Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently called on Capitol Hill to recognize “the critical role that agencies like State and AID play” and provide the resources needed in the International Affairs Budget to restore the drop in civilian personnel.  Gates cited a drop  from 16,000 employees in the Cold War to the low levels seen at USAID today.  The military blog Stripes Central clarified with USAID that the actual number of employees in 2006 was 8,000, when you include all “civil service, Foreign Service, Foreign Service nationals, American personnel service contractors, and others.’” That’s half of what USAID once was—at a time when the world has needed U.S. development expertise as never before.  Stars & Stripes points out that USAID has seen these significant cuts in personnel despite calls from not only the Secretary of Defense, but the Secretary of State, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and the President himself.

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