Press Kit


Security Assistance Monitor (SAM) is a leading source for data and analysis on U.S. military and police aid, training, and arms sales. Our interactive databases and staff are regularly sought after for the most comprehensive and up-to-date data on U.S. security assistance around the world and for our insights on related trends and policies in U.S. military aid and arms sales. 

What Can You Learn on SAM's Database

SAM's four online databases allow media professionals to answer a range of questions: Who are the countries and areas that receive the most U.S. military and economic aid? How have U.S.-security relationships changed over the years with these countries? Is the United States providing the right type of U.S. military aid to meet its objectives? How is the United States implementing its export control laws and policies? Below, please see "How You Can Track U.S. Military and Police Aid: A Guide for Media Professionals" for detailed information on how to use our military aid database.                               


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Christina Arabia

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Press releases

                                         Trump Admin. Continues Spike in Counterterrorism Aid to Africa
U.S. Counterterrorism Aid Globally Increasingly Focused on
Foreign Militaries, Border Security, and Anti-Radicalization

Press Release, May 16, 2018
The Trump Administration is continuing an unprecedented increase in U.S. foreign aid to countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to address terrorist groups threats through the Defense and State Departments, according to a fact sheet released today by Security Assistance Monitor. The fact sheet highlights key new data on the Pentagon’s main global counterterrorism aid program (Section 1206/333). From FY 2015-18, the Defense Department notified the U.S. Congress of a total $954 million in counterterrorism aid to countries in Sub-Saharan Africa through these programs. This amount is nearly triple the amount for the previous four years.

Following the Obama Administration’s lead, the Trump Administration approved a total $244 million in counterterrorism aid for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa for FY 2017-18 through the Defense Department’s Section 333 program. The top ten recipients of this aid during this period for Africa are Uganda, Kenya, Chad, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Nigeria, Niger, and Senegal. The majority of Section 1206/333 aid to African countries is focused on building foreign military capacity to engage in combat operations and improve their air support, logistics, and command and control efforts.

“As the United States becomes more engaged in combating terrorist groups in Africa both in terms of U.S. foreign aid and U.S. military operations (such as in Niger), it will need to invest more time into understanding the risk of these activities to mitigate the potential loss of U.S. weapons and soldier lives,” said Colby Goodman, Director of Security Assistance Monitor. “A key challenge in many of these countries is high levels of corruption within their defense sector.”

In connection with a Stimson Center study on U.S. government-wide counterterrorism spending released today, this fact sheet also provides a clearer picture of total U.S. counterterrorism aid globally and shows key new trends and gaps in U.S. transparency. In FY 2019, the Trump Administration proposed an estimated total of $11.2 billion for U.S. counterterrorism aid, which is slightly less than FY 2018. This number, however, could be higher or lower as the U.S. government does not systematically categorize counterterrorism aid data.

The biggest change between the Obama and Trump Administrations in global counterterrorism spending is the Trump Administration’s major cuts to the State Department. In FY 2019, the Trump Administration proposed a total $2 billion in U.S. counterterrorism aid through the State Department, which is a $1.3 billion decrease in aid compared to FY 2017 or FY 2016. One of the key cuts is a 38 percent drop in the State Department’s Anti-Terrorism Assistance Initiative, which focuses on supporting foreign law enforcement to address terrorism threats. The countries that saw the largest drop in this type of aid were Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Tunisia, and Jordan.

“The proposed cuts to State Department counterterrorism aid aimed at assisting foreign law enforcement sends a warning signal that the Trump Administration is favoring the military over the police in U.S. counterterrorism aid to foreign security forces,” said Christina Arabia, Program and Research Associate at Security Assistance Monitor. “By regularly engaging with the public, the police can provide a much better sense of terrorist threats and how to address them.”

At the same time, the Trump Administration has increased State Department funding to support foreign countries with terrorist interdiction at borders and in reducing terrorism recruitment or radicalization (or Countering Violent Extremism - CVE). Despite some Trump Administration early complaints about CVE, the administration proposed over $218 million for the initiative in FY 2018. The majority of the Trump Administration’s proposed CVE aid is focused on Sub-Saharan Africa and South and Central Asia for FY 2018-19.

This fact sheet also highlights the difficulty in determining U.S. counterterrorism aid globally and in some cases on a country level. This data and information is essential for the U.S. policy community to understand to help identify risks before the aid is given and to evaluate the aid after it is delivered. Yet, as the Stimson Center report highlights there are serious inconsistencies in how the U.S. government categorizes counterterrorism spending.

In some key ways, the Defense Department is improving its transparency on U.S. counterterrorism aid with more transparency on its Section 1206/333 data while the State Department’s data is decreasing in transparency. For instance, the State Department leaves out critical details on proposed country level spending through its Peacekeeping Operations program that are included for other programs. Under the Trump Administration, the State Department has also stopped identifying how much aid is going to its Counterterrorism Financing initiative.

