This week, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) is marking up its version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009. In previous versions of the bill, Congress granted increased funding to the Department of Defense (DOD) to pursue military activities in Africa and around the world. What is referred to as “Section 1206” or “Building Partnership Capacity” are programs that will be either expanded, deflated, or held level during mark-up. These programs could jeopardize economic development and good governance in Africa, resulting in true repercussions for the people of Africa.

Concerned about the increasing militarization of the African continent, AFJN – along with 16 other Africa-focused organizations and 10 individual Africa experts – sent a letter to HASC Chairman Ike Skelton and Ranking Member Duncan Hunter expressing our fears about the prevalence of military funding and the lack of attention to true development needs. Click here for the full text of the letter.

The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) marked up its version of the bill last week, and according to the SASC Press Release, the committee “extends and enhances DOD authorities to train and equip foreign military forces and other counterterrorism forces.” It is our sincere hope that HASC will decline to extend this program and that the Senate proposals will be weakened or eliminated during conference committee.