What is 1206?
Section 1206 of the United States National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2006, as amended and regularly extended, provides the Secretary of Defense with authority to train and equip foreign military forces for two specified purposes—counterterrorism and stability operations—and foreign maritime security forces for counterterrorism operations. The Department of Defense (DOD) values this authority as an important tool to train and equip military partners. Funds may be obligated only with the concurrence of the Secretary of State. Thus far, the Department of Defense (DOD) has used Section 1206 authority primarily to provide counterterrorism (CT) support. In FY2010, Section 1206 funds were also used to provide significant assistance to train and equip foreign military forces for military and stability
operations in which U.S. forces participate.
In recent years, the Defense Department’s 1206 train and equip fund has become the major source of overt U.S. military aid to Yemen. Section 1206 Authority is a Department of Defense account designed to provide equipment, supplies, or training to foreign national military forces engaged in counterterrorist operations. Between FY2006 and FY2007, Yemen received approximately $30.3million in 1206 funding. In the last two fiscal years, it has received $221.8 million. As of mid-FY2010, Yemen is the largest global 1206 recipient, receiving $252.6 million. Pakistan is the second largest recipient with $203.4 million.In general, 1206 aid aims to boost the capacities of Yemen’s air force, its special operations units,its border control monitoring, and coast guard forces. Approximately $38 million of the FY20101206 assistance will be used to provide Yemen’s Air Force with one CASA CN-235 medium-range twin-turbo-prop aircraft to transport its special operations units. The United States also has used 1206 funds to provide special operations units with training, helicopters with night-vision cameras, sniper rifles, secure personal radios, and bullet proof jackets. Yemen’s Coast Guard has received through 1206 funding patrol boats and radios and border security personnel have received armored pickup trucks.Some observers and lawmakers have concerns regarding increased U.S. military aid to Yemen.Some fear that, despite required U.S. human rights training and vetting of Yemeni units, abuses committed by security forces may still occur or even increase. Others, particularly lawmakers, are concerned that U.S. equipment could be diverted by the Yemeni government away from combating terrorism and toward fighting domestic insurgencies. One January 2010 SenateForeign Relations Committee report concluded that it was “likely that U.S. counter-terrorism assistance had been diverted for use in the government’s war against the Houthis in the north and that this temptation will persist.” (SEE REPORT HERE)