This report explores the nature of the risks inherent in U.S. security sector assistance to the fragile states of Africa and how the United States might better anticipate and mitigate these risks. It examines these issues through a review of qualitative and quantitative literature from both the academic and policy fields and through interviews conducted throughout the agencies of the U.S. government. The quantitative literature suggests a stark dilemma for those responsible for U.S. security sector assistance to the AFRICOM area of responsibility: The countries that are most in need of assistance are usually the ones least able to make positive use of it. Case studies of security sector assistance in the fragile countries in Africa are used to trace multiple specific pathways by which such assistance can have negative second- and third-order effects. Finally, the report provides numerous recommendations about ways in which the United States can improve the processes by which it monitors and evaluates, plans, and implements security sector assistance in the fragile states of Africa and more generally.
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