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U.S. foreign assistance falls under the International Affairs Budget, or the “Function 150 Account” in budget-speak. The International Affairs Budget includes resources to fund the majority of U.S. activities abroad, which includes the budget for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as well as other agencies such as the Peace Corps and the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Historically, the State Department and USAID comprise more than 90 percent of the U.S. government’s International Affairs Budget.

Foreign assistance provides a powerful return on investment for the American taxpayer. U.S. foreign assistance:

  •  Defends U.S. national security by supporting programs that defeat ISIS and other terrorist organizations, prevent the proliferation and transit of weapons of mass destruction, and enhance the security capabilities of our partner countries.
  •  Asserts U.S. leadership and influence by allowing us to deliver dynamic solutions to the complex crises and challenges we face across the globe, from terrorism to extreme poverty.
  •  Fosters opportunities for economic growth by combatting corruption, promoting peace and prosperity, building stable trading partners, and generating demand for U.S. goods and services abroad.
  •  Ensures effectiveness and accountability to the U.S. taxpayer by optimizing military assistance, ensuring proper oversight and monitoring of programs, and more.

Did you know that our U.S. foreign assistance is essential to defending our national security, asserting our leadership and influence, and fostering opportunities for our economic interests?

Foreign assistance can be divided into three broad categories:

Security Assistance

Fosters stability and security abroad by strengthening the military and law enforcement forces in our partner countries through capacity building and training and helps countries purchase defense equipment and services produced in the United States.

Economic and Development Assistance

Advances our national security by helping countries meet near-term political, economic, and development needs.

Humanitarian Assistance

Supports disaster and emergency relief efforts, including programs that save lives, alleviate suffering, and maintain human dignity.

These are just a few examples of foreign assistance support. To learn more about specific programs, access the yearly Congressional Budget Justifications.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future