Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee.
I appreciate the opportunity to join Secretary Rice in discussing the President’s supplemental budget request for operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Global War on Terror.
A joint appearance of the Secretaries of State and Defense is unusual. That we are doing so today indicates how much success in this Global War on Terror is linked to the capabilities and resources of these two departments.
The security challenges facing our nation in this new century do not, after all, exist in neat bundles that can be easily divided up between departments or agencies.
DoD SUPPLEMENTAL REQUEST:
Let me first outline a few of the details of the Department of Defense’s portion of the President’s supplemental request.
The President has requested an appropriation of $65.3 billion for this department to fight and win the War on Terror in Afghanistan and Iraq. This supplemental request includes priorities such as:
- Paying for ongoing deployments and operations by U.S. forces in the Afghanistan and Iraq theaters ($34.7 billion);
- Continuing to develop Afghan and Iraqi security forces ($5.9 billion);
- Countering the threats posed to our troops by Improvised Explosive Devices ($1.9 billion);
- Continuing the important transformation of the U.S. Army into modular brigade combat teams ($3.4 billion);
- Repairing or replacing damaged or destroyed equipment ($10.4 billion); and
- Reimbursement for the cost of the military response to the terrible earthquake in Pakistan ($60 million).
To underscore the importance of this request, and discuss some of the particulars, we are joined by:
- General Pete Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and
- General John Abizaid, the Commander of U.S. Central Command.
We have been asked why war costs are included in supplemental requests, rather than in the annual Defense Department budget. It is a fair question.
But it is a question that has been answered dozens of times, including by Secretary Rice in her submitted testimony to this committee.
The traditional annual federal budget takes up to 12 months to formulate, then it takes another 8 to 12 more months to pass Congress, and then it takes still another 12 months to execute -- a total of close to three years. In war, circumstances on the ground change quickly. The enemy has a brain -- and is continuously changing and adapting their tactics.
Bridge and supplemental appropriations are put together much closer to the time the funds will actually be used. This allows a considerably more accurate estimate of costs, and, importantly, much quicker access to the funds when they are needed, without having to go through reprogramming contortions where we are forced to rob other accounts and distort good business practices.
Mr. Chairman, we meet today with our country engaged in what promises to be a long struggle -- a conflict which requires that we transform the way the military, and indeed the U.S. government, operates.
The extremists, though under constant pressure and on the defensive, still seek to bring their terror to our shores and to our cities -- and to all who oppose their views. These enemies cannot win a single conventional battle, so they challenge us through non-traditional, asymmetric means, using terror as their weapon of choice.
Their current priority is to prevent the successful emergence of democratic governments in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to force the United States and our Coalition partners to abandon those nations before they are able to fully defend themselves.
They are skillful at manipulating the media. Of course, one of the principal goals of their attacks is to make our cause look hopeless.
But consider the larger picture -- the view from the enemy’s perspective:
- The terrorists tried to stop the Iraqi national elections a year ago -- and they failed;
- They tried to stop the drafting of, and the referendum on, the new Iraqi Constitution -- and they failed;
- They tried to stop the Iraqi national elections on December 15th for a permanent Iraqi government -- and they failed again; and
- They attacked the Golden Dome Shrine in Samarra in their latest attempt to incite an Iraqi civil war and to try to stop the formation of the new Iraqi government -- and thus far they are failing at that as well.
It is crucially important that we continue to help the Iraqi people move forward on the political, economic and security tracks so that we can see this important mission through to completion. And that we and our Coalition partners use all elements of national power to help the Iraqi people defeat the terrorists in their country.
The Department of Defense has drawn lessons that have helped guide us in making adjustments for the period ahead. These lessons and principles have been incorporated into the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), which was recently submitted to the Congress. Those lessons and the decisions in the QDR will be incorporated fully in the President’s budget to be presented next year for Fiscal Year 2008.
The QDR recognized that in this global struggle many of our enemies operate within the borders of countries with whom we are not at war. It is clear that the challenge posed by violent extremists will not be overcome by any one Department, or by any one country.
It will require the cooperation of a number of our departments and of a great many nations to successfully disrupt terrorist cells and prevent the proliferation of dangerous weapons.
