WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Todd Young (R-Ind.) today introduced legislation to improve the coordination of U.S. government efforts to reduce violent extremism and address global fragility. The legislation also establishes a global Partnership Development Fund to leverage public and private resources from partners around the world to tackle this national security threat.
Fragile states can become threats to the security of the United States because their governments are seen as ineffective or illegitimate by their citizens, heightening the risk of terrorism, violent conflict, criminal activity, and corruption. Violent conflict also drives global displacement, with nearly 70 million people forcibly displaced around the world. The Global Fragility Act, responds to these challenges by requiring the Secretary of State, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Secretary of Defense, to collaborate on a 10-year initiative to reduce fragility in at least five priority countries.
“The United States is a leader in responding to global humanitarian crises, yet lacks a long-term, cohesive strategy for addressing the root causes of extremism and instability that turn fragile states into failed states,” said Senator Coons. “The United States has spent nearly $5.9 trillion in the 18 years since 9/11 in combatting extremism and terrorism around the world. This legislation is a genuinely bipartisan approach to prevent terrorism from taking hold in the first place. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Appropriations Committees, I am pleased to be working with this bipartisan group of my colleagues to enact a framework that will promote the stabilization of fragile environments where terrorists thrive, build peace, and maximize the impact of U.S. foreign assistance.”
“Our goal is to prevent fragile states from falling into the abyss and becoming breeding grounds for extremists,” said Senator Graham. “To do that, we have to have partners. At the end of the day, we have to offer a hopeful life to compete against the extremists dark vision of a glorious death. Finally, we are not talking about nation-building; instead, we are talking about the United States doing more on deterrence and prevention which, in the long run, will make us safer at home.”
“Strategic intervention to diminish violence and instability around the world is both the moral and the practical thing to do,” said Senator Merkley. “For decades, the U.S. has been a world leader in alleviating human suffering. It’s time for us to continue and build upon that tradition with this bipartisan bill.”
“As the U.S. responds to the many humanitarian crises around the world, we must address the factors driving instability and violence. It is both moral and in our national security interest to promote stable and prosperous countries that can one day be reliable allies and partners. I am proud to join this bipartisan group of senators in reintroducing legislation to better coordinate efforts between government agencies aimed at preventing instability in fragile states and ensuring our tax dollars are being spent efficiently,” said Senator Rubio.
“It is imperative that we address the root causes of conflict before crises can develop. I am proud to co-sponsor this bipartisan bill that seeks to prevent human suffering in places like Yemen and prevent us from having to deploy our men and women in uniform to these fragile states,” said Senator Young.
The bill text is available here.