Military Officers Call for More Foreign Aid

The Atlantic

Redistrubtion of Wealth:"We in the Obama Administration view development as a strategic, economic, and moral imperative," said Clinton at the Council on Foreign Relations on September 8. "It is central to advancing American interests - as central as diplomacy and defense. Our approach is not, however, development for development's sake; it is an integrated strategy for solving problems."

Earlier in the week, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) released a poll that surveyed active duty and retired military officers for their views on non-military, development based foreign aid. The participants said, among other things, that keeping America safe shouldn’t just be a job for the military: National security is about development and humanitarianism, too. The poll reveals a shifting mentality within the typically gun-ho U.S. military that began with the 2006 “surge” in Iraq.

According to the report, 89 percent of active duty and retired officers believe it’s crucial to emphasize development and diplomacy initiatives in addition to military strength. Eighty-three percent of those surveyed cited the importance of non-military programs, like food assistance and health, education and economic-based development plans, as “fairly important” or “very important” in “achieving the country’s national security objectives.

Fifty-nine percent said that increasing funding for non-military programs would help national security and military objectives, and another 59 percent say a decrease in funding would hurt our long-run security goals.

The message from the survey isn’t new: international diplomacy and development are top priorities of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Department of State, and USAID. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen have also argued in favor of more support for USAID and the Department of State.

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