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Given the many agencies, funding methods, and categories of aid

Added on - 13 Sep 2019

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Given the many agencies, funding methods, and categories of aid associated withU.S. foreign assistance efforts, estimates can differ. According to the nonpartisanCongressional Research Service (CRS), which uses thebroadest definition of aid, includingmilitary and security assistance, total spending was nearly $49 billion in 2015. Thisaccounts for roughly 1.3 percent of the federal budget. Aid funding levels are at theirhighest since the period immediately following World War II, when the United Statesinvested heavily in rebuilding European economies. In the 1990s, in the wake of thecollapse of the Soviet Union, aid levels were cut to barely half of what they are today,falling to less than $20 billion in 1997, or 0.8 percent of the overall budget. Aid rose againin the wake of the 9/11 attacks, surpassing 1.4 percent of the budget by 2007, which analystssay was driven largely by assistance to Iraq and Afghanistan as well as President George W.Bush’s global health programs.As former State Department official and aid expert Carol Lancaster pointed out inher book,Foreign Aid: Diplomacy, Development, Domestic Politics, modern U.S. aidoriginated in Cold War geopolitics: the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe was designed toblunt the influence of rising Communist political forces on the continent. National securityconcerns have continued to drive U.S. assistance policy, aiming to provide stability inconflicted regions, bolster allies, promote democracy, or contribute to counterterrorism andlaw enforcement efforts abroad.Other objectives, related to but separate from U.S. nationalsecurity, also drive assistance. These include most notably humanitarian relief efforts torespond directly to acute disasters, poverty reduction, health care, and other developmentprograms.
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