Global Impact Blog

America’s investment in development and diplomacy programs play a critical role in strengthening rule of law, and supporting reforms that create an enabling environment for private sector investment. For example, USAID’s investment of $30 million to help Vietnam improve its business regulatory environment helped increase U.S. goods exports from $460 million in 2001 to over $10 billion in 2016, more than 2000 percent increase. Simply put, America’s development and diplomacy programs – funded by the International Affairs Budget – are critical to America’s economic future.

Congress will soon determine the levels of U.S. assistance available to Mosul and other global humanitarian crises. Rebuilding Mosul will be a critical test and an enormous challenge, yet the future of Iraq— and the future of America’s presence abroad— may well depend on what emerges from the city’s rubble.

Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis doesn’t mind taking a moment to share his thoughts about the importance of diplomacy and development, as one intrepid high school student discovered when Secretary Mattis returned his call.

With the Fourth of July just around the corner, Americans across the country are looking forward to barbecues, fireworks, and hopefully, time spent with family and friends. But what about those working in the 275 embassies and diplomatic posts around the world– how will they celebrate Independence Day thousands of miles from home? By doing what they do best: sharing American culture, traditions, and values with those living outside of the United States’ borders.

With 1.4 million children suffering from— and dying of— malnutrition, the hunger crises of today will have severe, long-term effects for generations to come. In light of the Administration’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2018, which proposes deep cuts to the State Department and U.S. foreign assistance, our ability to continue supporting relief efforts is no longer guaranteed. That includes the work of U.S. government private sector partners and nonprofits like FHI 360, a human development organization that serves over 60 countries and plays a critical role in addressing complex crises like those in South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia, and Yemen.

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.

After sailing through his nomination hearing with strong bipartisan support, senators on the Foreign Relations Committee and other development leaders have called for a speedy confirmation for Ambassador Mark Green as the 18th Administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development. While he will face a host of other challenges— including the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II, and a budget proposal that seeks drastic cuts to USAID— he remains hopeful about the opportunities and improvements that have been made at the agency.

Last week, the chorus of voices in support of America’s diplomacy and development programs reverberated across Capitol Hill as Cabinet officials testified on the Administration’s proposal to cut the International Affairs Budget by a draconian and disproportionate 32%.

Against the backdrop of today’s debate about America’s role in the world, it is striking to re-read the speech by Secretary of State George C. Marshall announcing the Marshall Plan on the 70th anniversary of its delivery. The Marshall Plan, which helped rebuild the economies of Western Europe after World War II, is often seen as the model for American global leadership. Secretary Marshall makes not a selfless appeal to support a new global order, but a calculated appeal to Americans’ self-interest, accompanied by a sophisticated series of short films to explain its benefits.

As the debate over funding for the International Affairs Budget continues – most recently with the release of the Administration’s FY18 budget request, which calls for a deep and disproportionate 32% cut to the State Department and USAID – there remains a growing chorus of bipartisan voices speaking out in support of strategic investments in development and diplomacy. In addition to military, business, and faith leaders from around the country, some of our nation’s most venerated foreign policy minds are making their voices heard on the critical need for a fully funded International Affairs Budget.

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