Congressional Research Service. August 1, 2013.
The majority of humanitarian emergencies worldwide stem from natural disasters or from conflicts. Congress has consistently supported humanitarian efforts as a means of responding to crises in the short term, taking the lead, and promoting a U.S. presence. Intervention results in varying amounts of relief and recovery assistance and can have an important impact not only on the relief operation itself but on broader foreign policy issues. In the 113th Congress, international humanitarian and refugee assistance is expected to continue to have a strong measure of bipartisan support, with key policy issues focused on budget priorities, levels and types of funding, the sources of other support available worldwide, and the ways in which operational assistance is delivered.
http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/212995.pdf [PDF format, 18 pages].
Center for Global Development. June 3, 2013.
American food aid helps around 50 million people every year, but it could reach millions more. Requiring it to be in kind, purchased in the United States, and transported on US-flagged ships makes food aid less efficient and effective than it should be. President Obama’s FY2014 budget would relax in-kind and cargo preference requirements and eliminate monetization, the practice of donating food aid to private organizations that sell it in developing countries to fund their projects. The U.S. Agency for International Development estimates that such reforms would help food aid reach as many as 4 million more people for the same amount of money. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
http://www.cgdev.org/sites/default/files/food-aid-for-the-21st-century.pdf [PDF format, 4 pages].
Congressional Research Service. June 15, 2012.
On May 1, 2012, President Obama gave a speech from Bagram Air Field in which he laid out U.S. government approaches for “winding down” the war in Afghanistan.While a number of observers have challenged the logical plausibility of a unilateral decision to “wind down” a war, the Administration’s commitment to decreasing U.S. involvement in the war in Afghanistan is clear. At this apparent turning point in both strategic thinking and activity on the ground, this short report considers issues that may be of interest to Congress as it considers the strength and duration of further U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, to 2014 and beyond.
http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/193693.pdf [PDF format, 16 pages].
Pew Global Attitudes Project. March 6, 2012.
When Japan was struck by a devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, the U.S. mounted a major humanitarian aid mission to help the Japanese government respond to the disaster. In recent years, the U.S. also has provided substantial aid to Indonesia after the 2004 tsunami that caused widespread destruction in the Banda Aceh region and to Pakistan in 2005 after it suffered a major earthquake in the northern part of the country. In all these cases, substantial aid contributions produced more favorable impressions of the U.S. among the populations of those countries. However, the long term impact of humanitarian aid on public opinion is limited, which was apparent in Indonesia and in Pakistan. [Note: contains copyrighted material].