Washington D.C. – Today, the world faces unprecedented levels of instability in conflict-ridden areas deemed “fragile” for reasons that include extreme poverty, lack of economic opportunity, and weak governance. These hostile environments cost the global economy over $14 trillion dollars annually and provide fertile recruiting grounds for terrorists and transnational criminal organizations. 

In response, a group of bipartisan lawmakers including House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) re-introduced legislation last week to ensure effective use of U.S. foreign assistance to target the drivers of fragility and enhance stability in priority countries and regions. The Global Fragility Act, which passed the House last Congress, provides a whole of government, holistic approach to improve coordination and better leverage U.S. assistance to prevent violent conflict and instability abroad.  

Of note, earlier this month Lead Republican McCaul took part in an event centered around initiatives in Congress focused on violent conflict prevention and tackling the drivers of extremism globally. The event was the culmination for a new approach put forth by the Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States and featured a panel of bipartisan national security experts including Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY). 

Specifically, McCaul discussed his recently introduced bipartisan legislation, H.R. 1580, which seeks to:

  • Direct the Secretary of State to coordinate interagency efforts that prevent violent conflict and fragility around the world;
  • Establish a framework in select countries and regions to develop long term implementation plans that focus U.S. resources around a clearly defined stabilization objective; 
  • Authorize existing assistance programs and strengthen congressional oversight through required assessments and evaluations.

To learn more about the Global Fragility Act of 2019, click here

To watch Lead Republican McCaul’s full remarks as delivered, click here or below. 


Lead Republican McCaul: “I have always said that bullets and bombs alone cannot defeat an ideology. We need to deal with [violent extremism] at its core, root problem and that is despair, lack of hope, poverty. Destabilized nations, fragile states where there is no governance — that is where they [extremists] go… I’ve always been a messenger of we have to get to prevention and stop radicalization at its core rather than deal with it later on down the road. I think that’s what this bill, the Global Fragility Act, does.”