A Quaker Lobby in the Public Interest
Support Foreign Relations Authorization Act (HR 2410)
Letter to the HouseMay 29, 2009
We urge you to support passage of HR 2410, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, as approved by the Foreign Affairs Committee. After years of underfunding US civilian foreign policy agencies, this legislation would help rebuild and strengthen U.S. capacities for diplomacy, development, and international cooperation.
Secretary of Defense Gates, Secretary of State Clinton, and many other military and civilian leaders agree that today’s threats to peace and security cannot be solved only through military means. HR 2410 would authorize critical resources for the State Department and US Agency for International Development (USAID) to help prevent, mitigate, and peacefully resolve crises. By doing so, HR 2410 could help avert costly military operations, saving both lives and money.
Specifically, this legislation would:
- Authorize 1,500 new Foreign Service Officers (FSO’s) for the State Department to expand US diplomacy;
- Authorize 700 new FSO’s for USAID to make US development aid more effective;
- Strengthen training for FSO’s, including in skills to prevent, mitigate, and resolve crises;
- Authorize the President’s request for the Civilian Stabilization Initiative, which would create a deployable corps of civilians with skills to help stabilize conflict-prone states before they lapse into violence;
- Ensure the U.S. meets its financial commitments to the United Nations (UN) and other important international organizations;
- Require the State Department to outline a government-wide strategy to prevent genocide and mass atrocities, a key recommendation from the Genocide Prevention Task Force led by Madeleine Albright and William Cohen.
This cost-effective legislation backstops the Administration’s "smart power" strategy and takes the first steps toward rebuilding the long-neglected civilian tools of U.S. foreign policy.
We urge you to support passage of HR 2410, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, when it comes to the floor.