Retired High-ranking Admiral and General: To Accept the FY2018 Budget Proposal is a Mistake

In a recent Politico article, retired Admiral Mike Mullen and retired General James Jones make a case for global engagement and international aid, urging Congress not to accept the Trump administration’s proposed FY2018 budget, specifically the 32% cut to the Department of State and USAID accounts. They warn:

Pennsylvania Appropriator Stresses Power of Exchanges During House Hearing on FY2018 State Department Budget

During this week’s House State-Foreign Operations (SFOPS) Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing on the administration’s FY2018 budget request for the Department of State, Pennsylvania Congressman Charlie Dent (R) voiced his strong support for educational and cultural exchange programs and expressed concern about the 55% cut to exchange program funding proposed by the Trump administration for FY2018.

Exchange Programs Highlighted During Senate Hearing on FY2018 State Department Budget

Educational and cultural exchange programs were mentioned twice during a hearing of the Senate State-Foreign Operations (SFOPS) Appropriations Subcommittee this week. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appeared before the committee to review the administration’s FY2018 budget request for the U.S. Department of State.

Cabinet Exit Memo by Secretary of State John Kerry

Cabinet members from various departments and agencies submitted Exit Memos to President Barack Obama last week, detailing the progress accomplished in their respective entities during the Obama administration. The memo by Secretary of State John Kerry focused on the strides made by the State Department in advancing national security, alleviating conflicts around the world, strengthening U.S. international partnerships, expanding opportunities for American citizens, and defending universal values.

Executive Order Grants Non-Competitive Eligibility to Alumni of Three Academic Exchange Programs

President Barack Obama recently issued an executive order granting Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE) to alumni of three federally-funded Department of State academic exchange programs: the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, and the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program. Non-Competitive Eligibility is a specific hiring mechanism that provides an easier selection path for U.S. government positions.

Ireland and the United States Sign Extension for the Work and Travel Program

A new agreement between Ireland and the United States will add a three-year extension to the Ireland Work and Travel (IWT) program, lengthening the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two governments. According to a press release by the U.S. Embassy Dublin, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Evan Ryan, and Her Excellency, Ambassador of Ireland to the United States Anne Anderson, signed the diplomatic agreement to renew the visa program on December 5. According to the Irish Central, the IWT program has been renewed every two years for two years since its inception in 2008 – the December 5 signing marked the first time an extension was signed for more than two years.