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Composition of the International Affairs Budget May 19, 2010

Posted by Rebecca Williams in Analysis.

Congress members presently are wrestling with the FY 2011 funding levels for the tools of American statecraft, including the diplomatic corps, defense establishment, foreign assistance, public diplomacy, and trade policy.  Competing priorities are a reality in government and, as Congress considers the FY2011 budget request, the Senate has already reduced the International Affairs Budget (Function 150) topline by $4 billion (7%).  This type of spending is vulnerable, in large part, because Americans are unsure what they get for it.

Although there are many ways to group diplomacy and development, this analysis reorganizes Function 150 in order to clarify how these programs and initiatives are divided among competing priorities.

Advancing Diplomacy

This category includes everything from maintaining the Department of State workforce to embassy security and construction.  Currently, the US has diplomatic relations with 189 countries and has a total of 269 Posts (including Embassies, Consulates, Branch Offices, etc).  This category also includes US-assessed share of dues to international organizations, including the UN and its 15 affiliated organizations, and 10 regional organizations, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

International Security Assistance

Few Americans think of law enforcement training, weapons sales, and military-to-military education programs when they hear ‘international affairs.’  Indeed, a significant portion of US international engagement centers on security assistance aimed at strengthening non-American security forces.

Public Diplomacy

Public diplomacy includes educational and cultural exchange programs, scholarship programs, endowments and trusts designed to expand academic and professional exchanges and create greater mutual understanding and respect among the participants and the people they met.  International broadcasting efforts are also included here.

Multilateral Economic Assistance

Multilateral Economic assistance includes US contributions to international organizations that are combined with contributions from other donor nations to finance multilateral development projects.  International organizations like the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), multilateral development banks including the IMF and World Bank, multilateral environmental programs, among others, are included here.

Bilateral Economic Assistance

Bilateral Economic Assistance is a broad category encompassing multiple programs and initiatives across several federal department and agencies.

Strategic Economic Assistance provides economic support for political and strategic reasons, though it may provide some development benefits.  Justifications for this funding are based on the evolving national security agenda.  For FY 2011, for example, the bulk of this assistance would be for countries at the heart of US foreign policy, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, West Bank and Gaza, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon.

Humanitarian Assistance is devoted largely to the immediate alleviation of humanitarian needs and emergencies.  This category includes State’s refugee program, relief and reconstruction assistance, food aid, among others.

Funding for Iraqi relief and reconstruction projects caused significant jumps in total Bilateral Economic Assistance in FY2003 and FY 2004.

Over the last decade, Global Health has significantly increased through programs aimed at reducing deaths from AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.  The Administration’s Global Health Initiative continues this trend.

Development assistance programs are more long-term efforts designed to prevent future crises from development.  Independent agencies such as the Millennium Challenge Corporation and the Peace Corps are included in this section.

Worth noting, the out-years (FY2012-2015) jump significantly for development assistance.  These are estimates and it is unclear if these increases will actually appear in development assistance.



1. Laura A. Hall - May 19, 2010

Really helpful lay down!

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