More than 120 retired three and four-star generals wrote to Congressional leadership last week urging "that resources for the International Affairs Budget keep pace with the growing global threats and opportunities" America faces. The letter, addressed to House and Senate leadership, came amid reports that the Trump Administration's budget proposal would seek drastic cuts in the International Affairs Budget. Those reports were confirmed by the administration this past weekend.
The letter, also delivered to Secretary of Sate Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Mattis, and National Security Advisor McMaster, stated that "elevating and strengthening diplomacy and development alongside defense are critical to keeping America safe," and that the "State Department, USAID, Millennium Challenge Corporation, Peace Corps and other development agencies are critical to preventing conflict and reducing the need to put our men and women in uniform in harm’s way." The letter ended, "Now is not the time to retreat."
Glenn Blumhorst, President and CEO of NPCA, thanked the letter's cosigners for "their lending their unique and powerful voice to the Peace Corps and other tools of soft power. If there's anyone who knows that America's global challenges cannot be faced by our military alone, it's our men and women in uniform."
Reports emerged last week that the administration would seek cuts upwards of 37% to the International Affairs Budget, which includes the Peace Corps and all other diplomacy and development programs. On Saturday, White House Office of Management Budget director Mick Mulvaney told Fox News that the proposed cuts would include "fairly dramatic reductions in foreign aid."
In a statement, Liz Schrayer, President and CEO of the United States Global Leadership Coalition, noted that the reported cuts would bring spending levels for America's civilian forces back to "9/11 funding levels," and noted, "If we’re going to put America First, we can’t tie the hands of our diplomats and development workers, fighting alongside our soldiers to keep our country safe.”
Take action now to share the summary of the letter with your Members of Congress and urge robust funding for the Peace Corps and the International Affairs Budget.