Sen. Chris Coons’ bipartisan Global Fragility Act, which will improve U.S. government efforts to prevent terrorism from taking root in developing countries around the world, is expected to become law after being included in the bipartisan appropriations package to fund the federal government for fiscal 2020, the senator’s office announced Dec. 16.
“The U.S. has spent nearly $5.9 trillion in the 18 years since 9/11 to combat extremism and terrorism around the world, and it’s clear we need a new strategy to do that more effectively,” said Coons. “This legislation is a genuinely bipartisan effort to prevent terrorism from taking hold in the first place, and, by doing that, save American lives and taxpayer dollars. This bipartisan legislation will promote the stabilization of fragile environments where terrorists thrive, build peace, and maximize the impact of U.S. foreign assistance.”
“Thank you to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their support of this legislation, especially Sen. Graham, Sen. Leahy, Sen. Risch and Sen. Menendez, as well as Rep. Engel and Rep. McCaul,” said Coons. “I am also grateful to the United States Institute of Peace for their leadership on this important issue as well as the coalition of organizations led by the Alliance for Peacebuilding and Mercy Corps for their support of this effort. I am looking forward to working with the Trump administration, the private sector, foreign governments, and a wide-range of NGOs to realize the goals of this bill.”
Fragile states can become threats to the security of the U.S. because their governments are seen as ineffective or illegitimate by their citizens, heightening the risk of terrorism and terrorist recruitment, violent conflict, criminal activity and corruption, according to a release from Coons’ office. 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 and the Secretary of Defense to collaborate on a 10-year strategy to prevent and reduce instability in at least five priority countries or regions. The bill improves interagency coordination and enhances monitoring, evaluation and oversight to ensure the effectiveness of U.S. investments. The legislation also authorizes the establishment of a Multi-donor Global Fragility Fund to leverage and coordinate public and private resources from partners around the world to combat this national security threat.