Campaign Promises

Cabinet/Departments -> State -> Foreign Aid

Foreign AidGrade
The Promise: "Double U.S. spending on foreign aid to $50 Billion a year by 2012"
When/Where: Obama's Plan: "The War We Need To Win" dated 07/31/07.
Status:For FY2009, the last Bush Presidency budget cycle, foreign assistance amounted to about $23B, not counting supplementals such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The State Department enacted budget for FY2010 was $48.6B against a request for $52.0B. Eliminating $16.1B for State operations, this left $32.5B for foreign assistance.

For FY2012, the State Department was appropriated $44.6B. Eliminating $13.8B for State and related agency operations, this left $30.8B for foreign assistance.

This promise was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "Barack Obama will double the Peace Corps to 16,000 by its 50th anniversary in 2011..."
When/Where: Obama Plan "Renewing U.S. Leadership in the Americas", dated 06/06/08.
Status:In FY2009, total Peace Corps strength was 7,671 serving in 65 countries.

In FY2010, the Peace Corps' strength was 8,655 serving in 70 countries, adding assistance to Colombia, Haiti, Indonesia, Madagascar and Sierra Leone.

In FY2011, the Peace Corps had 9,095 personnel serving in 68 countries, eliminating assistance to Haiti and Niger.

The promise was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "Use part of increased U.S. assistance to establish a $2 billion Global Education Fund to offer an alternative to extremist schools."
When/Where: Obama's Plan: "The War We Need To Win" dated 07/31/07.
Status:A Global Education Fund (GEF) has existed since CY1998. It originally focused on providing books and literacy tools to orphanages and learning centers in Latin America by CY2007 had expanded to 22 countries. Since 2007, GEF has focused on removing obstacles to education in three high-need countries: Kenya, India and Guatemala.

The purpose of President Obama's GEF would have been to finance schools that would counter the message of radical Islamist madrasas (schools for teaching Islamic theology and religious law) in Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere. The State Department budget for FY2010 included $1B for this effort, $19M above the President's request and $300M above FY2009, to increase access to quality education and provide alternatives to madrasas.

In Pakistan alone in by end-CY2016, an estimated 1.9M Pakistani children attended madrasas, which have also proliferated in India, Afghanistan and other Middle East countries.

The logical entity to manage a GEF would have been the State Department's Office of Global Educational Programs. This didn't happen and a formal "Global Education Fund" was not established at the $2B level.

This promise was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "...more than five million Iraqis are refugees or are displaced inside their own country. Obama and Biden will form an international working group to address this crisis. They will provide at least $2 billion to expand services to Iraqi refugees in neighboring countries, and ensure that Iraqis inside their own country can find sanctuary."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Preventing Humanitarian Crisis", undated.
Status:The Department of State budget for FY2010 included $1.68B for Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA), which was $197M above the President's request and $6.8M above the FY09 level. For FY2011, State's budget for MRA was $1.647B, an amount reduced to $1.600B in FY2012. The Emergency MRA (EMRA)account was funded at $27.2M in FY2012, down from $49.9M in FY2011.

On top of the above, International Organizations & Conferences (CIO) were funded at the $1.69B level, which was $100 million below the President's FY2010 request but $92.6M above the FY2009 enacted level. For FY2011, CIO funding was enacted at the reduced level of $1.311B but increased to $1.440B in FY2012.

The CIO account funds dues owed to 47 international organizations, including the United Nations, for which the U.S. is treaty-obligated. There is no evidence that a specific obligation of $2B was made by the Obama Administration to help resolve the unique Iraqi refugee issue, one which could perhaps best be addressed through the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR).

One must keep in mind that MRA, EMRA and CIO funds are appropriated to address global issues, not solely Iraqi issues.

By end-CY2016, following prior year funding trends, the State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration was funded at the $2.8B level. Of this amount, $1.35B was earmarked for Near East countries, Iraq being just one of approximately 20 countries that constitute the Near East.

This promise, especially with regard to the formation of an "international working group," and the dedication of $2B annually for Iraqi refugees was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "He has pledged to provide at least $50 billion by 2013 for the global fight against HIV/AIDS, including our fair share of the Global Fund, in order to at least double the number of HIV-positive people on treatment and continue to provide treatments to one-third of all those who desperately need them."
When/Where: Obama's Plan: "Fighting HIV/AIDS Worldwide" dated 11/30/07.
Status:The Global Fund is a partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector, and affected communities to prevent and treat not only HIV/AIDS, but also malaria and tuberculosis.

