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U.S. State Department 2013 Budget Proposal

An Overview


Updated February 18, 2012

On February 13, 2012, United States President Barack Obama revealed his proposed federal budget for Fiscal Year 2013. The U.S. State Department's portion of the budget is $51.6 billion, or one percent of the total budget proposal. Fiscal Year 2013 runs from October 2012 through September 2013.

The budget request is 1.6%, or $800 million, more than the amount Congress approved for Fiscal Year 2012. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the request as a "modest increase that is less than the rate of inflation."

Budget Methodology

The State Department bases its funding requests on its overriding "mission statement." That statement reads: "Shape and sustain a peaceful, prosperous, just, and democratic world and foster conditions for stability and progress for the benefit of the American people and people everywhere."

According to Thomas Nides, deputy secretary for Management and Resources at the State Department, four budgeting categories flow from that mission statement. They are:

  • "Frontline" states -- Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
  • Prevention of conflict and support for allies.
  • Human and economic security
  • State department personnel and embassy support.

The budget requests reflect streamlining reforms done under the Quadrennial Diplomacy Development Review (QDDR). "From day one," Nides said, "Secretary Clinton has made it a priority to work smarter and more effectively. . . . We have streamlined our efforts, we've not shied way from . . . painful but responsible cuts."

Budget Breakdown

Frontline states are to receive 23% of the budget, or $11.9 million. With U.S. troops out of Iraq and nearing the end of their mission in Afghanistan, and with Pakistan remaining a vital link to post-U.S. Afghan security, the State Department is taking over much of the budgetary purview of those areas from the Department of Defense.

Much of the "frontline states" money comes from the State Department's Civilian Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) category. Nides said that fund is for the "temporary extraordinary" costs of transitioning war zones from military to civilian control.

The department has allocated $4.8 billion for Iraq; $4.6 billion for Afghanistan; and $2.4 billion for Pakistan.

"Civilians are vital to our efforts [in Afghanistan] and they are securing our gains against the Taliban," said Nides. He said Afghan civilians are "laying the groundwork" for the economic and political stability that the U.S. hopes will prevent Taliban resurgence.

Conflict prevention and ally support receive 28% percent, or $14.7 billion of the State Department budget request. That request includes $770 million for what Nides called a "Middle East and North Africa incentive fund" to support reforms in the region resulting from the Arab Spring of 2011. The total also includes $3.1 billion for the support of Israel. The remainder includes military and police support for countries around the world.

Human and economic security programs will get another 28%, or $14.7 billion, under the State Department's request. That money is intended for initiatives in global health, food security, poverty reduction and female empowerment. The category also includes money to treat more than 6 million people with HIV/AIDS before the end of 2013. Money in the Human and Economic Security column also helps in refugee care.

Personnel, missions, and embassies in the State Department and USAID receive the final 21% -- $10.4 billion - of the total request. The column includes funding for 274 embassies, consulates, and missions, and officers in development, economic, consular, and business arenas.

In unveiling the State Department's budget request, Clinton acknowledged that economic constraints have necessarily kept the budget relatively small. She said, however, that she thinks State Department personnel deliver an "outsized" return on the investment.

"The preservation of American leadership funded by our civilian budget provides a critical foundation for global stability," Clinton said. "It allows us to lead by example, by persuasion, by convening and, when necessary, by coercion. And it positions us to advance America's enduring values, economic prosperity, and national security around the world."

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