Defense Secretary Robert Gates called Tuesday for greater funding for US diplomacy and foreign development aid, acknowledging concerns about a "creeping militarization" of US foreign policy.
"Broadly speaking, when it comes to America's engagement with the rest of the world, it is important that the military is -- and is clearly seen to be -- in a supporting role to civilian agencies," he said.
"Our diplomatic leaders -- be they in ambassadors' suites or on the State Department's seventh floor -- must have the resources and political support needed to fully exercise their statutory responsibilities in leading American foreign policy," he said.
He said he sensed bipartisan support in Congress for strengthening the civilian foreign affairs budget.
"It has become clear that America's civilian institutions of diplomacy and development have been chronically undermanned and underfunded for far too long -- relative to what we traditionally spend on the military, and more importantly, relative to the responsibilities and challenges our nation has around the world."
Word has it that Gates has also recently discovered that the price of gas is creeping up.