May 26, 2017

CNAS CEO Michèle Flournoy in The Washington Post

By Michèle Flournoy

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.

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