On Feb. 11, President Barack Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum releasing $50 million to the Department of Defense to provide support to the nations of France and Chad in their ongoing conflict in Mali. This memorandum, singed under the authority of section 506 in the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, allows the President to appropriate weapons, support services, and any necessary education and training to a foreign military, up to $100 million per year.
Pursuant to the authority vested in me by section 506(a)(1) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, 22 U.S.C. 2318(a)(1)(the "Act"), I hereby determine that an unforeseen emergency exists that requires immediate military assistance to Chad and France in their efforts to secure Mali from terrorists and violent extremists. I further determine that these requirements cannot be met under the authority of the Arms Export Control Act or any other provision of law.
I, therefore, direct the drawdown of up to $50 million in defense services of the Department of Defense for these purposes and under the authorities of section 506(a)(1) of the Act. - Whitehouse.gov
Section 506 (a)(1) is a comprehensive article which allows the Executive Branch the power to spend an allotted amount of money and services in the Department of Defense as it sees fit, without being required to go before Congress to request funds, or explain the reasons for the funds.
If the President determines and reports to the Congress in accordance with section
652 of this Act that (A) an unforeseen emergency exists which requires immeediate military assistance to a foreign country or international organization; and
(B) the emergency requirement cannot be met under the authority of the Arms Export Control Act or any other law except this section; he may direct, for the purposes of this part, the drawdown of defense articles from the stocks of the Department of Defense, defense services of the Department of Defense, and military education and training, of an aggregate value of not to exceed $100,000,000 in any fiscal year. - Transition.USAID.gov
Currently, the United States is involved in military operations in 35 African countries around the world, providing arms, services, and advisory capabilities to many locations. Mali has only recently become a location of interest for the U.S., but only at the behest of NATO ally France in their struggles against insurgent terrorists.
Last week, retired Congressman Ron Paul spoke out against the threat of the U.S. being pulled into a new conflict in Mali, pointing also to current covert actions we are undergoing in Syria and Iran. Former Congressman Paul asked the question on why the President refused to answer media queries on our potential role in Mali, and on whether we are acting as co-combatant in a conflict that to this point, has little or no strategic value to U.S. national interests.
While the decades long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may be winding down, it appears that the Nobel Peace Prize winning President is moving the wave of American forces from the Middle East into the African continent. And with today's disclosure of $50 million to go in military support to France and Chad in their struggle against insurgents in the nation of Mali, it does not appear that our time dedicating American resources to foreign conflicts is ending anytime soon.