Rumsfeld, Myers Testify on Budget Requests
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Apr. 27, 2005 Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld asked Congress today to approve the fiscal 2005 supplemental funding request quickly.
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld testifies at the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee on Capitol Hill on April 27. Photo by Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen, USAF
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The $81.9 billion request will fund the military through Sept. 30, 2005. The money will cover the cost of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, training Iraqi and Afghan troops, addressing the transformation of the Army and making good on repair and replacement of equipment strained by the increased tempo of operations.
Both Rumsfeld and Joint Chiefs Chairman Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers stressed the need for continued transformation of the military during testimony before the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.
Rumsfeld praised the sacrifices servicemembers and their families are making. He told the committee that it is "becoming increasingly clear that the sacrifices they are making are making a difference in bringing about a world that is freer and more peaceful, and that rejects terrorism."
The secretary said the past year has seen historic elections in Afghanistan and Iraq, and that extremists in both countries are under mounting pressure.
Three years into the war on terrorism has made two things very clear, the secretary said. First is that the struggle will not be won by military strength alone. He said all aspects of U.S. government power must be focused on the enemy. This includes long-range policies and programs aimed at alleviating the conditions that force young people to embrace extremism.
The second reality is that the U.S. cannot win this struggle alone. "No one nation can," Rumsfeld said. "It will take cooperation among a great many countries to stop weapons proliferation, for example. It takes nations working together to locate and dismantle extremist cells and stop future attacks."
The secretary told the senators that 60 nations "are now engaged in unprecedented effort to address proliferation of dangerous weapons."
But even with the progress in the war on terror, the Defense Department must move ahead with transformation. Even before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush administration was moving to change the defense establishment, Rumsfeld said. "September 11th added urgency and impetus to make the military more agile, more expeditionary and more lethal."
The entire national security apparatus is making significant changes. The military is moving forces rapidly across the globe. It is functioning as a truly joint force. But it is also fighting a war. Rumsfeld said the military is still "adjusting to a world where the threat is not from a single superpower, but rather from various regimes and extremist cells that could work together to proliferate lethal capabilities."
But while progress has been made, the U.S. military is still largely equipped to confront conventional forces, he said.
Myers told the senators that there are three major processes this year that will help inform decisions in the years ahead. The first is the Quadrennial Defense Review, due in September. "It will provide a comprehensive strategic plan for reforming the armed forces," Myers said. "Second, the base realignment and closure process provides an excellent opportunity to further transform our warfighting capability and eliminate excess capacity."
Third, the department's global basing strategy transforms the U.S. Cold War footprint into one "that's focused on combining the capabilities of U.S.-based rotational forces ... with strategically placed overseas based forces," Myers noted.
Whatever the United States does will have a profound effect on friends and allies in the years ahead, Rumsfeld said. NATO allies are already following the U.S. lead in transformation and the capabilities of allies will be crucial to the country in the future, Myers said.
Myers and Rumsfeld agreed the fiscal 2006 defense budget request keeps faith with servicemembers serving around the world. And they deserve no less, said the chairman. "We are now in the fourth year of sustained combat operations, and all our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and DoD civilians continue to perform superbly under extremely challenging conditions."