Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, a former Marine Corps general, said recently, “America has two fundamental powers, the power of intimidation and the power of inspiration.”
We couldn’t agree more. We’ve spent our entire careers on the “hard power” side of the ledger. Yet we know that U.S. humanitarian assistance, the keystone of the U.S. “power of inspiration,” is critical to U.S. national security. Americans understand that the U.S. military acts as a deterrent to those who would otherwise do us harm, but they should also understand that the United States’ extraordinary history of alleviating suffering and fighting extreme poverty around the globe is a major asset in securing our nation.
Yet the Trump administration has inexplicably proposed a package of extreme budget and staffing cuts to the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development that would lay waste to many humanitarian and development programs. The administration’s budget proposal would cut overall development funding in half, slash international disaster assistance by 43 percent and completely eliminate the leading U.S. food-aid program.
Read the full piece in The Washington Post.
More from CNAS
VideoThe Pitch: A Competition of New Ideas
On June 17, 2020, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) hosted its premier event to elevate emerging and diverse voices in national security. Sixteen applicants made t...
By Richard Fontaine, Michèle Flournoy, Michael J. Zak, Loren DeJonge Schulman, Shai Korman, Carrie Cordero, Kristine Lee, David Zikusoka & Cole Stevens
VideoThe Bottom Line
Although lawmakers and the public frequently debate the size of the U.S. defense budget, a fundamental question usually receives less attention: What does U.S. military spendi...
By Susanna V. Blume
CommentaryIt’s the Logistics, China
In protracted warfare, logistics and sustainment capabilities are as important as force composition, something China will struggle to mitigate. Despite recent successes by ...
By Will Mackenzie
CommentaryTrump, Racism, and the Military
Throughout his administration, President Trump has misused the US military to advance his racist and discriminatory political priorities. He has used the Department of Defense...
By Susanna V. Blume