Just as we have faced other global threats with defense, diplomacy and development, so, too, must we use these tools to prevent violent extremism. Understanding the underlying “drivers” and identifying effective responses to address the root causes of the spread of violent extremism is critical. USAID is in a unique position as the United States Government’s lead development agency to address these underlying drivers. It is not an “either” “or” question of which tool to use, but rather a matter of effectively utilizing all of the elements of what we know to work. With that said, USAID’s efforts are essential but not sufficient. We must engage in a comprehensive approach in order to defeat this growing threat.
For less than one percent of the federal budget, the President’s request keeps us on this path. The request will provide the resources we need to deliver against our most urgent priorities and to advance our mission of ending extreme poverty and promoting resilient, democratic societies around the world while remaining consistent with the levels set in the 2015 Bipartisan Budget Act. Overall, the FY 2017 budget request for the State Department and USAID is $50.1 billion, $35.2 billion of which is Enduring, and $14.9 billion of which is Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding.
As a core pillar of American leadership and power, global development works together with defense and diplomacy to advance our interests and values abroad, and to protect the American people at home. With less than one percent of the federal budget, USAID supports critical development activities and the courageous development professionals who carry them out in challenging, often dangerous, conditions every day. In total, the President’s funding request for accounts from which USAID administers assistance is $22.7 billion. $11.0 billion of this total is in core USAID-managed accounts: 1) Development Assistance; 2) Global Health Programs-USAID; 3) International Disaster Assistance; 4) Food for Peace Title II; 5) Transition Initiatives; 6) Complex Crises Fund and 7) USAID Administrative Expense accounts.
Social development and economic growth in Central America have been stymied by a dramatic rise in crime and violence — particularly in the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. While the homicide rate has declined in Honduras, it is still unacceptably high. In El Salvador, the statistics from 2015 are truly alarming — over 100 murders per 100,000 people. This surpasses the murder rate at the peak of El Salvador’s civil war in the 1980s.
The recent wave of insecurity is rooted in increased gang violence and international crime, as well as deep-seated issues of social and economic inequity, and lack of economic opportunity for vast segments of society. Economic productivity in Central America has grown slowly over the last decade, and underemployment hovers between 30 and 40 percent in the Northern Triangle.
On Monday, the President announced his intent to submit a Fiscal Year 2016 supplemental request to aggressively respond to the Zika virus outbreak. USAID is included in this request so that we can help countries affected by the Zika virus respond and protect their citizens. In my testimony today, I will describe what USAID is prepared to do with existing and supplemental resources to respond as part of an interagency effort, discuss Zika within the context of the challenges of infectious diseases and the, and share what we and other partners are doing to help countries around the world prevent, detect and respond to infectious diseases.
The U.S. Government employs a whole-of-government approach to address the complex problem of Wildlife Trafficking. We work closely with other government agencies, including the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, to ensure that programs are coordinated and streamlined. These efforts avoid programmatic overlap and enhance effectiveness by incorporating our respective technical and operational strengths.
Our work in Afghanistan reflects USAID’s mission: We partner to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies while advancing our security and prosperity. USAID’s civilian assistance programs in Afghanistan are a critical component of our core U.S. national security objective of a stable Afghanistan that al-Qaeda and other terrorists cannot use as a base to threaten the United States, our interests, or U.S. persons overseas. We remain committed to an assistance program in Afghanistan that is effective, accountable, and sustainable. We also remain committed to ensuring accountability for U.S. taxpayer dollars and program results.
Two years of conflict in South Sudan has created a devastating humanitarian crisis. The peace agreement signed in August provides the best chance for a return to peace and development. Its implementation is urgently needed. The people of South Sudan are suffering and the humanitarian situation is only getting worse. Response teams cannot reach people who need aid the most, especially in the Greater Upper Nile Region, due to local clashes and authorities denying access.
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Member Deutch, and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for inviting me to testify today on the humanitarian crisis that has gripped Syria, its neighbors, and the global community. I want to thank you for your unwavering support for USAID and the State Department’s response to the Syria crisis, and for shining a spotlight on the situation, which grows more complex every day
Last updated: January 22, 2017