January 23, 2004 | News Releases on National Security and Defense
WASHINGTON, JAN. 23, 2004-Given that police-rather than military
forces-increasingly man the front lines in the war on terror, the
United States should change the rules and shift its funding
priorities from militaries to police and police training, according
to a new paper from The Heritage Foundation.
Police in more than 100 countries have arrested more than 3,000 al Qaeda suspects, compared to 650 captured by military units. Yet, Section 660 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1973 bars the United States from supporting foreign police efforts with funding or training unless Congress approves an exception.
"It's not that military units are incompetent," says Dana Dillon, a veteran observer of Southeast Asian security issues and a senior policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation. "It's that, other than Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines, none of the terrorist groups we're concerned with fight from jungle hideouts. They operate in urban areas. They're among us. That's why it's far more likely they'll be caught through police investigations than military operations and why we should be free to help the police."
Dillon says in addition to repealing the prohibition on training foreign law enforcement, we should offer guidelines on how to address human rights and democracy building, place one agency in charge of foreign law enforcement development and shift aid from military to law enforcement training and reform.