What do the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) do for the American people? With just over one percent of the entire federal budget, we have a huge impact on how Americans live and how the rest of the world engages America.
1. We create American jobs. We 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.
2. We support American citizens abroad. Last year, we provided emergency assistance to U.S. citizens in six countries experiencing natural disasters or civil unrest. We assisted in 11,000 international adoptions and worked on over 1,100 child abduction cases—resulting in the return of 485 American children.
3. We promote democracy and foster stability around the world. Stable democracies are less likely to pose a threat to their neighbors or to the United States. In South Sudan, Libya, and many other countries we worked through various means to foster democracy and peace.
4. We help to make the world a safer place. Our nonproliferation programs have destroyed stockpiles of missiles, munitions, and material that can be used to make a nuclear weapon. The New START Treaty reduced the number of deployed nuclear weapons to levels not seen since the 1950s. In 2010, the State Department helped more than 40 countries clear millions of square meters of landmines.
5. We save lives. Strong bipartisan support for U.S. global health investments has led to worldwide progress against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, smallpox, and polio. Better health abroad reduces the risk of instability and enhances our national security.
6. We help countries feed themselves. We help other countries plant the right seeds in the right way and get crops to markets to feed more people. Strong agricultural sectors lead to more stable countries.
7. We help in times of crisis. From earthquakes in Haiti, Japan, and Chile to famine in the Horn of Africa, our experienced and dedicated emergency professionals deliver assistance to those who need it most.
8. We promote the rule of law and protect 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.
9. We help Americans see the world. In 2010, we issued 14 million passports for Americans to travel abroad. We facilitate the lawful travel of international students, tourists and business people to the U.S., adding greatly to our economy. We keep Americans apprised of dangers or difficulties abroad through our travel warnings.
10. We are the face of America overseas. Our diplomats, development experts, and the programs they implement are the source of American leadership around the world. They are the embodiments of our American values abroad. They 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.