the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by the Press Secretary on the U.S. Security Sector Assistance Policy

Today, President Obama issued a new policy directive on security sector assistance.  The goals of this new policy are to:  help partner nations build the sustainable capacity to address common security challenges; promote partner support for the policies and interests of the United States; strengthen collective security and multinational defense arrangements and organizations; and promote universal values. 

The “security sector” of a government is composed of institutions that have the authority to use force to protect both the state and its citizens at home or abroad, maintain international peace and security, and to enforce the law and provide oversight of security institutions and forces.  Security sector assistance refers to the policies, programs, and activities the United States Government employs to engage with foreign partners in these areas, including to help them build and sustain the capacity and effectiveness of  institutions to provide security, safety, and justice for their people; and  to contribute to efforts that address common security challenges. 

The United States has long recognized that the diversity and complexity of the threats to our national security require a collaborative approach, both within the United States Government and among allies, partners, and multilateral organizations.  U.S. security sector assistance yields important and tangible benefits, including reducing the need for the United States or partner nations to intervene abroad in response to instability.  The policy directive issued by the President today will enhance the responsiveness, impact, and effectiveness of our security sector assistance, including through effective management and alignment of efforts across multiple agencies.