October 7, 2022
Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) applauds the American Legion for passing Resolution No. 51 to “Fully Fund the International Affairs Budget” at the American Legion’s 103rd National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in September. For the first time in the American Legion’s 103-year history, this resolution makes full funding of the International Affairs Budget as a matter of national security a legislative focus for the organization. This major milestone demonstrates that America’s veterans know that development and diplomacy, alongside a strong defense, help keep America safe.
“This is a powerful statement from the American Legion, one of the most respected pillars of the veteran community, which, not surprising, are using their compelling voice to speak out about how to ensure global stability,” said Liz Schrayer, President & CEO of the USGLC. “After all, Legionnaires – who represent nearly two million veterans – know firsthand what it takes to keep America safe. As they said in the resolution, it is imperative that our policymakers in Washington, D.C. fully fund our non-military tools of diplomacy and development in the International Affairs Budget given the growing global threats that impact our homeland every day. We are proud to work with the American Legion leaders and their members in 12,000 local posts across the country to advance America’s national security interests.”
“The threats facing the United States cannot be solved by military power alone,” the American Legion said. “Diplomacy and development, alongside a strong defense, help keep America and Americans safe and secure in a rapidly changing world. The American Legion urges Congress to fully resource and fund the International Affairs Budget each year.”
The resolving clause of the Resolution reads: “RESOLVED, By The American Legion in National Convention assembled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, August 30, 31, September 1, 2022, that The American Legion urges Congress to fully resource and fund the International Affairs Budget each year, as requested by the administration, in support of America’s national security, democracy and economic interests.”
The American Legion is America’s largest wartime veterans service organization, consisting of nearly 2 million veteran members with more than 12,000 local posts worldwide including in all 50 U.S. States, D.C., France, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. Established in 1919 by an act of Congress, the American Legion was instrumental in advancing the original G.I. Bill through Congress and in the creation of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“The military can’t go at it alone if we are to ultimately succeed. That is why funding for diplomacy and development efforts must remain a national security priority,” said General Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret.), co-chair of the USGLC National Security Advisory Council. “Our future military endeavors will depend on whether we have a strong team of diplomats and development experts on the ground. The American Legion is a powerful advocate for ensuring that a fully funded International Affairs Budget remains a priority.”
“As a former Combatant Commander, I know the importance of America’s military might as does the American Legion. In addition to our military efforts, we have witnessed America’s values displayed in our diplomacy, development, and foreign policy efforts around the world,” said Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret.), co-chair of the USGLC National Security Advisory Council. “I’ve traveled to more than 125 countries over the course of my career, and I’m always heartened to see so many people who love America. Programs and projects funded by the International Affairs Budget go a long way in advancing America’s interests and building goodwill throughout the world.”
“I understand first-hand that fully funding the State Department and diplomatic programs is essential for our national security,” said Congressman Jared Golden (D-ME-02), co-chair of the For Country Caucus. “From foreign capitals to combat zones, our diplomatic personnel protect and promote American interests. Fully funding the International Affairs Budget is vital for achieving U.S. foreign policy goals and for reducing the likelihood of having to put our most vital resource – America’s servicemembers – in harm’s way. I’m pleased that the American Legion highlighted the importance of diplomacy as a national security priority.”
“As leader of the free world we know we need a strong diplomatic team to advocate for the values we believe in,” said Congressman Don Bacon (R-NE-02), co-chair of the For Country Caucus. “This is even more important after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and a China that is nearing our GDP and building a military tailored to contend with us.”
The USGLC has a long history of supporting veteran interests as the home of Veterans for Smart Power (VSP), a network of over 30,000 veterans committed to leveraging America’s strength to combat threats facing the United States that cannot be solved by military power alone. Additionally, USGLC’s National Security Advisory Council includes more than 250 retired three and four-star generals and admirals united in support of strengthening all the tools of national security to help keep America safe in this rapidly changing world. Together, veterans and retired military leaders advocate for U.S. diplomacy and development, alongside a strong defense.
USGLC welcomes the American Legion’s Resolution No. 51 as a clear sign that the International Affairs Budget is a priority for American veterans. The organization looks forward to continued collaboration in support of America’s diplomacy and development tools to help keep our nation safe and prosperous.
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.