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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 > 2002 > March

Statement on President Bush's Budget Request for FY 2003

Secretary Colin L. Powell
House Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies
Washington, DC
March 6, 2002

[As Prepared]

As Delivered

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And I do have a full statement, and I appreciate its inclusion in the record in its entirety. And I thank you for your very warm opening remarks, and Mr. Serrano as well for yours. The Grand Concourse always brings back the fondest of memories for me, Mr. Serrano.

And I want to begin, Mr. Chairman, by thanking the committee for the solid support that it has provided to the Department during the first year of my tenure. And I think we have tried to be worthy of that support. We have been aggressive with respect to reform efforts within the Department. I have taken to heart all of the many reports about the Department that have been made over the years, and have been trying not to have another report, but to execute on the items that have been identified for us to execute on: getting the right-sizing of our embassies done, fixing our security problem, fixing our personnel system, getting the right people in the right place at the right time for the right jobs within the Department, opening up the Department to new ideas, making sure that the American people, especially young Americans, see the value of service in the State Department, whether they are in the Foreign Service or Civil Service, or whatever component. And I think we have been pretty successful at that.

General Williams is not here with us right now. He is out checking buildings, I hope; that's what he's supposed to be doing, not sitting in hearings with me, except when you call for him, Mr. Chairman. But he's been doing a great job. I mean, he has really shaken up our whole building construction operation, and, as you know, we have given him a more direct line of authority into the leadership of the Department and we have held him accountable, and he in turn is holding everybody accountable for using the best management techniques available within the commercial building industries, and bring those techniques into the Department. We have reduced the overall costs of our embassies. We have done some very, very smart things with respect to standardization of power plants and things of that nature, and I think we are being very good stewards of the money that you have given to us, the Congress has given to us, the American people have given to us, for embassy construction.

So I can assure you that, as I said to you last year, I am the CEO of the State Department, not just foreign policy advisor, and there's not a day goes by that I don't devote part of my day, along with Deputy Secretary Armitage and Under Secretary Green and other members of my staff, on the leadership and management issues that face the Department. And we're working away at them one at a time.

With respect to public diplomacy, Mr. Chairman, I couldn't agree with you more. We've got to do a better job, and I think we are doing a better job, and we'll continue to do so. And it will get better under the leadership of Under Secretary of State Charlotte Beers, who brings a different kind of experience, new experience, marketing experience, to the Department. Sometimes we get a little criticism about that; what does a marketeer know? Well, we're selling a product, and the product is the value system that we all believe in. We're not selling America as a way of imposing ourselves on somebody else, but a value system that believes in individual rights, democracy, freedom, as a way into this 21st century world that is here before us; that everybody could benefit from being a part of a globalized world, where trade barriers are broken down, where our value systems mean more and more to people around the world.

I am as disturbed as you are over some of the surveys we have seen recently where we haven't been successful in getting that message out. And we've got a tough job ahead of us. As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to some extent contaminates those kinds of surveys, we've got to work on that. So we've got our work cut out for us, but I can assure you that we'll be dedicated to that task.

I also want to assure you, Mr. Serrano, that I take very much to heart the issue of having a Department that represents America. I thank you for what you have done with respect to the Serrano Fellows and the other programs you've sponsored, and you and I have had a chance to sit and talk about all of this, reaching out to Howard University with respect to African American youngsters applying for the Foreign Service, and also to the Hispanic Association of America to help us.

I'm very pleased, just as a little vignette, to say that 4,000 minorities signed up to take the Foreign Service Exam and showed up for the exam, and 652 have passed -- the highest number, I think, probably ever. So we're off to a good start, and we'll continue working in that direction.

With respect to Colombia, I understand perfectly your point, but there's a new situation now. With President Pastrana deciding that he could no longer allow these safe zones to exist, we have to help Colombia save its democracy from narco-traffickers and from terrorists. And we will have to readjust our policies, take a hard look at what we're doing, and see if there are not other ways we can help Colombia protect itself, short of the United States armed forces going in to do it. But there are other things we can do, and that is the subject of intense discussion within the administration now.

