Security Force Assistance

Security force assistance (SFA)—military-to-military training and equipping— when provided by the US should focus on professionalizing the foreign forces (training on ethics, ethos) and inculcating a civilian protection mindset (training on International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights Law, protecting civilians from the effects of one’s own use of force as well as one’s opponent’s use of force whenever possible). Best practices on civilian harm mitigation should be systematically shared as part of every military aid package the US offers its allies.

This training is urgently needed in current conflicts involving Iraqi and Kurdish forces in Iraq, Syrian armed groups, the Saudi-led coalition engaged in Yemen, and the Nigerian army fighting Boko Haram.