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Opinion Pieces Reflect On Trump Administration’s National Security Strategy, Implications For Global Health, Women

The Hill: Legislators should focus on complementary roles of defense and global health
Courtney Carson, policy and advocacy officer at the Global Health Technologies Coalition; and Danielle Heiberg, senior advocacy manager at the Global Health Council

“In late December, President Trump released his National Security Strategy — his vision for keeping Americans safe and protected from foreign and domestic threats. Importantly, this vision went beyond protecting U.S. borders and combating terrorism — it also addressed health as a security issue, and how American investments in global health, epidemic preparedness, and innovation are essential to keeping Americans safe and healthy at home and preventing destabilizing health crises around the world. This discussion on health and security, however, is largely absent in Congress, where current debate over government funding hinges on the distinctions — and relative merits — of defense vs. non-defense spending. Domestic and global health accounts are supported by non-defense discretionary funding, which are under immense pressure for budget-balancing cuts. … If Congress allows non-defense spending to backslide, and focuses increased spending only in the areas of ‘hard’ defense, Americans and the world will be less safe and healthy. … As the debate on funding levels continues, legislators should keep in mind the vital and complementary roles of defense and global health. Investing in both is critical to ensuring our security and strengthening the role of the United States in the world” (1/4).

The Lancet: Offline: From 1918 to 2018 — the lessons of influenza
Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet

“…[P]ublication of President Trump’s National Security Strategy in the closing days of 2017 suggests the U.S. government not only understands the immediate threat of disease pandemics, but also promises to do more to protect countries from their consequences. … What does America’s vision for its own security mean for global health? Optimistically, it should mean that President Trump will invest in universal health coverage (UHC). … An important new international target was set [last month at the UHC Forum in Tokyo] — that by 2023 (the midpoint between 2016 and 2030) essential health coverage will have been extended to an additional one billion people. … What is lacking — in President Trump’s National Security Strategy and WHO’s General Programme of Work — is any detail about how this promise will be fulfilled. … What will trigger political action is the fear and threat of another pandemic — and the urgency of strengthening ‘basic health care systems’ to address those fears and threats. In 2018, the single most important priority for WHO must be to make pandemic preparedness a central objective for the national security of all its member-states. This strategy will deliver UHC. The centenary of the 1918 influenza pandemic is the best opportunity we have for making global health security the foundation for achieving UHC” (1/6).

Washington Post: Do women matter to international security? Trump just changed the U.S. government’s answer to that question.
Hilary Matfess, PhD student in political science at Yale University and author

“…While there are several notable changes [in the Trump administration’s National Security Strategy] from those released by previous administrations, one of the most striking is the sharp turn away from recent policies — backed by a significant amount of research — that treat the well-being of women around the globe as critical to peace and prosperity. … [Trump’s NSS] does include the assertion that since ‘societies that empower women to participate fully in civic and economic life are more prosperous and peaceful,’ the United States ‘will support efforts to advance women’s equality, protect the rights of women and girls, and promote women and youth empowerment programs.’ But that’s as far as it goes, offering no statement that women’s rights are critical to national and international security. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that the Trump administration is already gutting programming for women and girls around the globe. It has reinstituted the ‘global gag rule,’ which requires that any international NGO that receives U.S. family planning funding may not offer or discuss abortion as an option. It defunds the UNFPA, which provides reproductive and related health services to women and girls around the world. It has been threatening to cut such programs as Let Girls Learn and the Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues. … Without executive commitment, [more] efforts could erode quickly” (1/4).