With Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Capitol Hill this week for hearings on President Trump’s budget proposal, 16 top retired generals and flag officers submitted joint testimony today in defense of America’s foreign aid budget.
“It is clear to us that strategic development assistance is not charity,” the military leaders write. “It is an essential, modern tool of U.S. national security.”
“American security is undermined by frail and failing nations where hope is non-existent, and where conditions foster radicalism, produce refugees, spark insurgency, and provide safe havens for terrorists, criminal gangs, and human traffickers. In this light, it is clear to us that strategic development assistance is not charity — it is an essential, modern tool of U.S. national security.
U.S. development efforts should be respected — and budgeted — as investments in stability enhancement. The severe cuts to the State Department and USAID that the Administration has proposed will make America less safe, and Congress should reject them.”
To read the full testimony, click here. It was submitted to Tuesday’s hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and has also been shared with:
- Senate Foreign Relations Committee
- Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations
- House Armed Services Committee
- House Foreign Affairs Committee
- House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations
All of those committees are considering the White House’s budget proposal, which calls for a 32 percent cut to the budgets of the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development. These 16 generals are adding their voices to the chorus of generals, politicians, faith leaders, and businesses urging against those proposed cuts.
The testimony was signed by (listed alphabetically): General Philip Breedlove, USAF (Ret.); General George Casey, USA (Ret.); General Carter Ham, USA (Ret.); General James Jones, USMC (Ret.); General George Joulwan, USA (Ret.); General Stanley McChrystal, USA (Ret.); Admiral William McRaven, USNA (Ret.); Admiral Michael Mullen, USN (Ret.); Admiral Eric Olson, USN (Ret.); General John Paxton, USMC (Ret.); General David Petraeus, USA (Ret.); General Joe Ralston, USAF (Ret.); Admiral Gary Roughead, USN (Ret.); General Hugh Shelton USA, (Ret.); Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret.); and Admiral Sandy Winnefeld, USN (Ret.).
Cutting the budgets of State and USAID by a third would be shortsighted and devastating to programs that are saving lives, building capacity, protecting Americans, and advancing America’s interests around the world. We have to stop this in its tracks. Congress has the final say on spending decisions, but they need to know that their constituents—that’s YOU—want to stop these cuts.