More than 150 retired generals appeal to Congress for diplomacy (read letter)
A report from the Washington Examiner says that over 150 retired generals have signed a one-page letter asking congressional leaders not to cut diplomatic spending. The letter, drafted by three- and four-star generals, was sent on Sunday.
According to the Examiner: The generals, organized by the group U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, sent the letter one day before President Trump is expected to release fiscal year 2019 budget requests.
Generals wrote a similar letter last year, asking them not to reduce funds for the U.S. Agency for International Development and other foreign affairs programs.
“Today’s crises do not have military solutions alone, yet America’s essential civilian national security agencies — the State Department, USAID, Millennium Challenge Corporation, Peace Corps and other development agencies — faced a significant cut last year,” the generals wrote in the letter. “We call on you to ensure our nation also has the civilian resources necessary to protect our national security, compete against our adversaries, and create opportunities around the world.”
To follow is the full text of the letter the generals sen:
We write as retired three- and four-star flag and general officers from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces to reinforce our strong conviction that elevating and strengthening diplomacy and development alongside defense is critical to keeping America safe.
As you and your colleagues look ahead to the federal budget for Fiscal Year 2019, the world has not grown any safer since many of us wrote a similar letter to you last year. The number of people displaced by conflict and instability has grown in Yemen, Somalia, Myanmar and Venezuela, among many other places, creating even greater security challenges for our nation and our allies. Today, nearly 30 million people risk starvation in four countries where we also face the growing threat of violent extremism. And while we have seen military progress against ISIS, the question that looms is whether we are prepared to protect those battlefield gains and prevent bad actors from stepping into the void.
As Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has said, “America’s got two fundamental powers, the power of intimidation and the power of inspiration.” Today’s crises do not have military solutions alone, yet America’s essential civilian national security agencies – the State Department, USAID, Millennium Challenge Corporation, Peace Corps and other development agencies – faced a significant cut last year. Many senior leadership positions remain unfilled, undercutting America’s global influence. We call on you to ensure our nation also has the civilian resources necessary to protect our national security, compete against our adversaries, and create opportunities around the world.
We reinforce that strategic investments in diplomacy and development – like all of U.S. investments – must be effective and accountable. Significant reforms inspired by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Millennium Challenge Corporation have made U.S. foreign assistance even more results-oriented, but deep budget cuts would jeopardize this important progress in recent years.
Thank you for the leadership you have shown, and we urge you again to ensure a responsible commitment of resources for the International Affairs Budget that keeps pace with the growing threats we face.
We must not undercut our nation’s ability to lead around the world in such turbulent times.
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