On 10/05/10, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby announced that the USA pledged $4B to the Global Fund -- for the multiyear period of FY2011-FY2013. Against this pledge, the Obama Administration committed $1.05B in FY2011, $1.3B in FY2012, and $1.56B in FY2013. The goal of $4B for the Global Fund by FY2013 was not met.

The FY10 appropriation for the Department of State to combat worldwide HIV/AIDS was enacted at $5.5B (including $350M for USAID HIV/AIDS programs).

For FY2011 and FY2012, the President's request and resultant appropriations for USAID HIV/AIDS programs was flat and unchanged at $350M. The President requested that this line item be reduced to $330M for FY2013.

The total FY2011 Global/International request for HIV/AIDS under the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS (PEPFAR) was $6.7B. The enacted amount was $5.5B.

For FY2012, PEPFAR funding was enacted at the $4.6B level and President Obama's request for FY2013 proposes to increase this amount to $7.6B, an amount that was reduced to $3.86B in light of sequestration related budget constraints.

During President Obama's first term in office, the promise of fully funding the Global Fund pledge ($4B) and meeting the $50B goal for HIV/AIDS mitigation was not met, given that the cumulative funding for the FY2010-FY2013 timeframe came in at less than $20B to combat HIV/AIDS.

This promise was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "The Civilian Assistance Corps [CAC]...would provide each federal agency a pool of volunteer experts willing to deploy in crises. They would be pre-trained and screened for deployment to supplement departments' expeditionary teams...would ensure that true experts carry out tasks such as restoring electricity or creating banking systems, rather than the current practice of expecting already over-burdened soldiers to assume these roles...will set a goal of creating a national CAC of 25,000 personnel."
When/Where: Obama Campaign Document "A 21st Century Military for America" dated 11/26/07.
Status:Based on a Congressional Research Service report entitled "Peacekeeping/Stabilization and Conflict Transitions: Background and Congressional Action on the Civilian Response/Reserve Corps and Other Civilian Stabilization and Reconstruction Capabilities" dated 01/12/12, Congress approved $50M for the creation of a Civilian Response Corps (CRC) under the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2008.

The Obama Administration further refined the organization of the CRC into three components as follows:
- Active Component (CRC-A) of 250 personnel
- Standby Component (CRC-S) of 2,000 personnel
- Reserve Component (CRC-R) of 2,000 personnel.

The CRC-R most closely resembled the Civilian Assistance Corps (CAC) then-Candidate Obama promised to establish. The intent of the CRC-R, to be manned by 2,000 volunteers from the public and private sectors, was to deploy experts within 60 days to areas of conflict or disaster.

Following receipt of an initial authorization of $50M from Congress for a CRC in FY2008, State requested CRC funding in the amount of $323M for FY2010 under the Civilian Stabilization Initiative (CSI). Congress turned down this request because neither the CRC-A nor CRC-S programs were considered to have been effectively established. President Obama did not seek funding for CRC-R in either FY2011 or FY2012.

As of end-CY2016, the envisioned 25,000-strong Civilian Assistance Corps (CAC), now referred to as CRC-R, had not been realized.

This promise was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "...will...develop the capacity of our civilian aid workers to work alongside the military."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan for America: "Blueprint for Change" dated 10/09/08.
Status:In theory, USAID's Office of Military Affairs Planning Division has a well-articulated mission to coordinate USAID civilian-military relationships with the Pentagon, the State Department and other organizations. USAID's participation in the development of the next iteration of the "Guidance for the Employment of the Force," (a strategic planning document used by Combatant Commanders (COCOMs)), its participation in COCOM regional/theater campaign planning, and its participation in DoD's Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) are all, on the surface, indicative that there exists good collaboration between USAID and the military.

In its first Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) of CY2010, the State Department acknowledged the need for closer civilian/military working relationships as one of the pillars of an effective national security strategy. Several of State's strategic goals directly supported, on paper, this objective. The QDDR of CY2015 did not mention any civilian/military working relationship.

As of end-CY2016, the DoD remained as the country's most significant instrument in dealing with the world's most pressing needs. At the same time, the civilian-led foreign aid system during the Obama Administration was considered by some to be politically weak, largely dysfunctional, generally unable to deliver aid consistent with State's longer-term strategic vision/goals, and lacked international partner confidence.

To fully deliver on this promise, the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 needed to be rewritten. This particular legislative reform was not on President Obama's or Congress' agenda throughout the Obama Administration.

This promise was not fulfilled.