What do the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) do for the American people?
The U.S. State Department has a huge impact on how Americans live and how the rest of the world engages America.
The U.S. State Department covers over one percent of the entire federal budget.
So, what makes U.S. State Department unique? How does the agency contribute to America’s prosperity? The following answers these relevant questions:
1. The U.S State Department creates American jobs. It directly support 20 million U.S. jobs by promoting new and open markets for U.S. firms, protecting intellectual property, negotiating new U.S. airline routes worldwide, and competing for foreign government and private contracts.
On October 2010, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced individual State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) funding allocations for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories, which will support $15 billion in new small business lending through innovative local programs that help entrepreneurs expand their businesses and create new jobs.
2. The U.S State Department supports American citizens abroad. On 2011, it has provided emergency assistance to U.S. citizens in six countries experiencing natural disasters or civil unrest. It assisted 11,000 international adoptions and worked on over 1,100 child abduction cases which resulted in the return of 485 American children.
The agency is offering resources for students and their parents to prepare for safe, enjoyable trips during spring break through its websites.
3. The U.S State Department promotes democracy and fosters stability around the world. The agency believes that stable democracies are less likely to pose a threat to their neighbors or to the United States.
4. The U.S State Department helps to make the world a safer place. Its nonproliferation programs have destroyed stockpiles of missiles, munitions, and material that can be used to make a nuclear weapon.
According to the agency, the New START Treaty reduced the number of deployed nuclear weapons to levels not seen since the 1950s.
The implementation of the New START Treaty is well underway since it entered forced on 5th of February 2011.
From that day and every day that has followed, the Treaty has been contributing to U.S. national security.
In 2010, the State Department helped more than 40 countries clear millions of square meters of landmines, according to the U.S State Department.
5. The U.S. State Department saves lives. The agency asserts that strong bipartisan support for U.S. global health investments has led to worldwide progress against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, smallpox, and polio.
Global Health initiative is a six-year, $63 billion initiative to help partner countries improve measurable health outcomes by strengthening health systems and building upon proven results. It places a particular focus on improving the health of women, newborns and children. Pursuing a comprehensive approach, GHI includes programs addressing HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, maternal and child health, nutrition, family planning and reproductive health, and neglected tropical diseases.
These U.S. global health investments are an important component of our national security “smart power” strategy, critical to national security as well as our common security.
6. The U.S State Department helps countries feed themselves. It helps other countries plant the right seeds in the right way and get crops to markets to feed more people. The agency believes that strong agricultural sectors lead to more stable countries.
President Obama’s Feed the Future Initiative promotes food security and helps reduce vulnerability to drought in Africa.
President Obama’s Feed the Future Initiative has committed $3.5 billion over 3 years
7. The U.S State Department helps in times of crisis. From earthquakes in Haiti, Japan, and Chile to famine in the Horn of Africa.
8. U.S State Department promotes the rule of law and protects human dignity.
“We help people in other countries find freedom and shape their own destinies. Reflecting U.S. values, we advocate for the release of prisoners of conscience, prevent political activists from suffering abuse, train police officers to combat sex trafficking, and equip journalists to hold their governments accountable.” -U.S State Department
9. U.S. State Department also helps Americans see the world.
According to the agency, in 2010, it issued 14 million passports for Americans to travel abroad. It facilitates the lawful travel of international students, tourists and business people to the U.S., adding greatly to our economy.
Skyrocketing visa demand in China and Brazil is a good news story.
The U.S. goal is to expand its capacity to adjudicate more than 2.2 million visas in China and 1.8 million visas in Brazil by 2013.
10. U.S State Department is the face of America overseas. Its diplomats, development experts, and the programs they implement are the source of American leadership around the world.
The diplomats are the embodiments of its American values abroad.
The diplomats are a force for good in the world.
For a very small investment the State Department and USAID yield a large return by advancing U.S. national security, promoting our economic interests, and reaffirming our country’s exceptional role in the world.
In the video below, USAID Deputy Administrator Donald Steinberg talks to CFR’s Isobel Coleman about the challenges the organization faces.