More U.S. Investment In Diplomacy, Development Needed, Say Former Military Leaders

A group of former U.S. military leaders have joined “recent calls by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen to expand U.S. civilian capacities to reduce dependence on the military,” Politico’s Laura Rozen reports on her blog. The letter to Congress, released by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC), states that the military officials agree with Gates’ statement that “America’s civilian institutions of diplomacy and development have been chronically undermanned and underfunded for far too long – relative to what we traditionally spend on the military, and more important, relative to the responsibilities and challenges our nation has around the world.”

The letter calls for “increased investments in the full range of diplomatic, development and humanitarian tools funded through the International Affairs Budget.” A related USGLC analysis notes that although the FY 2011 international affairs budget represents an 11 percent increase from the FY 2010 budget, that growth “is concentrated heavily on Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq… Nearly 60% of the increase for International Affairs goes to what the State Department calls these ‘Frontline States,’ leaving a modest growth of $2.5 billion for all other International Affairs programs” (3/10).