F-35 Lightning II instructor pilots conduct aerial refueling

Last Updated on January 11, 2021.


Donald Trump proposed a massive increase in Pentagon spending​ — by $54 billion– at the expense of the State Department, USAID, the United Nations, and a host of domestic agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency.

Now Congress is doubling down on Trump’s Starvation and Insecurity Budget, spending $1.6 billion for Trump’s border wall and giving $35 billion more than Trump requested to Pentagon and its private contractors, while slashing diplomacy, development and climate funding​.

These proposals will cut vital investments in diplomacy and global engagement​ that are far better at increasing international security by resolving and preventing conflicts. Even worse, this budget ignores the security threats of the future — global pandemics, climate change, radicalization and others — to invest in weapons for the wars of the past.

Today’s security threats simply cannot be bombed out of existence​, yet the Trump Administration and its allies are dead-set on pursuing a purely militaristic security policy.

The undeniable truth is that the current budget mortgages American security​ by throwing money at the Pentagon and their contractors and paying for this unjustified spending increase by slashing vital investments in people that provide far better security to our citizens and jobs for our economy.


  • Congress and Trump are proposing to slash the International Affairs Budget and the EPA. How can we protect our water, health, families and food security without funding for environmental protection, development and diplomacy? What will you do to ensure the EPA and International Affairs budgets are fully funded?
  • How can you condone funneling more money into the Pentagon while cutting life-saving programs for humanitarian assistance and diplomacy?
  • Do you agree with our generals and admirals that we shouldn’t be cutting our development and diplomacy budgets, and if so, what will you do to prevent these cuts?
  • Why are we throwing more money at the Pentagon — and slashing development and diplomacy funding — when the Pentagon hasn’t figured out how to rein in billions of dollars worth of waste, fraud and abuse?

Retired generals and admirals warned that the Pentagon spending spree at the expense of our diplomacy budget undermines national security.

  • “We know from our service in uniform that many of the crises our nation faces do not have military solutions alone … The State Department, USAID, Millennium Challenge Corporation, Peace Corps and other development agencies are critical to preventing conflict and reducing the need to put our men and women in uniform in harm’s way. As Secretary James Mattis said while Commander of U.S. Central Command, “If you don’t fully fund the State Department, then I need to buy more ammunition.” [Source]

There is no need to increase Pentagon spending — ​which is already historically high with tens of billion in waste, sustains the world’s most powerful military, ​and gets huge boosts from an off the books slush fund.

  • Experts say the supposed crisis of readiness of the Armed Forces for combat is being overblown for playing politics for more Pentagon spending. [SourceSource]
  • Current Pentagon spending is already at historically high levels — $100 billion more than we spent on average during the Cold War. [Source]
  • The Pentagon already uses a “slush-fund” to receive off-the-books appropriations. [Source]
  • The Pentagon should settle its waste, fraud, and abuse issues before it gets any more money. [Source]

Diplomacy and development are cost-effective methods of promoting national security, and resolve and prevent conflicts in ways the military cannot.

  • Investing in conflict prevention is a cost-effective method of promoting US national security, since prevention is on average 60 times less costly than response. [Source]
  • For every dollar invested in peacebuilding now, the cost of conflict would be reduced by $16 over the long run. Projected forward ten years from 2016 this would save US $2.94 trillion in direct and indirect losses from conflict. [Source]
  • State Department and USAID programs have proven that “soft power” responses addressing root causes are key for building stability. These agencies have unique capabilities to address root causes of terrorism that the Pentagon does not and never will have. [Source]
  • Experts say “ending food insecurity will require stronger diplomatic pressure on the parties involved in conflict to allow aid to flow safely and freely and work to solve underlying problems.” [Source]

Increasing Pentagon spending is a boon for defense industry executives but a raw deal for workers, whereas investment in domestic programs creates more job and growth​. [Source]

  • Military spending can promote employment, but research has found that it is a far less powerful job engine than spending on domestic programs. [Source]
  • Experts says that the ‘military-industrial-congressional’ complex, not the white working class, will be the real winner of the 2016 presidential election. [Source]

More than 100 organizations urged Congress to fully fund the United Nations. ​[Source]

Americans want the U.S. to play a major role in world affairs and want U.S. involvement in the UN. ​[SourceSource]

  • Over 80 percent of Americans believe that the US should work with organizations like the UN to bring about world cooperation. [Source]
  • Millennials, the future leaders of our country, see humanitarian aid as a defining issue of their generation and of the United States. [Source]

U.S. funding saves millions of lives from disease, conflict, and food insecurity. ​[SourceSourceSourceSourceSource]

  • “While the U.N. is imperfect, and many reforms are needed, the U.N. remains an indispensable instrument for advancing the global stability and prosperity on which U.S. interests and priorities depend.” [Source]
  • Eliminating U.S. funds to the United Nations Population Fund threatens the health and rights of millions of girls and women around the world, particularly those in crisis situations. [Source]
  • Humanitarian aid is lifesaving assistance, so cuts like these will kill people. [Source]
  • At least one million people will die in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere, researchers and advocates said on Tuesday, if funding cuts proposed by the Trump administration to global public health programs are enacted. [Source]
April 7, 2017