"MILITARY DEEP into civilian duties" by John Donnelly (Page A1, Dec. 3) draws attention to the Defense Department's growing role in and responsibility for US assistance to other nations. As the article points out, the Defense Department's share of US spending for overseas aid has nearly quadrupled in three years.
What the article fails to mention is that much of the Pentagon's new foreign assistance money goes not to the humanitarian or civilian reconstruction projects Donnelly highlights, but to training and equipping military and police forces in countries such as Pakistan.
Before the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the State Department played the lead role in shaping such security assistance programs. Today the State Department takes a back seat to the military.
This increasing detachment of international security assistance from the State Department's wider foreign policy framework is one more reason to be concerned about the increasingly military face of US assistance abroad.
The writer is a principal research scientist with the security studies program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.