Funding Prevention: Fiscal Year 2012 Budget PrioritiesPDF Version
February 28, 2011
TO: Members of the House State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee
Dear Representative, Research now demonstrates that every one dollar invested in preventing conflicts from turning deadly would cost 60 dollars in crisis response once violence erupts. We are encouraged by the consensus now emerging among policymakers that the U.S. must strengthen civilian tools for addressing global problems and preventing deadly conflict.
Secretary of Defense Gates, Secretary of State Clinton, and bipartisan leaders in Congress have all discussed the imbalance in the U.S. foreign policy toolbox, which overflows with military hammers but lacks effective civilian tools for resolving problems and averting crises. The President’s FY 2012 international affairs budget, totaling $47 billion, includes a number of small but important investments to save lives and scarce resources by improving the U.S. government’s ability to help prevent and mitigate crises. These small accounts help avert crises before they undermine state and regional security and erupt into violent conflicts. The initiatives outlined below represent relatively small investments within the international affairs budget, but they could save billions of dollars and thousands of lives by preventing conflicts from turning violent and avoiding costly interventions.
Flexible Funding for Prevention and Response
The Complex Crises Fund (CCF) provides the State Department and USAID with a critical source of flexible funding “to prevent and respond to emerging or unforeseen crises.” Without flexible funding, civilian agencies are often unable to act quickly when conflicts escalate or to undertake rapid stabilization, prevention, and crisis response activities. Previously, the Department of Defense had been left to fill this gap, undertaking its own crisis response activities or transferring funding to civilian agencies under the temporary Sec. 1207 authority granted by Congress since 2006. The Sec. 1207 authority expired at the end of 2010, with the CCF replacing it. The CCF has already been used successfully to halt violence in Kenya and Kyrgyzstan. We urge you to fully fund the Administration’s request of $75 million for the Complex Crises Fund and to ensure that it is available for both the State Department and USAID.
Global Security Contingency Fund
The FY12 request includes a new account, $50 million for the Global Security Contingency Fund (GSCF) to enhance foreign militaries as well as to provide justice sector rule of law and stabilization assistance. The 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 fund is very similar to the 1207 transfer funds which were allowed to expire in 2010. FCNL is concerned that this new fund combines these incompatible tasks. 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 throughout the 1207 experience. We urge you to include language that would focus the GSCF specifically on rule of law and stabilization assistance, and appropriate this account solely to the Department of State, rather than a joint account with the Department of Defense.
Civilian Capacities for Prevention, Reconstruction, and Stabilization
The FY 2012 budget request includes $92.2 million for the Conflict Stabilization Operations (CSO), previously Civilian Stabilization Initiative, which funds the Civilian Response Corps (CRC) and the State Department’s Office of the Coordinator of Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS). S/CRS was created and mandated by Congress to coordinate reconstruction and stabilization operations, in addition to establishing the CRC. S/CRS has taken important steps in developing the CRC, creating tools for conflict analysis and interagency coordination, and strengthening the State Department’s capacity and expertise in conflict prevention. The CRC’s important contribution to conflict prevention activities during South Sudan’s referendum in January 2011, for example, was lauded by U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan General Scott Gration.
The budget also includes $56 million for the Transition Initiatives (TI) account, which supports programs that help fragile or conflict-prone countries transition to peace and stability. USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives implements these programs and has developed a strong track record over 15 years in applying short-term assistance to leverage opportunities for advancing peace and mitigating violence. We urge you to fund reconstruction, prevention, and stabilization programs in State and USAID at no less than the Administration’s request, including $92.2 million for S/CRS and the CRC, and $56 million for OTI.
The Contributions to International Organizations (CIO) account provides money to pay U.S. assessed dues at 45 international organizations including the World Health Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the World Trade Organization, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and the United Nations. These organizations help advance a wide range of shared goals, including promoting economic growth, monitoring weapons proliferation, creating global trade norms, and addressing global health pandemics. In past years, the U.S. developed arrears to the UN because of a failure to appropriate enough funds to meet assessed U.S. dues. In the FY10 budget, this subcommittee recognized the importance of providing these funds and paid down all of these uncontested arrears. We urge this subcommittee to help assure that the U.S. will meet its annual assessed contribution on time and in full by appropriating the President’s request of $ 1.6194 billion.
UN peace operations are cost-efficient and often prove vital in consolidating the peace in countries emerging from conflict. Funding these operations through the Contributions to International Peacekeeping Activities (CIPA) account saves lives in Darfur, Chad, Liberia, Haiti, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and other conflict zones. By supporting UN peacekeeping, we lessen the burden on our own forces and reduce our own expenditures. In 2006, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study concluded that UN peacekeeping is eight times less expensive than funding a U.S. force. FCNL strongly encourages the subcommittee to meet the President’s request to fund this account at $1.92 billion and permanently remove the cap inhibiting the U.S. from paying its full share to U.N. peace operations. As you prepare the FY 11 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, and in the face of challenging budgetary choices, we ask that you consider these requests and make saving both lives and dollars a priority.
Peaceful Prevention of Deadly Conflict Program
Friends Committee on National Legislation