abuses, is the secretary of Defense being asked to carry out a similar investigation for Title 10 funds? Or is there a reason the Title 22 funds for Kenya are being placed under special scrutiny?

One response

  1. Clearly, that funding is going nowhere. That’s why I wrote the post in the first place, and that’s why I highlighted Kenya’s strategic importance to the U.S. in the initial post. However, given that exact point and the fact that SecState is being asked to do this drill for Kenya when there are worse offenders out there, I do actually believe this is being used to signal Kenya about something else.

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