Quotes in Support of the Foreign Service

If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition, ultimately, I think it’s a cost-benefit ratio. The more that we put into the State Department’s diplomacy, hopefully, the less we have to put into a military budget as we deal with the outcome of an apparent American withdrawal from the international scene.

—General James Mattis (now Secretary of Defense)
Before the Senate Armed Services Committee
March 5, 2013

If you want to be peaceful here, if you want to preserve our way of life, you better be involved over there. The only thing I can tell you after 15 years of being at war, we are never going to win this war all of us staying over here. And the best and brightest among us are not just our soldiers, it’s the people in the State Department and the NGOs who go and represent American values without carrying a gun.

I am a pretty hawkish guy but I’ve had the pleasure of seeing our State Department in action, our NGO community in action, and I believe we would be wise to invest in them just as we would be wise to invest in our military.

—Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)
Passing the Baton, USIP
January 10, 2017

It’s dead on arrival, it’s not going to happen, it would be a disaster. This budget destroys soft power, it puts our diplomats at risk and it’s going nowhere.

—Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)
Writing on the Proposed Budget Cuts in The Washington Post
February 28, 2017

We also have to recognize that national security goes beyond Army brigades, Marine regiments, and the number of aircraft carriers at sea. The State Department, Justice Department, Homeland Security, CDC, Treasury and other federal agencies all play indispensable roles in safeguarding our nation, and if the increase in defense spending comes at the cost of domestic priorities, it could make our country less secure in the long run.

—Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.)
Personal Statement
February 28, 2017

Diplomacy is important, extremely important, and I don't think these reductions at the State Department are appropriate because many times diplomacy is a lot more effective — and certainly cheaper — than military engagement.

—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
Statement to Fellow Republicans
March 21, 2017

As Secretary of State you will be taking over as the leader of one of the most skilled, loyal, and motivated workforces of any organization on the planet. Our foreign affairs and development professionals are truly among the most dedicated of our public servants, on the front lines safeguarding our nation's security. As Members of the Foreign Relations Committee, we have benefited greatly from their insight and counsel over the years.

—Minority Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Committee Letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
February 16, 2017

Foreign aid is not charity. We must make sure it is well spent, but it is less than 1% of budget & critical to our national security.

—Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)
@marcorubio
February 28, 2017

We are uneasy about the potential impact of [this executive order] on our military and our diplomatic personnel abroad, as well as those who put their lives on the line to work with us.

—Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.)
Joint Statement Regarding Executive Order 13769
January 29, 2017

I very much believe we have to have a wide range of tools to advance our national interests, and that includes tools of the State Department, the intelligence community and the Department of Defense, and others… Can we spend more foreign aid, more effectively? Absolutely. But we can’t look to the military to do everything that needs to be done.

—Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee
Statement to the Press
March 1, 2017

At a time when American leadership is needed more than ever, we must continue to invest in the International affairs budget.

—Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), House Foreign Affairs Committee Member
Statement Regarding the Proposed Budget for the 2018 Fiscal Year
March 15, 2017

If we slash funding for diplomacy and development, we’re telling our service members and the American people, we’ll take our chances down the road – even if that may mean a much steeper cost in terms of American blood and American treasure.

—Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member
Statement Regarding the Proposed Budget for the 2018 Fiscal Year
March 15, 2017

Slashing foreign assistance would be foolhardy, weakening our leadership and emboldening our adversaries.

—Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.)
@SenatorLeahy
February 28, 2017

I am very concerned that deep cuts to our diplomacy will hurt efforts to combat terrorism, distribute critical humanitarian aid, and promote opportunities for American workers.

—Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman
Press Release on Administration’s 2018 Budget Blueprint
March 16, 2017

We strongly believe that it would be a mistake to increase defense spending at the expense of other critical investments in national security – especially those in diploma cy, development, democracy, and peacebuilding.

—Madeleine Albright, Former Secretary of State, and Stephen Hadley, Former National Security Advisor
Joint Written Testimony Submitted Ahead of Appearance Before the House Armed Services Committee
March 21, 2017

We are fighting a generational war on terror. The Department of State is key to preventing that next war.

—Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.)

Our diplomatic corps is the finest in the world. The expertise, high standards and impressive performance of our diplomats overseas and in Washington have been a source of strength for the U.S. in the seven decades of the post-World War Two era. All of it will be at risk—our ability to recruit and retain the best young men and women in America to join a proud and accomplished career service—if we do not give them the respect and resources they deserve.

