International Development in the American Grain: From Point Four to the Present
This chapter recounts the changing institutional and political context of US foreign assistance. This evolution is unique, not only in its dominance over the past 70 years but also in its major role in the global development assistance effort. The search for a stable US foreign assistance institutional structure has largely been accomplished, but the broader institutional arrangements have placed development assistance into a chronically precarious position. We must also acknowledge that even with a stable organizational structure, no matter what the organizational chart looks like, the funding for USAID and smaller assistance agencies is far too small to make major inroads in economic assistance. In FY 2014, total US foreign assistance was roughly $34 billion, of which $8.5 billion was for international security assistance and $3 billion for multilateral institutions. USAID’s economic assistance was only $19.3 billion, as other US government agencies absorbed $1.3 billion of the rest of the foreign assistance budget (US Department of State 2014, 62). The FY 2015 request is to cut the USAID foreign assistance budget to less than $18 billion. To put this into perspective, the newest US aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald Ford, cost $14 billion.
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