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Benghazi attack leads to increases in State Department security budget

April 10, 2013 at 5:17 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, April 10 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department's 2014 budget request of $47.8 billion reflects a 6 percent decrease from the 2012 level, the White House said.

Reflecting the turbulence in the Middle East and North Africa, the budget, unveiled by President Obama Wednesday, provides $580 billion to assist countries in transition and create incentives for long-term economic, political and trade reforms.

It also includes more than $4 billion to secure overseas personnel and facilities, based on recommendations by the Benghazi Accountability Review Board. The amount includes sufficient funding for the State Department to increase embassy security construction to $2.2 billion.

Obama's State Department budget also has $6.8 billion for the "frontline states," including $2.1 billion for Iran, $3.4 billion for Afghanistan and $1.4 billion for Pakistan. The budget prioritizes core diplomatic and development activities to encourage lasting partnership with the countries, as well as promote stability.

The White House said the budget was lower than the 2012 enacted level because of lower Overseas Contingency Operations activity.

The budget provides $2.9 billion to the Treasury Department for U.S. commitments to the multilateral development banks and for international environmental, food security and technical assistance activities.

The budget also advances Obama's Global Health Initiative by supporting HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment and maintains the U.S. contribution to the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria at $1.65 billion.

The State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development and other international programs "advance the national security interests of the United States by helping to build and sustain a more democratic, secure, and prosperous world," the budget document said. "Investing in civilian diplomacy and development fosters stability around the world, supports the goals of the President's Policy Directive on Global Development, reduces poverty and promotes universal values, which in turn helps to protect our national security."

The State Department budget also proposes major reforms to make food aid more impactful and cost effective and would create a new $75 million emergency Food Assistance Contingency Fund.

It also would provide $909 million for strategic investments to support low-emission, climate-resilient development, as well as promote private-sector investment in clean-energy and low-carbon infrastructure and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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