And of course, Mr. Serrano, we take very much to heart your concerns, the concerns of all of us, that in an effort to protect ourselves from terrorism, we can't do away with the civil liberties and civil rights that are a hallmark of the American tradition and the American spirit. And we have to find the right balance to make sure we are protecting our people -- because they expect that of their government -- but at the same time, they expect not to have their civil liberties trampled. And so I'm sure as we go forward we will find that right balance.

So let me just conclude that opening statement by saying I thank you, Mr. Chairman, you, Mr.Serrano, all the members of the committee for the strong support that you have provided to us.

As you will recall, at our first budget hearing last year I told you that what we were requesting for 2002 represented a significant increase in the Department's resources for that fiscal year. I also told you that such an increase was a good start, that it was the first fiscal step in our efforts to align both the organization for the conduct of American foreign policy with the dictates, the requirements, of American foreign policy in the 21st century. You heard my testimony, you responded, and we are very grateful. Because of your understanding and generosity, we have made significant progress, and we need to continue that progress in Fiscal Year 2003.

The President's discretionary request for the Department of State and its related agencies for 2003 is $8.1 billion. These dollars will allow us to continue initiatives to recruit, hire, train and deploy the right workforce. The budget request includes $100 million for the next step in the hiring process we began last year. With these dollars, we will be able to bring on board the 631 people you mentioned, and especially within that number, 399 more foreign affairs professionals. And we will be well on our way to repairing a large gap created in our personnel structure over the last ten years and relieve the strain that we put on our people by almost a decade of too few hires, an inability to train properly, and hundreds of unfilled positions.

I want to also mention that as we are staffing up with more people, we are also putting into our Foreign Service Institute a requirement, a more serious requirement, for leadership and management training. So that we're not just creating professionals; we're creating professional leaders, people who will be leaders in the future. And we're making that a hallmark of all of our training and management activities.

By 2004, we hope to have completed our multiyear effort with respect to overseas staffing, to include establishing the training pool I described to you last year that is so important if we are to allow our people to complete the training we feel is needed for them to do their jobs, especially their next jobs. We have to have a little bit of flexibility in the system so people can go into schools and not be removed from a position, so that there is a little bit of flexibility so that we don't have to gap positions while we're training people for those positions.

Next March, I will be back up here briefing you on the results of our overall domestic staffing review. In addition to getting more people on board, we will continue to upgrade and enhance our worldwide security readiness -- even more important, in light of our success in disrupting and damaging the al-Qaida terrorist network.

The budget request includes $553 million that builds on the funding provided from the emergency response fund for the increased hiring of security agents, and for counter-terrorism programs. We will also continue to upgrade the security of our overseas facilities. The budget request includes over $1.3 billion to improve physical security, correct serious deficiencies that still exist, and provide for security-driven construction of new facilities in high-risk posts around the world.

Mr. Chairman, we are right-sizing, shaping up, and bringing smarter management practices to our overseas building program, as I told you we would do so last year. The first change, as you well know, was to put General Chuck Williams in charge and give him Assistant Secretary-equivalent rank. And now his overseas building operation has developed the Department's first long-range master plan, which projects our major facility requirements over a five-year period.

The Overseas Building Office is using best practices from industry, new embassy templates, and strong leadership to lower costs, increase quality, and decrease construction time. As I told you last year, one of our goals was to reduce the average cost to build an embassy, and I believe we are well on our way to doing just that.

And General Williams is making all of our facilities, overseas and Stateside, more secure. By the end of 2002, over two-thirds of our overseas posts should reach minimal security standards, meaning secure doors, windows, and perimeters. We're also making progress in efforts to provide new facilities that are fully secure, with 13 major capital projects in design or construction, another eight expected to begin this fiscal year, and nine more in 2003.

With this budget, Mr. Chairman, we will also be able to continue our program to provide state-of-the-art technology to our people everywhere. Because of your support in 2002, we are well on our way to doing this. We have an aggressive deployment schedule for our unclassified system, which will provide desktop Internet access to over 30,000 State users worldwide in 2003, using 2002 funds. And we are developing our classified connectivity program over the next two years.

We have included -- do you need a break, Mr. Chairman?

CHAIRMAN WOLF: I tell you what. I'm going to go vote, and let the others stay.

SECRETARY POWELL: All right, sir.

