What could one of America’s leading global security, aerospace and information technology companies possibly have in common with an organization that has helped millions of vulnerable children and families in developing nations around the world for 75 years?  More than you might think, as we both recognize the need for American engagement and leadership to build a better, safer world. 

Every day, Lockheed Martin and ChildFund International help equip people and nations with the building blocks for good governance, access to education and increased stability.  Our world is increasingly interconnected, and we cannot afford to ignore the global challenges and opportunities we face.  That’s why American businesses and nonprofits are coming together in partnership with U.S. development and diplomatic initiatives to advance our nation’s interests and demonstrate our values.   

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Around the world, our country promotes better health, food security, conflict resolution, economic growth and stability, education, and much more in developing countries through the International Affairs Budget.  While these programs improve lives and futures in distant places, they also strengthen our own security, expand markets for U.S. businesses, and create jobs back here at home. 

Having worked collaboratively with many of these programs, we know their impact first-hand.

ChildFund works with vulnerable children living in extreme poverty so that they can thrive throughout all stages of life. Working through local community partners, ChildFund brings life-saving services to more than 18 million children and families in 30 countries around the world.  This is often done in tandem with U.S. development programs and private-sector partners, who disrupt poverty at its source by creating community-based, child-nurturing conditions that will have an impact for generations to come.

Lockheed Martin supports innovative global security, aerospace and information technology programs that help strengthen international stability, and these efforts are made more effective through global development and diplomacy.

While you might not think these two organizations would cross paths, ChildFund and Lockheed Martin helped show the value of combining global security technology and humanitarian outreach in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.

The Navy’s first Littoral Combat Ship, the Lockheed Martin-built USS Freedom, deployed to the Philippines after the storm, where it supported the military’s efforts to deliver much needed supplies and humanitarian assistance in coordination with USAID.  ChildFund already had an established presence in the Philippines and was one of the first relief agencies to put staff on the ground in the hardest-hit parts of the country.  The organization has since established many “Child-Centered Spaces” providing safe havens for children and a way to reconnect families displaced by the storm.

Some may look at us as an unlikely couple – hard power meets soft power. But we believe examples like the Typhoon Haiyan response show why it’s smart to invest in effective development and diplomacy, alongside defense.  And with 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside of the U.S., America simply can’t afford to withdraw from the world.

Most Americans believe we spend 25 percent or more of the federal budget on foreign assistance. The truth is the International Affairs Budget – which funds programs that have literally saved millions of lives while helping Americans open markets and keep us safe – represents only one percent of the federal budget.

Both Lockheed Martin and ChildFund International know the power of American engagement in the world. Investing in smart power is the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do, and it is one of the best investments we can make to strengthen and secure the U.S. 

While we all agree our country needs to get its fiscal house in order, our engagement and leadership in the world have never been more necessary and critical.  U.S. development and diplomatic programs are providing a great return for American taxpayers, and that is something that even the most unlikely partners can agree on.  

Hewson is the CEO and president of Lockheed Martin, and Goddard is president and CEO of ChildFund International. Both companies are board members of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, which is honoring Vice President Joseph Biden and Representatives Kay GrangerKay GrangerWeek ahead: House digs into annual defense bill Overnight Defense: Senate approves Russia, Iran sanctions | GOP chair expects to surpass Trump defense budget | Nude photo scandal could lead to court-martial Defense appropriations chairwoman expects to surpass Trump budget MORE (R-Texas) and Nita Lowey (d-N.Y.) on December 12, 2013, for their strong support of development and diplomacy programs.