—Ambassador (ret.) R. Nicholas Burns
Testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs
March 28, 2017

You need to have a strong military and be prepared to use it on occasion as a last resort. But you certainly have to have strong diplomacy. Almost all of these problems that we’re dealing with, I think all of them, ultimately have a political solution. You do not get that kind of a solution through military action. You get it through diplomacy, negotiations, consultations, endless meetings, and conversations of all kinds with your friends and your enemies. We need a strong diplomatic effort in order to advance our interests in the world. The world needs our leadership in all kinds of ways. And we have to step up to that responsibility. And, if we do not do it, then others will fill the vacuum.

—Lee Hamilton, Former Congressman
Interview with PBS Newshour
March 30, 2017

There is nothing soft about the work that our diplomats do to protect and advance U.S. security, whether they’re countering Russian-fed corruption in the Balkans, working to stem the flow of undocumented migrants from Central America, or spreading—or fighting the spread of intolerant Islam in the Middle East, our diplomats are hardened defenders of U.S. security all over the globe.

—Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.)
Interview with the Council on Foreign Relations
April 10, 2017

This is exactly the wrong time to significantly cut our investment in diplomacy.

—Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.)
Interview with CNN’s “New Day”
April 10, 2017

We have got to understand that what we do in the world is not only good for the world; it’s good for us. It’s not a form of philanthropy; it’s a form of national security.

—Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations
Interview with PBS Newshour
April 17, 2017

Our military missions depend on the prior success, or failure, of our diplomatic missions. The work done at U.S. embassies and agencies around the globe is of course integral to American interests. Diplomacy and development can mitigate… even eliminate threats that might otherwise cost the American people dearly.

—Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah)
Heritage Foundation Event
April 25, 2017

[Cuts to diplomacy and foreign aid] would make our job harder. [The State Department is] indescribably critical [to U.S. Special Operations Command’s mission to advise and assist local forces to build their own capacity.] We are in 80 different countries, and we look to have the most enhanced relationship possible with every one of those countries through our country team. If that’s not the baseline for our United States government approach, then we are flawed from the start.

—Gen. Raymond Thomas, U.S. Special Operations Commander
Testimony to Congress
May 4, 2017

After a military defeat of an enemy, you have to have some form of recovery and humanitarian plan, or all of the ethnic tensions that led to civil war and the rise of ISIS and al-Qaida in the first place are going to come back, just as they did in Iraq. The problem we have is we’re cutting aid, and what’s more important is we have no plan as to how we deal with stability and humanitarian issues. Instead of dealing with a strategic requirement, you’re making cuts that will take already weak aid programs and cripple them.

—Anthony Cordesman, Center for Strategic and International Studies

[AFRICOM's partnership with the State Department and USAID is] key to achieve enduring success. Together, we work to address the root causes of violent extremism, lack of accountable government systems, poor education opportunities, and social and economic deficiencies to achieve long-term, sustainable impact in Africa.

—Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, U.S. Africa Command
Before the Senate Armed Services Committee
March 9, 2017

Click to watch Rep. Tim Walz's (D-Minn.) strong statement of support for the Foreign Service.

The work that our diplomats do in the field to advance American interests under difficult circumstances are undervalued. I salute members of the State Department because they put their lives on the line.

—Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.)

We are in awe of the people in the Foreign Service that work so hard.

—Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member
House Foreign Affairs Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats Subcommittee Hearing on Threats to Peace and Stability in the Balkans
May 18, 2017

As the son of a Foreign Service officer, I know firsthand the immense impact our diplomats have on furthering U.S. interests and values abroad.They serve as beacons of hope around the world, and play a vital role in keeping Americans safe from the many threats we face. The work of the Foreign Service is also critical in promoting our country’s core values – of democracy, human rights, liberty, opportunity, and equality. I’m pleased to work in a bipartisan way to support the patriotic Americans who serve our nation in the Foreign Service.

—Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.)
Announcement of a New Foreign Service Senate Caucus
May 19, 2017

When I first came to the Senate, I saw working groups and caucuses representing every branch of our Armed Services – but no such organized support for the men and women who serve our country abroad in the Foreign Service. They are posted to more than 270 embassies, consulates and other missions around the globe in often difficult and dangerous environments, and their contributions to the advancement of democracy, the rule of law and American security should be bolstered here in the Senate. I look forward to working on ways we can support this outstanding group of Americans abroad.

—Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska)
Announcement of a New Foreign Service Senate Caucus
May 19, 2017