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“Modest reforms to pay and compensation will improve readiness and modernization. It will help keep our all-volunteer force sustainable and strong. Keeping faith also means investing sufficient resources so that we can uphold our sacred obligations to defend the nation and to send our sons and daughters to war with only the best training, leadership and equipment. We can’t shrink from our obligations to one another. The stakes are too high.”

Gen. Martin E. Dempsey

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Budget Resolution Update: International Affairs

Last night Senate and House conference negotiators agreed on a budget resolution for FY 2010, providing $51 billion in discretionary funding for International Affairs (Function 150, essentially splitting the difference between the Senate and House levels. While this is a $2.8 billion cut from the President's request of $53.8 billion it is a $12.8 billion (33%) increase over the FY 2009 base level appropriations for International Affairs. However, the budget committees adopted the administration’s "change in concept" this year, resetting the Function 150 baseline to include funding provided to accounts through supplemental appropriations. The State Department has, for several years, underfunded certain accounts and requested additional funding in the supplementals intended largely for Iraq and Afghanistan operations. President Obama has said that this practice will not continue and his FY 2010 budget fully funds US foreign policy operations. Thus, a more realistic comparison of FY 2009 and the administration’s FY 2010 request shows a growth rate of 7.6%. The budget committee agreement constitutes a 2% increase from FY 2009 to FY 2010. See the table below for details.

iaf-table-ii1While the agreement takes a first, much needed first step toward strengthening the State Department and USAID, the test for Congress will take place over the coming months as the details of the FY 2010 budget are worked out. The State Department and USAID need more people to do their job. If the FY 2010 budget funds significant personnel increases for State and USAID , it will go a long way toward strengthening the civilian instruments of American statecraft.

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