Hagel Tells Congress Friendship Is Worth Funding
By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 12, 2013 Spending defense money on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the United States and overseas is a critically important part of U.S. foreign policy that clearly in the national interest, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told Congress today.
Appearing before the Senate Budget Committee with Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Hagel noted the National Guard, Army Reserve and Air Force Reserve, in particular, have resources devoted to aiding in disasters. Around the world, he added, U.S. defense funding for such programs will continue.
“We … have had over the years a significant capacity to help countries during these disasters,” Hagel said. “It's clearly in our interests around the world, and it's humanitarian. Where we can help, we will continue to help.”
National security is the Defense Department’s foremost mission, the secretary said. “But that unfolds into many areas,” he added.
“When you're making friends around the world, when you're developing partners and allies, you're developing the next generation of global citizens who see America helping [them],” the secretary said. “I'd say that cuts right directly to the international interest and security of our country. And we can do that, and we have been doing it. We do it better probably than anybody does, in the military.”