February 12, 2009

Retired Senior Military Officers Say Smart Power Requires Smart Budget

February 12, 2009

45 Members of USGLC’s National Security Advisory Council Urge President Obama to Propose Robust FY2010 International Affairs Budget

Washington, DC – 45 retired senior military officers released an open letter to President Barack Obama today calling for “a robust FY10 International Affairs Budget that sufficiently invests in ‘smart power.'” The officers are members of the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign’s National Security Advisory Council, a unique, non-partisan group of prominent retired three and four-star generals and admirals representing all five branches of the Armed Forces who have united in support of a “smart power” approach to global engagement that increases U.S. investments in development and diplomacy to augment a strong defense. Click here for the full text of the letter.  Click here for the list of all signatories.

In the letter, the military leaders warn, “Despite modest increases over the last eight years, the International Affairs Budget remains under-funded, representing only 1.2 percent of all federal spending and remaining 11 percent below Cold War levels. This hinders the ability of our civilian foreign affairs agencies to meet our foreign policy and national security goals, and places greater burdens on the military. … We must ensure that our nation is fully equipped to face the global challenges and opportunities of the 21st Century.”

USGLC Advisory Council Member and former Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci said, “These senior military officers have it right – and they should know given their front-line experience in protecting America. They understand that while the International Affairs Budget is small, our investments in global development and diplomacy are critical in making America more secure and more prosperous.”

Among the 45 signatories to the letter are former head of Central Command General John P. Abizaid, USA (Ret.), former Coast Guard Commandant and Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Admiral James M. Loy, USCG (Ret.), former Marine Corps Commandant General Michael W. Hagee, USMC (Ret.), former Army Chief of Staff General Peter J. Schoomaker, USA (Ret.), Commander of the NATO-led Implementation Force in Bosnia Admiral Leighton Smith, USN (Ret.), and several other former service chiefs and combatant commanders.

The military leaders’ call echoes similar letters sent to then-President-elect Obama in December by a record-breaking 217 Members of Congress – 51 Senators and 166 Representatives – calling on Obama to propose “a robust International Affairs Budget” in FY2010 “that reinforces the continued bipartisan commitment of Congress and your Administration to invest in the strategic tools that are essential to ensuring our national security, building economic prosperity and demonstrating our moral values.”


The U.S. Global Leadership Campaign (www.usglc.org) is a broad-based, nationwide coalition of businesses, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community leaders that advocates for a strong U.S. International Affairs Budget. Members of the USGLC – a vibrant, influential network of 400 organizations and thousands of individuals – engage policymakers in the nation’s capital and educate the public around the country to build support for these essential programs.

The USGLC’s National Security Advisory Council is a unique, non-partisan group of prominent retired three and four-star generals and admirals representing all five branches of the Armed Forces who have united in support of strengthening America’s national security strategy with the increased use of non-military tools.