Calls by the US to fashion a more modernized military, has been largely ignored by Egypt the second largest receiver of US aid.
Cairo’s insistence of a more conventional approach has frustrated the US which has sought to interest the Egyptian military into expanding their mission in ways that reflect new regional and transnational security threats, such as piracy, border security, and counterterrorism.
According to a 2008 US diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks Egypt’s military capabilities have deteriorated and must be modernized to counter new threats, however the country's ageing leadership has refused change, accusing long-time Defense Minister Mohammed Hussein Tantawi as being "the chief impediment" to change.
The cable stresses that:
"Egypt's ageing leadership, however, has resisted our efforts and remains satisfied with continuing to do what they have done for years: train for force-on-force warfare with a premium on ground forces and armor,"
"Field Marshall Tantawi, in office since 1991, has resisted any change to usage of FMF (foreign military financing) funding and has been the chief impediment to transforming the military's mission to meet emerging security threats,"
A February 2010 communication confirms that the US had informed Egyptian officials that "a modern military should rely on quality equipment rather than a large quantity of outdated armaments."
His advice was ignored as Egyptian defense officials continued to stress that the threats facing the US were different from Egypt's, adding that Egypt needed to maintain a strong conventional military to counter other armies in the region and that Egypt's priority was to defend Egyptian territory and the Suez Canal.
An additional cable ascertains that the military still remains a political and economic force to ensure regime stability.