And to succeed, it will be essential to help partner nations and allies develop their capabilities to better govern and defend themselves. This emphasis on building partner capability is at the heart of our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in several smaller-scale training and equipping operations in places like the Republic of Georgia and the Philippines.
Our investments and policies should reflect these new requirements. Last year, Congress helpfully provided authority to more quickly train and equip the security forces of partner nations, but we will be requesting that these authorities be strengthened and expanded.
When other nations and partners can shoulder greater security burdens within their borders and around the globe, it is far less likely that U.S.troops will be called on -- at what is always considerably greater cost, in both blood and treasure, to our nation.
For example, it costs approximately $90,000 per year to sustain a U.S. service member in theater, as opposed to about $11,000 to sustain an Afghan soldier, or $40,000 for an Iraqi soldier.
The United Nations peacekeeping operation in Haiti is an example of the benefit of empowering partner nations. A recent Government Accountability Office study found that if the United States had had to conduct the Haiti mission on its own -- without the major help of partner nations -- it would have cost the U.S. taxpayers almost eight times as much in dollars, to say nothing of the added stress on our forces.
So it is in the best interest of our country to provide whatever support we can to those departments and agencies working to help other nations take on a still greater share of the costs for our collective defense.
It is also important that we not complicate efforts to build useful relationships with nations that can aid in our defense. In the past, there has been a tendency to cut off military-to-military relationships when a particular government did something we did not approve of.
This happened some years ago with respect to our relations with both Indonesia and Pakistan -- two of the largest and most important Muslim countries in the world, and today, valuable allies in the War on Terror. A result has been the equivalent of a “lost generation” of friendships, contacts, relationships and understanding between the U.S. military and their militaries -- relationships that we have had to try to start again, almost from scratch, in the wake of September 11th.
Since then, we have made progress towards forging stronger ties with these and other new partners around the world -- India in particular -- to confront the threat posed by violent extremism. It is important to keep this in mind the next time we may be tempted to sever military relationships, that could prove crucial to the defense of the American people.
I have mentioned the importance of closer cooperation between our Cabinet departments and agencies. And Secretary Rice has discussed some specific provisions for the Department of State that are included in the supplemental request, and which will enhance our partnerships in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The State Department requests are intended to help Iraq and Afghanistan’s transition to self-reliance by increasing the capacity of these still fragile democracies to govern their people and provide needed services for them -- services that undermine support for the terrorists and that reduce the stress on -- and danger to -- our men and women in uniform.
I should also mention Secretary Rice’s proposal to support the aspirations of the Iranian people through expanded broadcasting. I believe that this proposal -- and others like it that can help to spread the message of freedom -- deserve the support of the Congress.
Though the focus of this hearing is on the supplemental budget request, I would draw attention to important programs funded in the State Department’s regular annual budget that are also of direct benefit to our nation’s security.
These programs include:
- The International Military Education and Training Program (IMET);
- Civilian stabilization and reconstruction capabilities;
- Foreign Military Financing (FMF); and
- The Global Peacekeeping Operations Initiative, that will help less-developed countries train, so they can send peacekeeping forces to potential crisis spots.
Mr. Chairman, the tasks ahead of us will not be easy. They never are in a time of war.
I recently visited the Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri. President Truman of course, was the Commander-in-Chief at the dawn of the Cold War. The institutions, policies and programs that came into being under his watch included:
- The Marshall Plan;
- The Truman Doctrine;
- NATO; and
- The World Bank, to name just a few.
With the perspective of history, the many new institutions and programs created during the Truman years may seem, to people not rooted in history, as part of a carefully crafted, broadly supported strategy, leading inevitably to victory in the Cold War.
But of course, things were not that way at all.
In fact those were days of heated disagreements. Yet together, our national leaders, of both political parties, got the big things right. They understood that a Cold War had been declared on our country -- on the free world -- whether we liked it or not. That we had to steel ourselves against an expansionist enemy, the Soviet Union, that was determined to destroy our way of life.
Though this era is different, and though the enemy today is different, that is our task today.
We must fashion new approaches to enable us to work more efficiently across agencies and departments in ways unimagined before, and to partner with other nations, if we are to defeat this peril to our way of life.
Mr. Chairman, with the help of the Congress we will provide the American people with the security they need in this dangerous and uncertain new century.