1. Update
  2. Peacebuilding

President Trump’s budget funds war not security

By Theo Sitther, March 17, 2017

Cutting diplomacy and development will damage global security and American leadership aboard. Now is actually the time to increase investments in the prevention of violent conflict, atrocities, and genocide.

On March 16, the President released his budget blueprint to fund the federal government for FY 2018. The blueprint proposes deep cuts to the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development and it specifically eliminates programs that effectively prevent violent conflict, mass atrocities, and genocide. This budget trades away security and peace for war.

The Administration’s budget singles out the Complex Crises Fund for elimination. This is a small rapid response mechanism providing USAID the ability to respond to emerging and unforeseen threats. Although it is a mere fraction of the entire State Department and USAID budget, the Complex Crises Fund has demonstrated its effectiveness in the Central African Republic, Guinea, Jordan, and other potential security threats. The Complex Crises Fund plays a pivotal role in resourcing the work of the forward looking interagency Atrocities Prevention Board.

Additionally, the budget blueprint eliminates funding to the U.S. Institute of Peace, the Global Climate Change Initiative, and the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance while reducing funding to the United Nations.

The Trump administration’s plan to gut our diplomacy and development efforts means that the only tool at our disposal will be the military. As a result America will be dragged into more wars, our troops will once again be called on to fight and die in unnecessary conflicts, and ultimately terrorism will increase and global security will be diminished.

The White House budget and efforts to cut critical conflict prevention tools is the opposite of putting “America First.” Now is actually the time to increase American investments in the conflict and atrocities prevention tools that are run out of the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development. If President Trump is serious about saving money and protecting U.S. national interests, then now is the time to invest in diplomacy and development.

Leaders from across the political spectrum and sectors such as retired military, Christian, and peace and conflict practitioners are speaking up and urging Congress and the administration to support a strong international affairs budget.

We can – prevent violent conflict at a reasonable cost, it is good for our national security and save lives, and it is the right thing to do. Now it is up to Congress to protect diplomacy, development, and our national security.

The bi-partisan Experts Committee on Preventing Mass Violence recommends increasing investments in prevention. See details.

Theo Sitther

  • Legislative Secretary for Peacebuilding Policy

Theo Sitther directs the peacebuilding program at FCNL and oversees the work of the peacebuilding team. Theo lobbies to change and reform militarized counterterrorism policies with a particular focus on military assistance.