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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > Former Secretaries of State > Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell > Speeches and Remarks > 2001 > May

Testimony at Budget Hearing before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Testimony before Senate Appropriations Subcommittee On Commerce, Justice, State, and the Judiciary
Washington, DC
May 3, 2001

As Prepared

As Delivered

SECRETARY POWELL: And then make some opening remarks and go right to the questions that might be on your mind.

Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I am pleased to appear before you for the first time as Secretary of State and to testify in support of the President's State Department Budget for Fiscal Year 2002. The budget, I am pleased to say, represents a significant increase in the Department's resources for the upcoming fiscal year, and we are very happy with that. It's a very good start on helping to get the Department ready for the 21st century.

But it really is just the first fiscal step in our efforts to align both the organization for and the conduct of America's foreign relations with the dictates and demands of the modern world. As Secretary of State, Mr. Chairman, I really wear two hats: by law, I am the principal foreign policy advisor to the President of the United States; but I am also the leader, the manager, the CEO of the Department of State, and I take that role and that charge very, very seriously. And to be successful, I think in both roles, we have to make sure -- I have to make sure -- that the Department is properly organized, equipped and manned to conduct America's foreign policy, as well as formulate good foreign policy in the name of the President and the American people.

This morning, wearing my CEO hat, I want to highlight what this budget contains with respect to the President's three highest priorities for the operation of the State Department; first, hiring new people, the lifeblood of any organization; second, embassy construction and security, an issue that I know is very much on the minds of members of this committee, and; third, information technology. I put people first because they should always be first. It's what makes the organization run. People get work done, not buildings, not staffs in a generic sense, and not plans, but people. And people will always be my first priority.

And there is no disputing that America needs to have the right people on the front lines of diplomacy, but we also need to have enough people. So the budget has $134.5 million for major investment to recruit, hire and train sufficient new people to create a training float, as well as to staff needed openings, so that we can begin to do something about the serious shortages we are experiencing in Foreign Service officers in the field.

In addition, we are seeking $488 million to continue and enhance our Worldwide Security Readiness Program. This enhancement includes hiring more security personnel, and we have $17 million within the $488 million to do just that.

Our important multiyear program for embassy construction, refurbishment, security and maintenance will continue apace if this budget is approved. $1.3 billion supports this effort 2002, including $665 million for construction of new, secure facilities.

In addition to continuing this ambitious program set in place by my predecessors and the Congress last year, we are using new and more efficient ways to execute this program. For example, as we have notified the Congress, I intend to move the Foreign Buildings Office out from under the Bureau of Administration and put it directly beneath the Under Secretary of State for Management, Mr. Grant Green, a distinguished leader and a management expert, and by the way, a close friend of mine for 20 years, who knows how to run things.

Moreover, to run the Foreign Buildings Office, I have hired another experienced executive, retired Major General Charles Williams, the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Chuck Williams is well known throughout the congressional community, the military community and especially the construction community, both military and civilian, well known for his ability to get construction projects completed on time, under cost and in the most efficient way possible. He built the Dulles Greenway, out not too far from here; he helped refurbish the D.C. school system, did the same thing in New York City; and he has worked with Congress and he is already making a difference in the running of the Foreign Buildings Office. His adaptation of industry best practices to our overall program, plus his skilled management techniques will make this construction program hum. And we are committed, Mr. Chairman, to getting the average cost of embassy construction below the current figure of $100 million per embassy. And if anyone can do it, I know that Chuck Williams can.

It will be no mean feat because, as you are well aware, there are special provisions and requirements for every embassy, and those unique provisions and requirements tend to drive costs up enormously. And we are going to give it all we have got to get the price down and under control.

Along with well-built, secure and modern embassies, we want broad-based Internet access for all of our people. I want every deployee in the Department of State, no matter where they are located throughout the world, to have access to the powerful new Internet technology that is out there, access to the power of the Information Revolution so that they can do their jobs in the most efficient way that we can make possible for them to do those jobs. We also want to modernize our classified information networks, and we have got $210 million in the budget for these two initiatives: universal access to the Internet and modernized classified networks.

On the CEO side of my ledger, then, these are the priorities: people, embassies and information technology. Wrap all three up in a fourth priority called security, and you have the high points of the President's 2002 budget for State operations.

I want to talk about one other change we are making the Department. We are reorganizing the way we manage our finances. When I first arrived at State and looked around during the transition period, I did not find any single authority in charge of all of the Department's financial activity. There was a chief financial officer, but he had no control over the foreign operations portion of the money, two-thirds of the overall budget. And I knew we needed to change that overall situation.

Under our plan to change, we will bring together all our dollars, both those for State operations and foreign operations, and we will put them all under one bureau, headed by an Assistant Secretary of State for Resource Management, and the Assistant Secretary will report directly to the Deputy Secretary. This new bureau will also be responsible for strategic planning so that we can link our budgeting priorities and our budget requests to specific strategic planning objectives that we have for the Department.

These are just the highlights of what we are doing, Mr. Chairman. And I want to close with an observation about the management style that we are going to be using at the State Department. I have hired some very, very experienced people to help me. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and I worked together for many years at the Pentagon. I have delegated to him all the authority that I have, with the exception of a few legally constrained authorities that I cannot delegate.

The reason I did that is I want the Department to see me and my deputy one and the same, totally integrated, both of us trying to be leaders and managers and foreign policy experts. Leadership and management is not something I do every Friday afternoon for an hour or so; it is embedded in everything we do every single day in the State Department. And I wanted them to see that the top team, myself and Deputy Secretary Armitage, are working together on this as a team, on leadership, management, and foreign policy for the President, for the American people.

Similarly, with Grant Green, with our new Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Marc Grossman, a tight team that is working together to provide a new sense of enthusiasm throughout the State Department, to empower all of our Assistant Secretaries, to empower our office directors, to empower our ambassadors, to let them know that they are in the front line of offense out there, getting the work done and making sure that we are a well knitted-up team, from the lowliest -- and it's not the right term -- but the best and the lowest position, consular officer, out there in an embassy somewhere, all the way up to the Secretary of State. One team, all working together, all empowered, all knitted together with the finest information technology, with programs that take care of them, take care of their families, take care of their kids' schooling, so that they know we care about them as they do the work that is needed to be done for the American people and to advance American interests on the world stage.

Mr. Chairman, let me stop at that point, because I think it is much more interesting to get to your questions and find out what you would like to hear from me.

Released on May 3, 2001

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