Enhancing Leadership: What are the Motivations for Increasing the US State Department’s Budget?

The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing titled “American Diplomacy and Global Leadership: Reviewing the State Department’s Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2025” on May 21, 2024, to discuss the State Department’s budget request for the fiscal year 2025. The hearing focused on addressing challenges posed by certain countries that affect US interests and national security. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke at the hearing. Blinken emphasized the status of US alliances and partnerships, highlighting the importance of strengthening US global leadership to counteract countries impacting its interests.

Increasing Burdens:

Blinken supported his view on the necessity of increasing the US State Department’s budget with a range of factors, including:

  1. Escalating Challenges Undermining US Security: Blinken pointed out that there are several challenges undermining US security. For instance, China seeks military, economic, and geopolitical dominance. He also mentioned that Russia’s actions against Ukraine are not just an aggression against Ukraine but against principles at the heart of the UN Charter, including sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence, which are the foundations of global peace and security.
  2. US Role in Addressing the Gaza Crisis Fallout: The Secretary of State noted that the US administration stood by Israel in its efforts to ensure that the events of October 7, 2023, do not recur. Additionally, the US is doing everything it can to end the severe humanitarian suffering in Gaza and prevent the conflict from spreading.
  3. Need to Lead Global Humanitarian Crisis Efforts: Blinken stated that the US needs to lead efforts to address humanitarian crises worldwide, including in Sudan, which has seen millions displaced and many killed. He also mentioned food security, climate change, and transnational corruption. He emphasized that addressing global issues requires Congressional support as no single country can resolve these issues alone.
  4. Enabling the US to Maintain Partnerships and Alliances: Blinken highlighted that Washington has made historic investments domestically to enhance its competitiveness and infrastructure. It has also secured unprecedented alliances with key partners in Europe, Asia, and beyond, provided essential aid to Ukraine, and rallied the international community to share the burden. For every dollar sent in economic and developmental aid, others collectively invested three more dollars, according to him.

Blinken explained that the State Department needs an increased budget to achieve two main objectives: ensuring the US remains the preferred partner countries turn to for solving significant problems and increasing alliances and partnerships with allied countries to overcome strategic competitors like China, Iran, Russia, and others.

  1. No Domestic Harm from Washington’s Foreign Investments: Blinken clarified that despite the massive foreign investments, it does not come at the expense of domestic investments. Most additional spending is within the US to build its defense industrial base and create and support thousands of American jobs. Maintaining this momentum requires a State Department budget that provides the resources needed to respond to the challenges faced.

Funding Needs:

Blinken indicated that the proposals submitted to Congress to increase the US State Department’s budget for the fiscal year 2025 include:

  1. Requesting $2 Billion to Establish a Global Infrastructure Support Fund: Blinken called for $2 billion to create a new fund to build sustainable and high-quality infrastructure worldwide.
  2. Calling for $1.7 Billion Allocation for International Organizations: Blinken called for $1.7 billion to be allocated to international organizations, including the United Nations and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
  3. Allocating $500 Million to Provide Digital Technologies Worldwide: Blinken requested $500 million to give more people around the world access to secure internet and digital technologies, which would support the US economy.
  4. Fully Funding State Department Educational and Cultural Exchanges: Blinken’s final proposal was to fully fund the State Department’s educational and cultural exchanges.

In conclusion, the hearing determined that there is a critical and urgent need to increase the US State Department’s budget to address the most pressing foreign policy priorities for the next year and to lay the groundwork for strong American leadership in the years to come. Any delay in this would undermine national security and weaken the ability to meet the needs of the American people.

SAKHRI Mohamed
SAKHRI Mohamed

I hold a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and International Relations in addition to a Master's degree in International Security Studies. Alongside this, I have a passion for web development. During my studies, I acquired a strong understanding of fundamental political concepts and theories in international relations, security studies, and strategic studies.

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