State Dept.: Budget request cost-efficient

Feb. 13, 2012 at 2:45 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- President Obama's State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development budget is a cost-efficient response to the department's needs, officials said.

"The request provides the most cost-efficient way to ensure diplomats and development experts have the resources necessary to address complex threats to our national security and promote our economic renewal," the State Department said Monday in a release.

The $51.6 billion request for fiscal year 2013 includes $43.4 billion for the core budget that funds the long-term national security mission of the State Department and USAID, and provides $8.2 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations to support the extraordinary and temporary costs of civilian-led programs and missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It supports Obama's new commitment to treat 6 million people with HIV-AIDS by the end of 2013.

His blueprint also proposes a new Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund to "better position the United States to quickly respond to dramatic changes in the region and incentivize reforms," the State Department release said.

The budget proposal also recommends an 18 percent reduction for Europe and Eurasia, limits the department's planned expansion of the Foreign Services and delays by a year various overseas construction project, among other things, the department said.

The budget proposal includes $4.8 billion for Iraq, $4.6 billion for Afghanistan and $2.4 billion for Pakistan.

State Department officials said the budget proposal reflects more than $100 million in savings through administrative reforms.

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