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Testimony


Opening Statement on the FY 2009 Supplemental Request to the Senate Appropriations Committee

As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, Room SD-106, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C., Thursday, April 30, 2009
Mr. Chairman, Senator Cochran, members of the committee:
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to discuss the Fiscal Year 2009 Supplemental Request. 
I am honored to be here with Secretary Clinton. Our joint appearance symbolizes the continuing improvement in relationships and close collaboration between the Departments of State and Defense. As Secretary Clinton said, this is intended to be the last planned war supplemental request that the administration will make. Future budgets, starting with FY10, will instead be presented together – with money for overseas contingency operations clearly marked as such. 
On that subject, some of you may have heard about my FY10 budget recommendations to the President. I look forward to coming back here next month to discuss some of those details with you.
Of the $83.4 billion in this request, approximately $76 billion is for the Department of Defense – most of it to directly support operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. This covers a wide range of activities, whose highlights include:
·          $38 billion for every-day costs associated with maintaining forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, from pre-deployment training, to transportation to or from theater, to the operations themselves. I should note that this supplemental takes into account planned reductions in troop numbers in Iraq this year, and increases in Afghanistan.
·          $11.6 billion to replace and repair equipment that has been worn-out, damaged, or destroyed in Iraq and Afghanistan. This includes money for four F-22s to replace one F-15 and three F-16s classified as combat losses.
·          $9.8 billion for force protection, which includes, among other things, money for lightweight body armor, surveillance capabilities, and $2.7 billion for sustainment, retrofit upgrades, and new procurement of 1,000 MRAP All Terrain Vehicles to meet the latest requirements in Afghanistan.
·          $3.6 billion to expand and improve the Afghan National Security Forces. We have not requested, and will not request in the future, any money for Iraq’s security forces. The government of Iraq has taken on that financial burden.
·          $1.5 billion to continue to deal with the threat posed by Improvised Explosive Devices – a threat that, considering its effectiveness, we should expect to see in any future conflict involving either state or non-state actors.
·          [$500 million] for the Commander’s Emergency Response Program (CERP) – a program that has been very successful in allowing commanders on the ground to make immediate, positive impacts in their areas of operation. It will continue to play a pivotal role as we increase operations in Afghanistan and focus on providing the population with security and opportunities for a better life.  I should note that the Department has taken a number of steps to ensure the proper use of this critical combat-enhancing capability.
·          Finally, there is $400 million for the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund (PCCF). This program will be carried out with the concurrence of the Secretary of State and will complement existing and planned State Department efforts by allowing the CENTCOM commander to work with Pakistan’s military to build counterinsurgency capability. I know there is some question about funding both the PCCF and the Foreign Military Financing program, but we are asking for this unique authority for the unique and urgent circumstances we face in Pakistan – for dealing with a challenge that simultaneously requires wartime and peacetime capabilities. General Petraeus, General McKiernan, and the U.S. ambassador on the ground have asked for this authority, and it is a vital element of the President’s new Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy.
The supplemental also includes money for programs to support the warfighter and ease strain on the force:
·          Due to higher-than-expected recruiting and retention rates, we are well ahead of schedule to expand the Army and Marine Corps – which will help ease the burden on our troops and help reduce, with the goal of ending, stop-loss. Currently, we expect the Marine Corps and Army to meet their respective end-strengths of 202,000 and 547,400 by the end of this fiscal year. The supplemental includes $2.2 billion to that end.
·          There is also $1.6 billion for wounded warrior care and programs to improve the quality of life for our troops and their families. On that note, I thank the Congress for funding in the stimulus bill programs that provided infrastructure improvements, including $1.3 billion for hospital construction.
·          I should mention that in the FY10 budget, I am proposing to move funding for programs like these to the base budget to ensure long-term support for the programs that most directly affect our nation’s greatest strategic asset: our troops, and the families that support them.
As was the case last year, the Department of Defense will have to be prepared for continued operations in the absence of the supplemental or another bridge fund. Currently, some operational funds will begin to run out in July – which has historically affected the Army and the Marine Corps first. After Memorial Day, we will need to consider options to delay running out of funds.  We also expect to run out of money to reimburse Pakistan by mid-May. I urge you to take up this bill and pass it as quickly as possible, but please not later than Memorial Day.
As Secretary Clinton discussed, the supplemental also includes $7.1 billion for international affairs and stabilization activities, including economic assistance for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Needless to say, I strongly support this funding. As I have said for the last two years, I believe that the challenges confronting our nation cannot be dealt with by military means alone. They require instead whole-of-government approaches – but that can only be done if the State Department is given resources befitting the scope of its mission across the globe. This is particularly important in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where our ability to provide resources beyond military power will be the decisive factor.
One of the most interesting and thoughtful discussions I’ve had during a hearing was almost exactly a year ago when Secretary Rice and I sat before the House Armed Services Committee to discuss Section 1206 and 1207 authorities – both of which have improved levels of cooperation between State and Defense. Secretary Clinton and I are also dedicated to figuring out how best to bring to bear the full force of our entire government on the pressing issues of the day. So I ask you to continue supporting not just our men and women in uniform, but the men and women at the State Department who are just as committed to the safety and security of the United States.
Let me close by once again thanking you for your ongoing support of our troops and their families. I know you share my desire to give them everything they need to accomplish their mission – and to support them and their families when they come home.
Thank you.

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