Remembering Reagan and the International Affairs Budget

February 23, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

Today, former Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci penned an opinion editorial for The Daily Caller on the importance of a strong and effective International Affairs Budget.  Carlucci uses the occasion of President Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday to share his recollections of working with Reagan and to also discuss how critical civilian operations are to national security.  He writes, “We need a smart power approach to our foreign policy that uses all of the tools in our arsenal — development, diplomacy, and defense — to keep America safe.”

Must Reads

Who’s In the News

Keeping America safe in the 21st century (Frank Carlucci, The Daily Caller)

The global challenges we face today require a balanced foreign policy approach where we utilize our development and diplomatic efforts along with our military in keeping our nation safe. Just as President Reagan invested in defense to end the Cold War, today we must make an investment in a strong and effective international affairs budget.

Smart Power

Congress and the Budget Quandary (Jamie Fly, Foreign Policy)

U.S. aid programs provide the United States with tools to counter emerging threats from weak and failing states. Often thought of solely as evidence of American goodwill and values, these programs are in fact key components in the battle against extremism, battling the conditions that often fuel anti-U.S. sentiment.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Foreign Aid for a Frugal Age (John Mecklin, Miller McCune

There are international development programs that actually do help the world’s poorest people. Dean Karlan can show you the proof. Karlan’s book combines a keen sense of the quirks of behavioral economics with an insistence on the rigorous scientific testing of international development programs, using random, controlled trials to see whether the programs improve people’s lives.

House spending bill cuts pay for overseas diplomats (Ed O’Keefe, Washington Post)

Among the dozens of amendments included in the House’s historic spending bill is a provision that cuts the paychecks of America’s overseas diplomats. At issue is overseas comparability pay, a compensation system designed to provide the 13,000 Foreign Service officers and other government officials stationed abroad with the 24 percent locality pay rate earned by federal employees working in the Washington area.

Bad budgeting from House Republicans (Editorial Board, Washington Post)

This is no way to cut a government. Policymakers need to figure out what government requires to operate and budget from there – not lop off arbitrary sums. As Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates put it, ‘”Suggestions to cut defense by this or that large number have largely become exercises in simple math, divorced from serious considerations of capabilities, risk, and the level of resources needed to protect this country’s security and vital interests around the world.”. Likewise, slashing the State Department’s humanitarian aid budget by 41 percent is not in the long-term interests of the United States.

US oversight of war-zone contractors labeled weak (Associated Press)

The Commission on Wartime Contracting concluded that the use of hired hands has become a “default option,” pointing to the estimated $177 billion spent since 2001 on contractors in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a draft of the report expected to be released Thursday. Yet vigorous oversight and management of contractors by the Pentagon, State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development is too often “an administrative after-thought,” the report said.