State Department Budget: Winners and Losers

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The president’s budget request for the State Department and foreign operations includes funding for 599 new jobs, 75 percent of those overseas. One-hundred thirty of those will go to expanded diplomatic and consular operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The rest are spread around the State Department and the world.

Here are some of the bureaus that are about to get much bigger, and some that are not … assuming the budget request makes it through Congress intact, that is:

Winners:

Bureau of African Affairs: The AF request includes $12 million for 37 new positions, 34 of those overseas. Two of the new jobs would be civil service, and one domestic Foreign Service.

Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs: Thirty-six new positions in this shop would be realized if the request for $10.7 million in new funds are met. Fourteen domestic and 22 new overseas jobs would go primarily to Argentina, Bahamas, Brazil, Colombia, and Ecuador.

Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs: NEA is requesting $9 million for 30 new positions, 22 of them overseas, which will allow staff expansions in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Cairo, Algiers, Amman, Dhahran (Saudi Arabia), and Jerusalem. “Program positions will support expanded engagement in Libya, monitoring economic activities in UAE and cultivating and expanding bilateral relationships with Saudi Arabia.”

Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs: The administration is requesting $8 million in new funding for 27 new jobs at EAP, 23 of those overseas. “Resources requested will also support outreach to new audiences and dialogues that advance U.S. interests,” the State Department said. Interesting…

Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs: SCA is requesting $7 million for 25 new jobs, not counting Afghanistan and Pakistan. The 19 overseas positions will be to expand the bureau’s presence in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

Bureau of Political-Military Affairs: The request for PM was $38.2 billion, a 6 percent increase over last year, and PM’s staff would increase by 17 positions if the budget request was enacted as is. PM is also going to play a key role in State’s takeover of the Pakistani Counterinsurgency Capability Fund, a major $1.2 billion operation. More on that later.

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor: The administration is requesting $1.6 million toward 19 new positions in this bureau, most of which will be to vet foreign assistance programs to make sure money won’t go to human rights violators, as mandated by law under what’s known as the Leahy amendment.

Losers:

Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs: The president requested $2.3 million for seven new jobs in the European affairs bureau, toward the goal of promotion of a “peaceful, united and democratic Europe,” as well as, “increased engagement in the Balkans and Turkey.”

Bureau of Intelligence and Research: $1 million of new funding requested for seven new positions at INR, to focus on counterterrorism, cyber security, and information protection.

Bureau of Administration: Only six new jobs for this bureau, but lots of new money requested to purchase expanded office space, perform a major renovation of the Blair House, and purchase property being abandoned by the Army at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Bureau of Legislative Affairs: Only three new jobs proposed for this bureau at a cost of $185,000, a key function in the administration’s defense of its budget request on Capitol Hill.

Bureau of Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs: Only two new jobs worth $181,000 for the EB bureau, to help it out with cybersecurity and investment policy.

Notable:

Office of the Secretary: The president requested $630,000 for nine new hires in the secretary’s personal office, six which are designated to the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism.

Human Resources: Six new jobs for the Bureau of Human Resources but 99 new jobs for the Human Resources Initiative.

Foreign Service Institute: $1.4 billion plus six new positions for FSI, which will expand language training in critical needs languages including Dari, Pashto, Urdu, Russian, and Chinese. FSI will also have an increased role in Civilian Response Corps training and will expand its distance-learning options.

An Uphill Climb?

It will be an uphill climb for lawmakers defending the Obama administration’s $52.8 billion request for the State Department and USAID this year, according the House’s top foreign affairs appropriator.

“We’re going to be a strong an advocate as we can be, but with 10 percent unemployment, urgent needs at home, a trillion-dollar budget deficit, and focus on creating jobs, there is no doubt that these factors make it a difficult political environment for expanding our foreign assistance and development budgets,” ┬áRep. Nita Lowey, D-NY, the chairwoman of the House Appropriations State and Foreign Operations subcommittee told reporters.

She applauded the administration for proposing “robust increases” in the operating budgets for State and USAID, which include 600 and 200 new jobs, respectively. But she also noted that much of the increase comes from supplemental funding in light of the increased civilian role in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

While trying to accommodate the administration’s budget request, Lowey’s subcommittee will also be looking to make some changes to fit Congress’s priorities.

“I intend to ensure that education remains a pillar of our development assistance,” she said. “I am currently in the process of evaluating the whole budget, looking at every account and looking for areas where we can get those dollars … It won’t be an increase in the topline.”

2 Comments

  1. Ahmir says:

    I don’t see how this budget is going to pass will all these expenditures. 1.4 billion for the Foreign Service Institute and they’re only adding 6 jobs? And Obama is all about jobs???

    I was under the assumption that the State Department was planning on adding over 1000 FSO’s over the next couple of years?

  2. Jim Decharque says:

    I think they’re making a mistake trying to push things over to U.S. AID, but I’m glad to see more money heading to Pakistan.

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