February 2, 2015

As Global Challenges Mount, President’s Budget Attempts to Keep Up

Lynne Weil
Tel: (202) 730-4163
E-mail: [email protected]

 As Global Challenges Mount, President’s Budget Attempts to Keep Up

FY16 Request Reverses Past Cuts, but Unlikely to Meet the Increasing Need

Washington, D.C. – The $54.8 billion for international affairs in the Administration’s just-released budget is a step in the right direction but may not be able to keep pace with today’s challenges around the world, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) said.

“I applaud the Administration for beginning to restore cuts to these vital programs, but I’m concerned that the total level falls short of what will be needed to contend with a host of threats worldwide,” said Liz Schrayer, USGLC President & CEO. “With crises across the globe, we must bolster investments in development and diplomacy programs that are critical to advancing our security and economic interests.”

The International Affairs Budget request for Fiscal Year 2016 is 7.7% more than current spending, similar to the rest of the non-discretionary budget request. It includes $47.8 billion in base funds, plus $7 billion in funding for Overseas Contingency Operations, for a total of $54.7 billion. Current spending, which is 15% lower than in 2010 when adjusted for inflation, is $50.9 billion, not including a one-time $2.5 billion emergency fund to combat Ebola in West Africa.

The programs supported by the International Affairs Budget are essential to helping tackle the root causes of conflict and extremism, building new markets for U.S. goods and services, and fostering free markets and democratic values.

“The hard truth is that the security threats staring us square in the eye cannot be resolved by military power alone – nor can it end the cycle of other security-related challenges occurring in the Middle East,” said Admiral James Stavridis, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, USN (Ret.) and USGLC National Security Advisory Council co-chair.  “That’s why we must strengthen funding for international affairs programs.   The tiny fraction of the federal budget we spend on international engagement provides a tremendous return on investment and strengthens America’s global leadership.”

“Development and diplomacy saves lives, including those of our men and women in uniform,” said General Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret.), the former Commander in Chief of U.S. Central Command who co-chairs the USGLC’s National Security Advisory Council with Admiral Stavridis. “These vital programs help create stable societies overseas and reduce the conditions that can lead to unrest.  That’s why we have to bolster their funding and deploy all the means of American influence and power. Sustained and effective foreign assistance can make the world far safer.”

“Businesses large and small have a major stake in what happens overseas, so we need the international affairs budget to help strengthen new and existing markets,” said Chris Policinski, President & CEO of Land O’ Lakes, Inc. “These programs are critical to our economic security. With 95% of the world’s consumers living outside of the US, this budget is ultimately about creating jobs here at home.”

The USGLC urges Congress to continue their decades-long support for ensuring a smart power approach to our foreign policy that protects U.S. security and economic interests, upholds Americans’ humanitarian values, and includes a strong International Affairs Budget.

For a detailed breakdown and analysis of the President’s FY16 International Affairs spending allocation, visit USGLC’s online Budget Center.

The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (www.usglc.org) is a broad-based influential network of 400 businesses and NGOs; national security and foreign policy experts; and business, faith-based, academic, military, and community leaders in all 50 states who support strategic investments to elevate development and diplomacy alongside defense in order to build a better, safer world.