President's Proposal for the FY 2011 State Department and USAID Budget

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
February 2, 2010

On February 1, 2010, the Obama Administration released the Fiscal Year 2011 budget. The FY 2011 Department of State and USAID budget totals $52.8 billion, a $4.9 billion increase above 2010 levels. Of the increase, $3.6 billion is committed for programs in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

Deputy Secretary of State Jacob Lew said, "The Department of State and USAID budgets are critical to securing U.S. national security interests around the world. They are part of our national security budget, along with the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security. The Obama Administration is committed to advancing our national interests using all of the tools of American power -- civilian as well as military. Our diplomatic and development tools are helping us enhance American leadership, strengthen our alliances, and build new partnerships to confront pressing global challenges."

Deputy Secretary Lew broke down the $52.8 billion State and USAID budget into four major categories, which are illustrated in the chart here.

Twenty percent of the budget is dedicated to securing front line states -- supporting civilian contributions to U.S. efforts in the front line states of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. Deputy Secretary Lew said, "The State Department budget funds over two-thirds of the 3,000 civilian personnel in these front-line states. These critical civilian deployments are essential to the success of our strategies and the reduction of U.S. troop levels."

Twenty-eight percent of the budget is appropriated for meeting urgent global challenges, such as natural and man-made disasters, poverty, disease, malnutrition, and threats of further instability from climate change and rapid population growth. In many cases, these efforts involve several agencies in a coordinated whole of government effort. These efforts include the Global Health Initiative, the Global Hunger and Food Security Initiatives, the Administration's Copenhagen commitment to addressing global climate change, humanitarian assistance, and global engagement programs.

Deputy Secretary Lew said, "The combined impact of investments made in these areas work to improve people's lives and make them less vulnerable to the ravages of poverty and the threat of instability that extreme poverty breeds. Improving the most basic human conditions not only reflects our values, it enhances our security. Left unmet these conditions lead too often to conflict, instability, and failed states."

Twenty-eight percent of the budget is focused toward strengthening security partnerships and meeting critical challenges which, in turn, helps secure our own interests. These funds provide security assistance to our friends and allies in the Middle East, Central America, and the Caribbean. Furthermore, they maintain our commitment to pay UN peacekeeping mission assessments in full and on-time, mitigating potential demands on U.S. forces to end conflicts, restore peace, and strengthen regional stability.

Finally, 24 percent of the budget is dedicated to supporting and rebuilding State and USAID personnel and infrastructure, which is critical to meeting our national security objectives through diplomacy and development.

In closing, Deputy Secretary Lew said, "The State Department and USAID advance America's interests and values around the world every day. As the Secretary has said, a robust, continuous global presence, especially in key countries, allows the United States to provide critical leadership, to strengthen our partnerships and forge new ones, and to advance stability, prosperity, and opportunity for more of the world's people -- and, in doing so, to protect our own security, promote our interests, and lay the foundation for a more peaceful and prosperous future."

Read the transcript of the full briefing here.



Virginia, USA
February 2, 2010

Flavius in Virginia writes:

An increase in State's budget is welcome news. Now don't forget to spend it all or you won't get as much next year!

New York, USA
February 2, 2010

Ron in New York writes:

Cost-Savings @ State....

With Skype, Youtube, Cisco, etc. we could see major savings in travel and related expenses....Of course, in some instances, there must be face-to-face Diplomacy, but in the name of accountability, transparency and budget deficit reduction, let's see more virtual conferences, with access by diverse audiences. Post the meetings and the savings.

New York, USA
February 2, 2010

Ron in New York writes:

Afghan Corruption Metastacizes....

Land Grabs, Water Rights, Opium, Natural Resources....In the Karzai regime, there is a fire-sale of post-soviet proportions.

What price will USG pay for failed security and stability in the context of a Corrupt Culture?

New Mexico, USA
February 2, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

To Mr. Jacob Lew, Deputy Secretary of State

CC Dipnote Bloggers

Dear Mr. Lew,

My father always told me to dream big dreams since they were the only one's worth having.

So please allow me to inspire the future 2012 State/USAID budget request with a wish list, starting with adding a zero after that 52 bil., and before the decimal point.

520.8 billion looks a lot like parity between development and defense funding, and that my friend is what it is actually going to take to meet the expected, let alone what's not.

Not because it's 2012 and the end of the world, mind you...(chuckle). But because that's what it will take to attain parity on the ground.

Take the reforestation project you mentioned as an aspect of climate change funding.

Which I appreciate very much by the way...

There's the serious prospect of getting a handle on climate change if trillions of trees are planted over the next ten years on this planet so that in 50 we can see a visibly greener Earth from orbit.

Only then can anyone say we are making progress if not having turned the corner.

