Rebalancing the Rebalance: Applying the Pivotal States Approach

  • Colonel Russell N. Bailey

Can the U.S. seize strategic opportunities and achieve its “Rebalance to Asia?” A more tailored implementation of U.S. national security policy and strategy is required if the U.S. is to achieve the desired ends. Building capacity among consequential nations strengthens internal security postures and supports regional stability. The unwise allocation of Security Assistance funds consumes precious resources that could otherwise address other pressing issues. A Pivotal States policy will better discriminate among competing national security objectives. Identifying Pivotal States will allow the U.S. to prioritize security assistance recipients and fund only those nations or programs that represent strategic necessities. Using a principled approach within the framework of the Pivotal States policy and establishing clear criteria for the identification of Pivotal States will facilitate a more successful Security Assistance strategy. Creating an NSC-led Interagency Policy Committee to oversee Foreign/Security Assistance planning and execution is necessary. Overcoming bureaucratic friction and developing common competencies among Foreign Assistance professionals from all agencies is critical.