U.S. national security rests on three pillars: Diplomacy, Development, and Defense. Although other departments and agencies of the U.S. government certainly contribute to the nation’s security, these three Ds, represented by the Department of State (State), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and Department of Defense (DoD or Defense) provide the foundation for promoting and protecting U.S. interests abroad. Each represents a critical component of national security with unique roles and responsibilities. The functions performed by each of the “three Ds” provide greatest value to the nation when they are complementary and mutually reinforcing.
State and USAID’s diplomats and development experts work hand-in-glove with their military counterparts to promote growth and foster stability. They don’t think about which subcommittee funded them or what their respective agency budget allocations are. All they know is that they work together, with a common purpose, and often in dangerous and deadly environments. We need a budget that reflects that reality.
Here are some examples of the integration of our civilian and military efforts in some of the most critical areas around the world:
In Afghanistan, USAID programs are designed to support US foreign policy, with military stabilization programs informed by USAID technical expertise. Funding is provided by USAID/Kabul for Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) activities in the field as well as national-level programs. It would be physically impossible for USAID to operate independently in Afghanistan without close military support. USAID field program officers serve alongside military counterparts in forward operating bases and PRTs, where they undertake jointly planned civil affairs and quick-impact development programs.
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