<html> <head><style type ="text/css">body { font-family: "Bloomberg Prop Unicode I", Verdana, sans-serif; font-size:125%; letter-spacing: -0.3pt; color: #FF9F0F; background-color: #000000; text-align: left; } p {line-height: 1.25em; max-width:900px; width:expression(document.body.clientWidth > 900? "900px": "auto" );} h1, h2, h3 { text-align: left; font-weight: normal; color: #FFFFFF; } h1 { font-size: 130%; } h2 { font-size: 115%; } h3 { font-size: 100%; } #bb-style { font-size: 90%; max-width:900px; width:expression(document.body.clientWidth > 900? "900px": "auto" ); } b, strong { font-weight: bold; } i, em { color: #FEC54A; } pre { font-family: "Andale Mono", "Monaco", "Lucida Console"; letter-spacing: -0.3pt; line-height: 1.25em; } table { border: 0; font-size: 90%; width: 100%; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; } td, tr { text-align: left; } td.numeric { text-align: right; } a:link { color:#53B2F5; text-decoration: none; } a:visited {color:#53B2F5} a:active {color:#53B2F5} a:hover {color:#53B2F5} </style> </head> <body> <p>By Katherine Brown</p> <p>As part of the congressional <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-17/congress-clears-1-trillion-budget-measure.html">$1 trillion dollar spending deal</a>, the core international affairs budget was <a href="http://www.usglc.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/USGLC-IAB-Budge-Update-12-21-11-FINAL.pdf">cut by 9 percent</a>, to $43.7 billion for 2012. Specifically, the State Department's operations budget <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/19/us-usa-aid-idUSTRE7BI1KO20111219">decreased</a> by $2.6 billion and the U.S. Agency for International Development's went down $258 million.</p> <p>These cuts could have been much deeper. Republican legislators in the House had <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/04/us/politics/foreign-aid-set-to-take-hit-in-united-states-budget-crisis.html?pagewanted=all">threatened to slash</a> the overall foreign operations budget by <a href="http://www.usglc.org/2011/04/06/international-affairs-budget-update-4-5-11/">27 percent</a>. Democrats such as Representative Nita Lowey, ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee, <a href="http://democrats.appropriations.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&amp;view=article&amp;id=830:ranking-member-nita-lowey-statement-at-subcommittee-markup-of-the-state-a-foreign-operations-appropriations-bill-fy12&amp;catid=98&amp;Itemid=131">argued</a> that this would have crippled foreign operations and threatened U.S. leadership around the globe.</p> <p>This 9 percent cut will not completely shackle U.S. diplomatic and development professionals -- but it won't make much of a dent in the <a href="http://www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=12577">$1.3 trillion budget deficit</a>, either.</p> <p>Legislators approved a supplemental, known as "Overseas Contingency Operations," of $11.2 billion for the budget that is specifically allocated for Afghanistan and Iraq. This actually brings the total 2012 international affairs budget to $54.9 billion. As U.S. civilians <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-24/with-troop-exit-a-civilian-phase-for-the-u-s-in-iraq.html">assume responsibility</a> for the U.S. mission in Iraq this month -- and will likely <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-04/civilian-mission-in-afghanistan-requires-new-commitment-from-obama-view.html">do the same in Afghanistan</a> with a 2014 troop drawdown -- this extra funding is vital.</p> <p>Increasing supplemental funding while cutting the core budget, however, is a dangerously myopic approach to  national security: U.S. diplomacy and development efforts are not just essential for wartime. On Dec. 15, Congress allocated <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-12-19/u-s-congress-approves-662-billion-defense-plan-headed-to-obama.html">$662 billion for defense</a>, more than 10 times the amount for diplomacy. But while U.S. troops mainly respond to crises, U.S. diplomats and aid workers work to prevent them.</p> <p>(Katherine Brown is on the staff of Bloomberg View.)</p> </body> </html>