By: Joe Gould
WASHINGTON — President Trump’s budget announced Tuesday proposes an end to President Obama’s signature counterterrorism training program, long criticized on Capitol Hill as too broad to be effective.
The White House proposal would zero out the Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund, from $1.8 billion in fiscal 2017. CTPF, billed as a means to provide security assistance to moderate allies fighting extremists in Africa and the Mideast, endured successive cuts in Congress and criticism Obama was too light on strategy and specifics for Congress's liking.
The Trump administration does propose $1.8 billion for a Counter-Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Train and Equip Fund — a continuation of three accounts consolidated in the 2017 budget Congress passed earlier this month. That fund is meant to support Iraqi government forces as they retake Mosul, Iraq, and vetted Syrian forces as they retake Raqqa, Syria, from the Islamic State group. The proposed funding is under the off-budget overseas contingency operations (OCO) account.
Obama, in 2014, announced the CTPF in a speech at U.S. Military Academy at West Point commencement, as a means to “more effectively partner with countries where terrorist networks seek a foothold.” He envisioned a fund of up to $5 billion, to “allow us to train, build capacity, and facilitate partner countries on the front lines” of Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Mali and beyond, he said.
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