Foreign Policy Budget Analysis
FCNL tracks and supports several accounts within the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development’s budget.
For international affairs programs, the president requested $56.2 billion, representing a 2.4% increase over last year's levels. The Administration’s request also increased base funding for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development, while reducing the amount of international affairs funding included in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account, which funds war-related programs. FCNL has advocated for this shift, fearing that as OCO funding drops over the coming years, it will be harder for OCO programs to be absorbed in the base funding.
The House and the Senate have both released their final bill numbers. While the House cut or eliminated funding for most of the accounts FCNL tracks, the Senate fully funded them all.
The Contributions to International Peacekeeping Activities (CIPA) account ($2.1 billion request), which funds U.S. peacekeeping dues, saw a substantial increase in funding from levels enacted last year, while the Contributions to International Organizations (CIO) account ($1.57 billion request), which funds the UN regular budget and U.S. dues payments to a number of other international organizations, saw a modest increase.
FCNL supports the President's request to pay U.S. dues to the U.N. in full and on time.
Conflict Stabilization Operations: $56.5 million
This account funds the Civilian Response Corps and the new Conflict Stabilization Operations bureau. This year's budget request is $56.5 million, which is an increase from last year's enacted amount. This bureau focuses on preventing deadly conflict by assessing and planning an effective response to countries struggling with or at risk from conflict or civil strife. The Civilian Response Corps will be reduced from 144 members to 68 members as a cost cutting measure.
FCNL supports $56.5 million for Conflict Stabilization Operations.
Complex Crises Fund: $50 million
This account provides much-needed, unprogrammed money for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to prevent and respond to emerging or unforeseen crises. $50 million is this year's budget request for the CCF, a $10 million increase from last year's enacted amount. In addition to the traditional use of CCF (used in countries/regions that demonstrate a high or escalating risk of conflict or instability), the Administration adds an emphasis on opportunities for "progress in a newly emerging or fragile democracy". This is a clear response to the Arab Spring.
FCNL supports $50 million for the Complex Crises Fund.
Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund: $770 million
This new, flexible fund is intended to support U.S. activities in countries affected by the Arab Spring. Potential uses for the fund include: support for free and fair elections, democratic institutions, transparent and accountable government, civil society, and open markets. Given the large and flexible nature of this request, Congress will likely raise concerns about funding it in a tight fiscal environment.
FCNL will track the Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund throughout the budget process.
Conventional Weapons Destruction: $126 million
Demining is essential to post-conflict recovery in dozens of countries, where landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) pose a mortal threat to civilians, disrupt refugee return, and impede agricultural production and economic development for years after armed conflict ends. This account responds to the risk to civilians posed by landmines, and excess small arms and light weapons, by providing funding to victims' assistance and removing weapons from loosely secured arms depots.
FCNL supports $126 million for the Conventional Weapons Destruction account.
Global Security Contingency Fund: $25 million
This fund is to be pooled jointly between the Department of State and Department of Defense, and the Secretary of State must consult with the Secretary of Defense before using these funds. This account is intended to enhance foreign militaries as well as to provide justice sector rule of law assistance. While rule of law programs are important, we are concerned that the Defense Department would be involved in this task that is most effectively carried out by civilian agencies and therefore would repeat problems identified through previous pooled funding experiences.
FCNL opposes pooled funding between the military and State Department.
Palestinian Development Assistance: $370 million
This account provides crucial economic funding and budgetary support for the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Gaza. U.S. development assistance to the Palestinian Authority is an important investment in the long-term stability of the Middle East. This funding has repeatedly come under threat from Congress, as some lawmakers have sought to punish the Palestinian Authority and Palestinians as a whole for seeking U.N. statehood recognition and for pursuing reconciliation efforts between the political parties of Hamas and Fatah. FCNL urges Congress to reject punitive efforts against the Palestinian Authority for seeking a non-violent, multilateral approach to self-determination at the U.N. and to encourage comprehensive negotiations in good faith between Israel and a unified Palestinian government, encouraging rather than impeding Palestinian reconciliation efforts.
FCNL supports $370 million in Economic Supports Funds for the Palestinian Authority, and rejects onerous, punitive restrictions on aid.
Migration and Refugee Assistance: $1.6254 billion
This account provides protection and assistance needs of refugees, conflict victims, stateless persons, and vulnerable migrants worldwide. Funds primarily support the programs of international organizations, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
The President's FY 13 budget request for the MRA account is $1.6254 billion.
FCNL, along with a host of humanitarian and refugee advocacy groups, supports increasing this funding for the MRA account to $1.875 billion. A funding level of $1.875 billion for FY 13 would match the FY12 total funding level enacted.
FCNL supports $1.875 billion for the Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) account.
Counterterrorism and Military Assistance to Kenya
The Administration has requested that accounts including Antiterrorism Assistance, International Military Education and Training, Foreign Military Financing, Export Control and Related Border Security, and the Terrorist Interdiction Program provide counterterrorism and military assistance to Kenya. As the country’s next national elections approach and the potential for renewed violence increases, FCNL fears that a focus on these programs – rather than on those dedicated to conflict prevention and long-term peacebuilding – may undermine U.S. support for what is most effective in countering violent extremism: a peaceful, just society. U.S. assistance to Kenya’s military is likely to support the intervention in Somalia, which could not only further destabilize the region and hinder humanitarian efforts, but continue to escalate internal tensions. Moreover, given the extent to which Kenya’s security forces perpetuated violence during the 2007-2008 post-election crisis, FCNL remains concerned about any initiatives that seek to train and equip Kenyan law enforcement. The lack of progress on police and security sector reform in Kenya, as well as the widespread failure to hold police accountable for past violence, make vigilant monitoring of any assistance provided and full compliance with the Leahy Law increasingly essential.
FCNL opposes all military aid, particularly that intended to support the Kenyan intervention in Somalia. Moreover, FCNL urges vigilant oversight and monitoring of any other assistance provided to non-military Kenyan security forces.