President’s FY 2012 Request Funds International Affairs Budget as Critical Part of National Security

February 14, 2011 By Tod Preston

The USGLC applauds the Administration’s FY 12 International Affairs budget request as a critical investment in America’s national security.  At a time of intense pressure to cut spending and in the context of an overall freeze on non-security funding, the President has presented an International Affairs budget that protects America’s security interests and maintains U.S. global leadership while also encouraging more efficient use of taxpayer dollars.

For a full analysis of the President’s FY 2012 International Affairs budget request, click here

The President’s FY12 request comes amidst great uncertainty regarding FY11 spending levels, with votes expected this week in the House of Representatives to cut $100 billion from discretionary programs, including 19 percent from the International Affairs budget. Amendments to cut FY11 International Affairs funding even further are anticipated during this week’s House debate.

Needless to say, the President’s FY12 budget request and the House’s FY11 proposal offer radically different approaches to funding the federal government.

For the International Affairs budget, one of the most significant differences is how the Administration and House Appropriators categorize these programs. For the past five budgets, Republican and Democratic Administrations have grouped International Affairs within a cluster of spending categories that collectively make up the U.S. National Security budget.  This bipartisan recognition of the critical role our civilian agencies contribute to our national security mirrors the calls from military voices including Secretary of Defense Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mullen, and General David Petraeus.

The Administration’s FY 2012 request continues this practice, exempting the International Affairs budget from its five-year freeze on non-security spending.  The House proposal categorizes these programs as non-security funding, subjecting them to deep – and in some cases devastating — cuts.

The proposed levels in the House’s latest FY 2011 plan weaken the bipartisan achievement over the past several years to strengthen our civilian agencies, which have been widely viewed as underfunded and understaffed – and vital to our national interests.  Specifically, the proposed cuts would:

  • Jeopardize critical national security investments in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq.  Although the Appropriations Committee says its mark protects these priorities, the security assistance and civilian operations accounts from which Frontline State resources are drawn decrease by 19% from FY 2010 levels, raising questions as to whether U.S. national security interests will be adequately resourced.


  • Reverse efforts of the Bush and Obama Administration to bolster civilian capacity and assume responsibilities that have been carried out by our military at a higher cost.  The House mark cuts State Department and USAID operation funds by 14%.


  • Diminish America’s ability to uphold its moral obligation by responding quickly and effectively to global disasters, such the Haiti earthquake last year.  The House mark reduces U.S. humanitarian assistance programs by 41%.


  • Cripple the Feed the Future Initiative, a food security investment that will help millions lift themselves out of poverty and reduce the need for foreign assistance in the future.


  • Endanger lives by reducing resources for global health programs by 11%.


  • Constrain U.S. leadership and limit the ability to leverage resources from other nations that address common global challenges by cutting multilateral investments by 63% from FY2010.