February 23, 2018

Senator Duckworth, 300+ Illinois Leaders Call for Continued U.S. Investment in Diplomacy, Foreign Assistance

CHICAGO – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth told more than 300 Illinois leaders today that “American leadership around the world is crucial” and that America’s civilian tools of diplomacy and foreign assistance are essential to keep our country safe and Illinois’ economy strong.

“The cornerstone of American security has long been our military dominance,” said Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL). “However, it is arguably the other side of American power – the side based on our economic might, diplomatic engagement, global development efforts, and cultural exchanges – that has a more profound, positive, and lasting effect around the world.”

The Senator’s comments came on the heels of the Administration’s recent budget proposal, which calls for a deep and disproportionate 30% cut to the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

“With dangerous global threats facing America, ensuring full funding for the State Department and USAID is a matter of national security,” Liz Schrayer, President and CEO of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC). “Chicagoans should be proud to have a champion of American global leadership in Senator Duckworth — she certainly gets that in today’s interconnected world an American retreat is simply not an option.”

Today’s national security forum hosted by the USGLC also brought together Lt. General Kenneth W. Hunzeker and Ambassador Chris Hill.

“My 35 years of military service included two tours in Iraq, where I saw firsthand how American diplomacy and development assistance advances our security interests on the ground,” said Lt. Gen. Kenneth Hunzeker, U.S. Army (Ret.). “As we work to stabilize the region and rebuild communities destroyed by ISIS, we cannot afford to underfund our diplomats and development workers.  Our civilian partners must have our full support as they work to secure our military’s hard-earned gains and establish an enduring peace after years of violence and war.”

The general was one of the 151 retired three and four-star generals and admirals who recently penned a letter urging Congress to protect resources for the State Department and USAID.

“American diplomats are indispensable to U.S. national security,” said former four-time Ambassador Chris Hill. “Whether it’s de-escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula, rebuilding Iraq, or ending the bloodshed in Syria – diplomacy is central to solving any one of the many challenges facing our country today. And as our diplomats work tirelessly to mitigate security threats and help keep us safe, they must be able to count on the United States’ full support and resources.”

More than 1.7 million Illinois jobs are tied to international trade and exports to foreign markets total more than $63 billion a year – making U.S. international engagement not only a matter of national security, but a strategic economic issue for the state.

“Strategic investments in diplomacy and economic development can accomplish what private business cannot do alone: fight corruption, promote the rule of law, and open markets for America’s goods and services,” said John Mennel, Managing Director, Social Impact Practice, Deloitte. “At Deloitte, we partner with government agencies like the State Department and USAID to focus on improving education, gender equality, and to build strong institutions in potential economic marketplaces around the world. We do this not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s good for our business.”

A strong and growing coalition in Illinois for more than four years, the USGLC’s Illinois Advisory Committee brings together more than 100 business, faith, non-profit, and political leaders who understand why American global leadership matters for Illinois.

“When non-profit agencies like Rotary partner with government agencies and U.S. businesses, incredible things start to happen,” said Michele Berg, Deputy General Secretary for Rotary International. “From offering life-saving medical treatment, to teaching girls and boys to read and write, ensuring access to clean water, and spurring economic growth… smart foreign assistance saves lives, furthers sustainable community development and builds more secure societies – it achieves results.”

The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (www.usglc.org) is a broad-based influential network of 500 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.