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Flournoy: Diplomacy, Development Funding on ‘Life Support’; Security Spending Needs Balance

Defense spending is on steroids, while funding for diplomacy and statecraft is on life support, Undersecretary of Defense for policy Michele Flournoy said last week at a Johns Hopkins University seminar.

In a speech that also focused on the rise of global Asian power and its effect on U.S. national security, Flournoy called for a more balanced approach to all facets of security spending.

“I am a strong proponent of very robust defense spending,” she said. “But right now we have one instrument of national power on steroids and everything else on life support. It is very difficult to have a balanced, integrated and coherent foreign policy when you have very limited tools on the diplomacy and development side because we’ve chosen to not invest in them as seriously as we have invested in defense.”

In the continuing resolution, approved by Congress last month that averted a government shutdown, defense spending was increased while the State Department took an $8 billion funding cut — most from foreign aid.

Last week, Flournoy called for increases to spending on foreign aid, repeating remarks made by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to bolster spending on the U.S. Agency for International Development, one of the main drivers of foreign aid and development.

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