Tomorrow may be Valentine's Day, but for those of us who care about international affairs funding (or federal funding of any kind, for that matter), today was a day which has long been almost as breathlessly anticipated: the release of the President's annual budget request for the upcoming Fiscal Year 2013. (I know, not as delightful as Valentine's Day, but still important.)
President Obama stressed that his overall budget aims to balance many different priorities, such as spurring job growth while reigning in the deficit. But stepping away from that bigger picture, what does the President's budget request mean for funding for international affairs in the next year?
President Obama has requested $51.6 billion for the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Within that, budget priorities include funding for the "frontline states" (Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq); human and economic security; support for embassies and the U.S. global presence; and support for U.S. allies and contributions to multilateral organizations.
When it comes to U.S. support for the United Nations, the funding outlook is actually pretty good. The President has requested $1.57 billion for the Contributions to International Organizations (or CIO) account, which pays U.S. dues to the United Nations and many other international organizations in which we participate, including NATO and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This is an increase of $19 million over last year's funding level. The President also asks for approximately $2.1 billion for the Contributions for International Peacekeeping Activities (CIPA) budget account, which funds peacekeeping missions in countries around the globe including Darfur, Haiti, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The request for CIPA is $270 million higher than last year's total.