President's Supplemental Appropriations Budget for 2003Richard L. Armitage, Deputy Secretary of State
Testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations
March 27, 2003
Mr. Chairman, Representative Lowey, Members of the Committee, thank you very much for the opportunity to appear before you today to testify in support of the President’s request for supplemental appropriations to the FY 2003 budget. It seems as though it was just yesterday that the Secretary was here, presenting our FY 2004 budget – and it nearly was just yesterday. Even in the short space of weeks since Secretary Powell’s testimony, however, much has changed. Indeed, much has changed in the last few days – and will doubtless continue to change in the coming days and weeks.
One variable remains constant, however, and that is the partnership the Department of State enjoys with this subcommittee and with your staff. In particular, Chairman Kolbe and Representative Lowey, I want to acknowledge the hard work of Charlie Flickner, Alice Grant, Sean Mulvaney, Lori Maes, Mark Murray, Beth Tritter, and John Shank, who has moved on to the Defense subcommittee staff, but nevertheless served this subcommittee with great distinction for many years. Most of our accounts covered in the FY 2003 bill were fully funded, and I believe we can attribute that success to your efforts, along with the efforts of your counterparts in the other body.
Passage of the FY 2003 Omnibus Spending bill represented a victory not just for the Department of State and the President’s policies, but also for you and our supporters in Congress who believe in foreign policy as a strategic asset, a key aspect of our national life, and an integral part of our national security strategy. I wanted you all to know that we recognize the difficulties you encounter and deeply appreciate all of your hard work.
Of course, one of those recent difficulties was anticipating the cost of our campaign in Iraq. I want to be clear that even though the President has now presented his supplemental request, we will have to continue to adjust our expectations and needs as the situation unfolds. I will be delighted to answer any questions you have today and to continue our close consultation with all of you as events on the ground continue to take shape.
To date, though, one thing is manifestly clear: our military forces are performing magnificently. I have no doubt whatsoever that they will prevail and achieve our military objectives. Nonetheless, this victory, as with any war, will come at a high cost in human life and in dollars. We owe it to our men and women in uniform to honor their hard work and their sacrifice by making the requisite – and relatively inexpensive – investment in peace. I believe this supplemental will provide us with key funds we need to do so. We also owe it to the people of Iraq not to abandon them the moment this regime is removed from Baghdad, but to assist them in relief and recovery and in building a framework for good governance.
Our request for the international affairs portion of the FY 2003 supplemental is $7.79 billion, which will fund:
First, we are requesting $2.4 billion for relief and reconstruction for Iraq. These monies will go toward urgent needs for food and water, security, public health, public works infrastructure to include transportation and electricity, education, civil administration and the institutions of governance, as well as restoring and stimulating industrial and agricultural capacity.
As I noted, the situation on the ground is shifting constantly, and therefore we are requesting maximum flexibility in the allocation and disbursement of these funds. For example, we were prepared to see at this time large numbers of refugees and internally displaced people, and have prepositioned supplies accordingly. Such massive flows of people have not yet materialized – and may not at all. We must remain prepared for such a possibility, though, given the human misery involved in such movements and the potential for the destabilization of surrounding nations.
In some respects, Iraq is actually a fortunate nation, in that it has the wherewithal to stand on its own in a fairly short period of time. We believe, however, that this initial capital investment from the United States will provide key leverage in the effort to return Iraq to prosperity.
I want to emphasize that these funds are necessary for more than just material and immediate needs. This quick infusion of support will make a clear and unmistakable demonstration of our intent to the people of Iraq. The citizens of this nation have endured more than two decades of terror and oppression, as well as the misuse of national wealth to procure weapons of mass destruction and for the personal aggrandizement of the ruling regime. When we talk to the people of Iraq about freedom and liberation, it is incumbent on us to show them what we mean. We also have a responsibility to better communicate our intent across the region, and this supplemental includes the $30.5 million I mentioned to increase television and radio broadcasting in the region, as well as $200 million for other outreach programs to Muslim communities around the world.
Engaging in military operations is a difficult choice of last resort for our nation, as it is for many of our partners and allies. Many of those partners and allies will bear a heavy burden in this conflict, both in terms of their contributions to ongoing operations and in the effects of war on their economies and security. This supplemental includes approximately $5 billion to support coalition partners in the conflict with Iraq and in the global war on terrorism, including:
Included in this request is $1 billion in ESF for Turkey, which we believe will help stabilize and sustain our longtime friend through the turbulence that will accompany military and post-conflict operations in Iraq. And while we are disappointed that we do not have deeper Turkish cooperation in the current situation, we do appreciate overflight rights and ongoing discussions about border issues. We are also mindful of the fact that Turkey has already borne the costs of living next to Saddam Hussein for more than two decades. Moreover, we have a direct, vital interest in supporting Turkey, not just as an ally, but also as a democratic stronghold at one of the world’s most strategic crossroads.
I want to be clear that these funds for our partners and regional players, whether for security assistance or for school books, do not amount to a blank check or a bribe for unconditional support. While these are nations that agree with us in our security goals for the region, these are also nations we expect to continue to pursue their other national interests with full respect for the rule of law and human rights.
The same is true of the nations we are working with in the war against terrorism. Indeed, some of the nations covered in the $5 billion for allies and partners remain on the front lines of that fight. We are requesting:
Just as there are nations with a front-line investment in our mutual security interests, there are also individual Americans who are putting their lives on the line. The American people are well aware today of the courage and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, but are perhaps somewhat less aware of the men and women of our foreign and civil service who serve with similar distinction and dedication. Indeed, the programs and prospects I have just outlined will not succeed without the hard work of the employees of the Department of State. So I would like to add a few words about the portion of the supplemental that deals with State Department operations.
At this time, 27 of our 261 diplomatic missions around the world are either on ordered or authorized departure, meaning that most family members and nonessential personnel at those posts have been evacuated. And let me be clear that not all of these separations are a result of current operations in Iraq. Some are due to concerns about health risks, some have to do with localized unrest, and some are in reaction to concerns about terrorist threats.
To some extent, this is just life in the foreign service; it is historically and frequently a dangerous profession. With the advent of terrorist attacks on our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania 1998 and on our own cities in 2001, however, this has become a particularly dangerous time to be a diplomat. The murder of USAID employee Laurence Foley in October brought this message home yet again to our Department of State family. In addition, in recent weeks, a number of our embassies have been the focal point in several nations for fear and anguish about current military operations.
And yet, while this can be a dangerous time to be a diplomat, it is also a very exciting time. The fact is that we are standing at an astonishing juncture, where America’s place in the world and the world’s place in America are extremely important and extremely fluid. The Department of State needs to attract and retain the most talented and committed workforce that we possibly can in such a time. In turn, we owe this workforce, as a bare minimum, a safe workplace – one that is equal to the challenges and opportunities of our time. This supplemental will help us in this effort by providing $187 million in additional support for evacuations of family members and personnel, emergency response capabilities and improved security, and new facilities, to include opening a diplomatic mission in Baghdad. The supplemental request also includes $22 million for USAID to help support evacuations, the initial costs of opening a mission in Baghdad, and other costs related to relief and reconstruction efforts.
Mr. Chairman, this is clearly a time in the life of our nation when we need good people and good policy, as well as sufficient funds and full support for the range of our diplomatic efforts. We are, therefore, pleased with the President’s supplemental funding request for the Department of State and we believe these funds will help us to do our jobs right in Iraq and around the world. I appreciate the opportunity to appear before this Subcommittee today, both to ask for your support and to answer your questions.
Released on March 27, 2003