Clinton Praises Partnership Between State, Defense
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Apr. 30, 2009 Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said today she appreciates the partnership that has developed between her department and the Defense Department, and that she looks forward to further collaboration in the months ahead.
Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee about the $83.4 billion fiscal 2009 supplemental war-funding request.
“Secretary Gates and I are here together because our departments’ missions are aligned and our plans are integrated,” Clinton said.
U.S. foreign policy is built upon defense, diplomacy and development, Clinton said. “The men and women in our armed forces perform their duties with courage and skill, putting their lives on the line time and time again on behalf of our nation. And in many regions, they serve alongside civilians from the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, as well as other government agencies like the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”
State Department employees work with servicemembers in two ways, Clinton said. In Iraq and Afghanistan, they build on military efforts. They also use diplomatic and development tools to build more stable and peaceful societies, “hopefully to avert or end conflict that is far less costly in lives and dollars than military action,” she said.
The United States faces serious challenges around the world, Clinton said. These include two wars, political uncertainty in the Middle East, the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran, an economic crisis, terrorism, climate change and trafficking in drugs and human beings.
“These challenges require new forms of outreach and cooperation within our own government and then with others as well,” she said. “To achieve this, we have launched a new diplomacy powered by partnership, pragmatism and principle.”
State is strengthening historic alliances and creating new ones. “The 2009 supplemental budget request for the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development is a significant sum,” she said. “Yet our investment in diplomacy and development is only about 6 percent of our total national security budget.
“For Secretary Gates and myself,” she continued, “it is critically important that we give our civilian workers, as well as our military, the resources they need to do their jobs well.”
In Iraq, the mission is changing as the troop drawdown continues. “We must reinforce security gains while supporting the Iraqi government and people as they strengthen public institutions and promote job creation and assist those Iraqis who had fled because of violence and want to return home,” the secretary said.
The supplemental request calls for $482 million for State Department programs in Iraq and $108 million more for refugee aid.
“In Afghanistan, as you know, the president has ordered additional troops,” Clinton said. “Our mission is very clear; to disrupt, dismantle and destroy al-Qaida. But bringing stability to that region is not only a military mission; it requires more than a military response. So we have requested $980 million in assistance to focus on rebuilding the agricultural sector, having more political progress, helping the local and provincial leadership deliver services for their people.”
Pakistan is crucial to peace in Afghanistan, Clinton said. “We have seen how difficult it is for the government [in Pakistan] to make progress as the Taliban and their allies continues to make inroads,” Clinton said.
“Counterinsurgency training is critical, but of equal importance are diplomacy and development, to work with the Pakistani government, Pakistani civil society, to try to provide more economic stability and diminish the conditions that feed extremism.”
The supplemental request seeks $497 million for Pakistan, “which will support the government’s efforts to stabilize the economy, strengthen law enforcement, alleviate poverty and help displaced citizens find safe shelter,” Clinton said.
Clinton said she and Gates are looking at ways to make the departments collaborate more effectively.
“Secretary Gates and I are committed to working closely together in an almost unprecedented way to sort out what the individual responsibilities and missions of Defense and State and USAID should be, but committed to the overall goal of promoting stability and long term progress, which we believe is in the interests of the United States and which we are prepared to address and take on the challenges and seize the opportunities that confront us at this moment in history,” she said.