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Understanding America’s 2024 budget’s foreign policy direction

IN 2024, America’s plans emphasise investments in its people that will promote greater prosperity and economic growth.  Through the Department of State and USAID, the Foreign Affairs Budget will help Ukraine against Russia, deliver solutions for global challenges and much more. Excerpts of the foreign policy focus: 

Support Ukraine

America will support Ukraine by ensuring President Putin’s aggression against Ukraine remains a strategic failure, while ensuring accountability for the Ukrainian government and people. This request includes $1.7 billion that will help Ukraine win the war and lay the reform and recovery foundation for winning the peace and help other partners impacted by the war stabilise their economies and prepare for recovery.  

On China

The budget will address Strategic Competition with the PRC by implementing the Administration’s “invest, align, compete” strategy towards the PRC. The budget includes $400 million in discretionary funding to counter specific problematic PRC behaviors globally through the Countering PRC Influence Fund. In addition, the Budget includes a new, multifaceted interagency mandatory proposal to Out-Compete the PRC. This includes $2 billion to support high-quality, strategic “hard” infrastructure projects globally; $2 billion to strengthen Indo-Pacific economies and support our partners in pushing back against predatory efforts; $2 billion for a new revolving Fund at DFC to boost equity investments, and $7.1 billion over 20 years to support the renewal of the Compacts of Free Association (COFA). 

Indo-Pacific relations

The country will invest in  Indo-Pacific Partnerships and Alliances by including $2.3 billion in discretionary funding to support implementation of the Indo-Pacific Strategy, including by strengthening our alliances and partnerships. This includes critical bilateral and regional foreign assistance, as well as resources to expand our presence in the region, especially in the Pacific Islands.

Deliver Solutions for Shared Global Challenges 

It will spearhead international efforts to bolster economic, energy, food, and health security, address the climate crisis and other global challenges including irregular migration and humanitarian disasters. This request includes $4.2 billion for the climate crisis; $1.2 billion for food insecurity; $10.9 billion for global health; more than $10.5 billion to support global humanitarian needs, including resources to rebuild the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and resettle 125,000 refugees; over $1 billion to address the root causes of migration from Central America; and $485.9 million to strengthen our re-engagement with the multilateral system.

Strengthen Global Democracy by shoring up fellow democracies and building resilience against authoritarians’ efforts to undermine them. This request includes more than $3.4 billion in diplomatic engagement and foreign assistance funding to counter corruption and advance democratic governance and renewal as well as country and global priorities under the Summit for Democracy and the Presidential Initiative for Democratic Renewal. It also includes over $3 billion to advance gender equality and equity across a broad range of sectors and surpasses the President’s goal to more than double gender equality assistance.

Modernise Diplomacy and Expand Overseas Engagement

 The budget request will drive forward an ambitious modernization of American diplomacy and development to ensure we are equipped to meet the challenges and opportunities of our time. It expands the Department of State’s workforce by over 500, with a focus on advancing the Indo-Pacific Strategy, expanding professional development opportunities, and managing increasingly complex embassy operations. Funding is also included to continue Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) and workforce engagement initiatives.  

Protect our Diplomats, Embassies, and Data

  This Budget requests $6.4 billion to secure our global workforce from an array of threats to their health and safety, address infrastructure vulnerabilities, and protect sensitive data. Additional funding for Diplomatic Security will support our Pacific Islands presence and a potential gradual return to Libya, sustain the coverage of guard force programs at home and abroad, and continue protection of former senior officials. Nearly $750 million is requested for the Department’s cybersecurity programs, prioritizing deployment of Zero Trust Architecture enhancements and secure end-user devices for our agile workforce. 

Prioritize Multilateral Contributions to renew, strengthen, and leverage U.S. leadership in multilateral diplomacy, the Budget includes $3.6 billion for contributions to the United Nations and other international organisations. Essential priorities to advance U.S. objectives include $344 million to pay down UN peacekeeping arrears, and fully pay our peacekeeping assessments on time; $150 million to support a U.S. return to UNESCO, and $40 million for UN payment synchronisation to counter PRC and Russia narratives and mitigate longstanding UN liquidity challenges.

Improve Consular Services

The budget will address consular challenges by including $163 million for the Department of State to revamp the delivery of passport services so the public can access core services online. Most notably, this supports delivery on the commitment outlined in the Customer Service Executive Order to enable eligible U.S. citizens to renew their passport without having to go in-person and mail original documents. 

Protect our Afghan Allies by fully supporting implementation of Enduring Welcome, the whole-of-government effort to expeditiously process the applications of our Afghan allies. The safety of those who served and sacrificed alongside us is an unwavering U.S. priority. 

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