So there's two ways to fund this....One is to hope nations partner up, but I think someone called that "Hopennhagen" after the fact.

The other way is for the US government to do so, and not owe the rest of the world a penny in return. In other words, I believe we can barter our way out of national debt.

And if any US administration can pull that off, we'll be singing praises for all the ages.

This must be based on the reality that by lifting folks up, giving them work and a life, we prosper as a result ourselves...that's all of humanity not just a slice of it, and since that is the given realization you're opperating under then there is room to dream.

I have a sneaking suspicion that if the President were to announce such a bold move, and it was in process of actualization and beyond the legistlation, nations would be motivated to keep up with the "jones'" so they could keep us in debt and willingly plant their own trees with their own money.

There's a few Africans who'd like to build a "green wall" to stop the Sahara from growing so no motivation is needed in some cases, just the wherewithall to get the job done.

If we can pay taliban to walk off the battlefield and become good citizens we can pay the illegal loggers of the world to become treeplanters.

Retraining takes about 15 minutes.

But this is just one program among many.

This one just happens to be do or die for civilization and I don't believe that to be an exaggeration given the science involved.

How are we going to produce 50% more food on this planet to feed the expected population in 2030 without creating the supporting habitat that preserves cropland?

The world does not have time to waste dithering about and either it becomes a global imperative with global funding, or we gotta do this ourselves before chaos ensues.

Everyone looks to US to save the world anyway when disaster comes callin' so let's do it right and get a return on our investment...

For the long haul.

If we be not afraid to dream big sir, folks might just get what is asked for.

A better world to live in to say the least.

I don't think we can be afford to be satisfied with any budget until it is.

Unless we can erase the national debt prior, that is.

So State's focused on agriculture development as a means of national self sufficiancy and this seemingly ties right in with that policy.

Ok, so if we can bail out the banks to the tune of 800 bil. we can save the world right?

Right. I don't suppose I'll find too many who'd say we can't.

520.8 bil per year for the next 10-20 years isn't too much to ask to do that is it?

Personally I think it will be barely enough, just for this one program.

So I respectfully suggest you ask for equal funding with DoD every year from this point forward till the end of the century or we've solved all the world's problems, whichever comes first.

Hope you find this citizen's perspective useful when you next appear before Congress and they ask what all the money's for.

Best Regards,


Karen H.
Oregon, USA
February 3, 2010

Karen H. in Oregon writes:

There is no need to spend billions on nation defense or on foreign aid.

I have been working to introduce "The World Peace Plan," the creation of an international government based on the US Constitution and the cooperation of nature. Both are proven concepts.

Under the plan, all the nations would be treated the same way the states are treated within the United States. Disputes will be handled in a legitimate court system rather than the battlefield.

At the present time, the US is not a signatory of the ICC, and disputes against the US are not being resolved, with growing anger directed at us. Under the plan, those disputes will be wiped away, because we are enabling everyone to function on a far higher level.

The root cause of terrorism is that people "on the bottom" are denied a voice, and must raise their voice to be heard, oftentimes to the point of violence. You can end terrorism by the creation of the international government. It will just fade away.

My organization has affiliate members in 26 nations, including Muslim nations. Affiliate membership means they support this plan, because it treats people fairly and equally, allows them a voice in their government, and enables everyone to create their life without interference.

We do not have to spend billions of dollars making an international presence. Grabbing for power means we are losing power. Secretary General Kofi Annan declared in his farewell speech that President Bush made the UN innrelevant, and now the world's leaders are jockeying for power. As the US is going down in power, who will be next?

None of the existing international bodies has the capacity or legitimacy to become the next world power. The US can only regain its power and prestige through the creation of this proposed international government.

New Mexico, USA
February 5, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Karen H. in Oregon,

You wrote;

"There is no need to spend billions on nation defense or on foreign aid."

Ok, then tell me how your "World Peace Plan" is going to provide a sustainable answer to the question I posed in my last post on this thread, without spending any money.

Now it's not everyday that I find the imagination to save the world and erase the national debt in 5000 characters or less
( not too bad for a day's work ), so if you have a better way, I'm all ears.

But if you don't have an answer, you better go back to the drawing board on that plan and figure it out.

Because there's at least a thousand other reasons I can think of as to why it won't work, simply being a life-long student of human nature and the human condition.

Starting with the tendancy of politicians to blame others for their own shortcomings of leadership.

When I consider the difference (by definition) between a terrorist and a freedom fighter, The targeting of civilians, and the methods employed may serve.

The philosophy behind our revolution, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence, was born from resistance to oppression with "live free, or die." being at the core of it.
As Hamid Karzai once intimated, this is the Afghan jihad, the true jihad, to be free to live in correctness with one another.

You wrote;

"The root cause of terrorism is that people "on the bottom" are denied a voice, and must raise their voice to be heard, oftentimes to the point of violence."