Trump Makes Over $80 Billion in Major Arms Deals in First Year

Major Changes in Types of Weapons and Recipient Countries Compared to Obama

Puts U.S. Manufacturing Jobs and Human Rights at Risk

A report released today by the Security Assistance Monitor (SAM) program of the Center for International Policy documents over $80 billion in U.S. arms sales notifications to Congress during the Trump Administration’s first year in office. The Trump Administration total of $82.2 billion for 2017 slightly exceeded the Obama Administration’s total of $76.5 billion for 2016, and was more than $20 billion less than the peak year of the Obama Administration’s major arms sales offers in 2010.
Some of the biggest differences in major arms sales offers in 2017 compared to previous years are the types of weapons. The bulk of major arms offers during President Obama’s final year focused on sales of military aircraft. In contrast, the largest category of arms sales offers under the Trump Administration has been bombs and missiles, driven by major missile defense deals with Saudi Arabia, Poland, Romania, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates. Overall, the Trump Administration proposed 40 notifications in this category, which is a 30 percent increase over 2016.
There were notable differences between the Trump and Obama Administration on human rights. In 2017, the Trump Administration lifted Obama-era suspensions on specific arms deals to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Nigeria. “Signing off on missile and bomb sales to Saudi Arabia when the country was using these weapons to attack the civilian population in Yemen sent an alarming signal about the U.S. support for human rights,” said Colby Goodman, the Director of the Security Assistance Monitor and editor of the report.
A key reason President Trump touted arms sales in 2017 was to create “jobs, jobs, jobs,” as the President put it during a visit to Saudi Arabia in May of 2017. However, the Trump Administration approved 16 deals in 2017 and eight in January 2018 to help foreign countries create arms manufacturing jobs in their countries. “This is not the ‘America First’ economic policy that has been touted by the Trump Administration,” notes William D. Hartung, the author of the new report, entitled Trends in U.S. Arms Sales 2017: Comparing the Obama and Trump Administrations. “These deals may also cut U.S. manufacturing jobs in the future with increased competition from overseas.” 
This report is made possible because of improvements in the transparency of U.S. arms sales notifications in recent years. But while some types of arms sales transparency is up, export controls may be going down as the Trump Administration seeks to reduce restrictions on firearms exports, including removing notifications to Congress on firearms sales. There are also reports about expediting the approval process for the Pentagon’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) system.
In 2017, the Trump Administration sent firearms sales notifications to Congress for 25 different countries, including to countries such as Bahrain, El Salvador, Honduras, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates where there are heightened human rights risks. “Congress has played a key role in halting questionable firearms sales abroad in the past few years,” said Colby Goodman. “Eliminating this critical authority undermines Congress’s intent to provide more oversight on a category of weapons that often claims more lives in a year than any other type of arm.”
Other major findings of the report include:
The Trump Administration’s top ten recipients of U.S. arms sales notifications in 2017 were in order: Saudi Arabia, Poland, Japan, Canada, Romania, Bahrain, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Greece, and Singapore. This is strikingly different than the top ten countries in 2016: Qatar, Kuwait, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Iraq, Australia, Norway, and Germany.
The reported suspension of the Boeing F-18 fighter jet sale with Canada will result in Canada dropping out of the top 10 in 2017. Last year, the Canadian government publically excluded Boeing from its fighter jet competition after Boeing initiated a tariff action against a Canadian aviation competitor that was strongly backed by the Trump Administration.
Other notable arms sales offers under the missiles and bombs category are for Bahrain, Kuwait, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan. The Trump Administration proposed nearly $952 million in missile and torpedo deals for Taiwan in 2017 to help counter threats from China.
For a complete list of all U.S. arms sales notifications in 2016 and 2017, please see SAM's fact sheet accompanying this report. All of the U.S. arms sales notification data has also been uploaded to SAM's one-of-a-kind U.S. arms sales database, which allows users to sort the data by region and program (chose notifications and the year in the filter section).
The Security Assistance Monitor (SAM) is a program of the Center for International Policy focused on enhancing transparency and oversight of U.S. foreign security aid and arms sales. By providing comprehensive U.S. security assistance data and by conducting independent, data-driven research, we seek to inform and elevate the debate among civil society, journalists, scholars, and policy makers in the United States and abroad about the risks and best uses of U.S. security assistance to improve human security.
For additional information or interview requests, please contact Bill Hartung at 917-923-3202 or Colby Goodman at or 202-232-3317 ext. 113. Click here to sign up for the Security Assistance Monitor's Weekly Monitor.