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Posts by Abhik

As Secretary Tillerson and the Foreign and Civil Service Officers he leads around the world face unprecedented challenges—including the largest number of refugees since World War II, four famines affecting more than 20 million, and the risk of another global pandemic—he should consider building on the success of his predecessors, who recognized the new challenges our country faces, rather than ignoring their contributions.

Last week, the Administration released its full FY18 budget request, which includes a 32 percent cut to the International Affairs Budget and signals the potential elimination of U.S. assistance to 37 nations. China, on the other hand, recently held a summit to launch a multibillion dollar global infrastructure and development initiative spanning 65 countries that account for 60 percent of the world’s population. One Belt One Road is President Xi Xinping’s ambitious effort to re-assert China’s global economic leadership. China seeks to revive the historic “Silk Road” trading route— spanning from the Netherlands to Indonesia— which helped facilitate international trade for centuries.

As former Secretary of Defense Gates has said, “You would find…extraordinary support across the entire Defense Department” for the State Department “and for their budget,” a fact that been made readily apparent over the last month. In written and oral testimony in Congress, our military’s most senior officers have made it clear that the Administration’s proposed cuts would not only make their jobs harder, but that a strong, fully resourced International Affairs Budget is vital to an effective national security strategy.

While much recent attention has focused on the proposal in the Administration’s “skinny budget” to slash funding for the State Department and USAID by 31 percent, the budget was accompanied by an Executive Order that requires the head of each agency to submit a “Plan to Improve the Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Accountability of Federal Agencies, […]

Today, more people have access to mobile phones than to electricity or clean water— and it’s making a difference in the fight against global poverty. In 2000, only 4 percent of people living in low- and middle-income countries had access to mobile phones. In 2015, that number rose to a whopping 94 percent. Here’s how technology is demonstrating a real, measurable impact.

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