By the terms of your definition you have confused the people on the streets of Iran with the terrorist government they are trying to overthrow.

If you cannot properly define the root cause of terrorism ( which is a holier than thou attitude towards folks trying to get a life)

Which is manifest by a total absence of empathy for one's fellow human...and if there was even a spark of that...the evil in their hearts would indeed fade away.

-then you cannot possibly be able to properly define the terms of Peace on Earth.

So think of this as a test...only a test.

For that's what life is. A pass /fail grading system with no way to withdraw from class, or call in sick to avoid taking the test.

Now we can either save the world or go broke trying, but I guarrantee if we don't we'll all be impoverished anyway.

I a.
District Of Columbia, USA
February 18, 2010

IA in Washington, DC writes:

@Eric in New Mexico Is that a proposal to raise the debt ceiling in order to add half of a TRILLION dollars to the deficit? Or do you have a proposal to increase taxes to obtain the $520 billion? Instead of requesting that State matches the funding request of DoD, how about proposing which programs could be terminated or reduced in order to fund your $520 billion agricultural development program? That $520 billion has to come from somewhere.

New Mexico, USA
February 22, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

IA in Wash.

Dig it, there's a little reverse funding going on...think...who do we owe debt to?

Yes we spend money to pay people to plant trees to create habitat to grow crops on new cropland in otherwise currently unproductive ( for a variety of reasons and combinations thereof) zones of transition ( politically , economicly, environmentally) to facilitate the stability of individuals neccessary to have a hope, a life, and a future...

In order to litterally terraform the areas of this planet that have been damaged due to overgrazing, deforestation, desertification, and conflict resulting in neglect of farmlands....

In this decades long project the motivation to have all nations participate fully in not simple "nation building", but the rebuilding of the very fabric of the interactive processes of nature is the only true way to even approach the total repayment of a simple commercial debt among nations.

This is the essence of the truth contained within the following conclusion;

"Now we can either save the world or go broke trying, but I guarrantee if we don't we'll all be impoverished anyway."

Again, who do we owe the debt to?...If there's no one left to collect it, because we failed to spend the money to invest in humanity's common trust and common future?

In relative terms; The concept arms merchants fail to grasp is that there's nowhere to spend the profits when there's no one left to buy the weapons.

I think that's called mutually assured destruction.

The answer to this question forms the legal basis to initiate this program unilaterally as a nation if we must declare our fiscal debt to other nations as "wiped clean" tommorow by funding the effort ourselves via congressional approval and foreign policy directive.

Every nation has the right to defend itself and its environs.

What we have here in legal terms is the true meaning of "responsibility to protect" as it has not been properly defined on the global level to date.

Wherein the soveregnity of nations does not by right include their destuction of the commons, it therefore gives legal premis to use a debt to offset such practice and instigate restoration of the commons by simply redirecting the flow of money to that end.

It may be to some, an unusual way to "nationalize" a debt, but that would be poor way to think of it.

See I fundementally believe that this has to be all nation's task, If they are not up to it, we don't have a lot of choice in the matter, we must be ready fund the programs ourselves to those willing to improve their lives.

Where's the money come from you ask?

Well we arn't going to be making payments to anyone on our national debt for starters, then think of all the interest we arn't going to pay....

So I think there's as I said, "a way to barter our way out of debt."

Now I'm not an economic expert, but if you put folks to work, it can be assumed they can contribute to the nation's tax base.

And that's more revenue to invest.

I hear so many folks say "what about US?" when foreign assistance is concerned.

Well it starts with us, because we've been the breadbasket of the world for how long now?

Well my friend, there's your economic stimulous package in a nutshell.

The question is really, what do we owe ourselves?

Russ A.
Kansas, USA
February 26, 2010

Russ Ames in Kansas writes:

I comment on this entry because the pertinent entry on development is closed to new comments.

In graduate school, I was surrounded by idealistic, motivated development professionals from many non-profit/non-government agencies which operate globally. Although they must operate within the constraints, goals, objectives, and funding restrictions placed upon them by funders and stakeholders, it seems they are more responsive than the larger DoS/USAID apparatus.

According to the USAID website, "USAID has working relationships with more than 3,500 American companies and over 300 U.S.-based private voluntary organizations." -- as well as their billions of dollars in (albeit somewhat restricted) philanthropic funding.

This is a huge external capacity that, if properly focused and coordinated, achieves USAID objectives.

My question is: Does USAID have a comprehensive plan to focus, or at least encourage NGO/PVO efforts in areas vital to national security? E.g., instead of 10 different non-profits working on microgrants in 10 different countries, can/does USAID encourage those 10 non-profits to work together, and coordinate efforts in 2-4 problem countries?


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