More than 50 Military Officials Call International Affairs Budget Critical to Security

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Over fifty retired four- and three-star generals and flag officers called on Congress today to fully fund President Obama’s International Affairs Budget request in a letter released by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s (USGLC) National Security Advisory Council (NSAC).  Among the letter’s signatories are the NSAC Co-Chairs, General Michael W. Hagee, USMC (Ret.), Commandant, U.S. Marine Corps (‘03-‘06); and Admiral James M. Loy, USCG (Ret.), Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard (‘98-’02).

“Our military works hand-in-hand with diplomats and development experts in meeting the challenges and responsibilities we face around the world,” said General Hagee.  “It is critical that our civilian agencies are properly resourced so they can lead key elements of our national security strategy.”

“The International Affairs Budget is an essential part of our national security,” said Admiral Loy.  “From my time in the military and as Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, I know first-hand how important a smart power approach is to our foreign policy where we have robust development and diplomacy programs alongside a strong defense working together to keep our nation safe.”

In the letter, the military leaders say the International Affairs Budget is “a fundamental pillar of U.S. national security and foreign policy.”  They further state, “The United States must combine its strong military with robust, effective civilian tools of international development and diplomacy to secure its national interests in an era when many of the challenges of the 21st century recognize no borders.”

The President’s FY11 International Affairs Budget request represents only 1.4% of the entire federal budget and less than 7% of national security funding.   In closing, the leaders say “we urge you to support no less than the Administration’s request of $58.5 billion for the International Affairs Budget.”

“This letter shows an unprecedented level of support from our military leaders for the International Affairs Budget,” said Liz Schrayer, USGLC Executive Director. “It is now the responsibility of Congress to heed the advice of our military leaders and give our development and diplomacy programs the funding they need.”

On March 23, members of the National Security Advisory Council will be on Capitol Hill to urge Congress to support the International Affairs Budget and discuss the importance of ensuring efficient, effective modernized development and diplomacy programs. 

The International Affairs Budget promotes a better, safer America and world by protecting national security, building economic prosperity and strengthening humanitarian values. Programs funded by the International Affairs Budget stabilize fragile states, combat terrorism and deter threats before they reach America’s shores. Visit the USGLC website for a copy of the letter and its signatories.

The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (www.usglc.org) is a broad-based influential network of 400 businesses and NGOs; national security and foreign policy experts; and business, faith-based, academic and community leaders in all 50 states who support a smart power approach of elevating development and diplomacy alongside defense in order to build a better, safer world.

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