WAC board member and veteran signs letter in defense of diplomacy

This week more than 1,200 veterans signed an open letter opposing cuts to diplomacy and foreign aid in the federal budget. Among the veteran signatories is World Affairs Council board member Brian Easley, who in the past has also served as our Visitor Programs Manager. The letter outlines the essential nature of diplomacy in preserving national security and America’s position as a global leader.

The full text of the letter is below, and the full list of signatories can be found here.


The Honorable Paul Ryan
Speaker of the House
U.S. House of Representatives

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Minority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Majority Leader
U.S. Senate

The Honorable Chuck Schumer
Minority Leader
U.S. Senate

Dear Speaker Ryan, Minority Leader Pelosi, Majority Leader McConnell, and Minority Leader Schumer,

We write as veterans of all branches of America’s Armed Forces to share how our service in uniform has convinced us that diplomacy and development are critical tools alongside the military to keep America safe. We believe that with today’s escalating global crises, America must strengthen, not weaken, our leadership around the world.

As members of the military, many of us served on the frontlines alongside America’s diplomats and development professionals. We saw firsthand how our civilian forces must continue to be part and parcel of a comprehensive national security strategy. With the recent military progress against ISIS, we know that strategic investments in the State Department and USAID will be essential if we are to solidify our hard-fought gains and prevent other bad actors from filling the void.

As Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis testified, “America has two fundamental powers, the power of intimidation…America’s awesome determination to defend herself, and the power of inspiration which is heavily conveyed overseas by our Department of State.” Yet America’s critical civilian international affairs programs saw proposals that would have drawn down our presence around the world. As you and your colleagues look ahead to the federal budget for Fiscal Year 2019, we hope you will support strong resources for America’s global leadership.

Thank you for your commitment to America’s safety, security, and prosperity. We ask you to stay vigilant and ensure that our country makes the commitments necessary to prevent conflict so that we only send our brothers and sisters in uniform into harm’s way as a last resort.

Thank you for your consideration.

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