CHAIRMAN WOLF: I'll put the gavel to Mr. Rogers, so we can just continue.

SECRETARY POWELL: Okay. We have included $177 million in capital investment for IT requirements. Combined with the $86 million in estimated expedited passport fees, we will have a total of $263 million for our information technology initiatives. Our goal is to put the Internet fully in the service of diplomacy.

With this budget, we will continue to meet our obligations to international organizations, also important as we pursue the war on terrorism to its end. The budget request includes $891 million to fund US assessments to 43 international organizations, active membership of which furthers United States economic, political, security, social, and cultural interests. The budget will also continue to meet our obligations to international peacekeeping activities. The budget request includes $726 million to pay our projected United Nations peacekeeping assessments -- all the more important as we seek to avoid increasing even further our UN arrearages.

And Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I ask for your help in getting the cap lifted so that we can eventually eliminate all of our arrearages. Only by lifting the cap will we avoid continuing to add to the arrearages.

These peacekeeping activities also allow us to leverage our political, military, and financial assets through the authority of the United Nations Security Council, and the participation of other countries in providing funds and peacekeepers for conflicts worldwide.

We will also continue and enhance an aggressive effort to eliminate support for terrorists, and thus deny them safe haven, through our ongoing public diplomacy activities, our educational and cultural exchange programs, and international broadcasting. The budget request includes $287 million for public diplomacy, including information and cultural programs carried out by overseas missions and supported by public diplomacy personnel in our regional and functional bureaus. These resources help to educate the international public on the war against terrorism and America's commitment to peace and prosperity for all nations.

The budget request also includes $247 million for educational and cultural exchanges that build mutual understanding and develop friendly relations between America and the peoples of the world. These activities help build the trust, confidence and international cooperation necessary to sustain and advance the full range of our interests. Such activities have gained a new sense of urgency and importance since the brutal attacks of September. We need to teach the people of the world more about America and America's role in the world. We need to show people throughout the world just who we are and what we stand for, just as the Chairman noted a few moments ago.

Moreover, the budget request includes almost $518 million for international broadcasting, of which $60 million is for the war on terrorism, to continue increased media broadcasts to Afghanistan and the surrounding countries and throughout the Middle East. These international broadcasts help inform local public opinion about the true nature of al-Qaida and the purposes of the war on terrorism, building support thereby for the coalition's global campaign.

Mr. Chairman, on the subject of public diplomacy, let me expand my remarks a little bit. The terrorist attacks of September 11th underscore the urgency of implementing an effective public diplomacy campaign. Those who abet terror by spreading distortion and hate and inciting others take full advantage of the global news cycle. We must take advantage of that same cycle.

Since September 11th, over 2,000 media appearances by State Department officials have taken place. Our continuous presence in Arab and regional media by officials with language and media skills has been unprecedented. Our international information website on terror is now online in seven languages. Internet search engines show that it is the hottest page on that topic. Our 25-page color publication, The Network of Terrorism, is now available in 30 languages, with many different adaptations, including a full insert in the Arabic edition of Newsweek -- right content, right format, right audience, right now -- describes our strategic aim in seeing that US policies are explained and placed in the proper context in the minds of foreign audiences.

Mr. Chairman, beyond the budget request I have just outlined for you, we are working closely with OMB to examine our overall requirements. We believe that there are valid 2002 needs that can not wait for 2003. The administration will bring the specific details of this supplemental request to the Congress in the near future. We have not finished our 2002 supplemental request review yet, but it will be coming to you in the very near future, and there will be a number of priority items that the State Department will have in that supplemental request.

Some of you know my feelings about the importance to the success of any enterprise of having the right people in the right places, and if I had to put one of these priorities at the pinnacle of our efforts, it would be the hiring efforts that I've already described. We must -- we must -- sustain the strong recruitment program we have begun for the last year, and with your support I am sure that we will be successful in that regard.

Mr. Chairman, all of these activities that we have talked about so far this morning have improved morale at the State Department. People see that we care about them. We're giving them secure, safe places in which to work. We are hiring people to help them do their jobs better. We are doing everything we can to let our people know that they are valued members of America's foreign policy team.

While we concentrate on the nation's foreign policy, we have to take care of those who execute it, and not only the Americans, but especially the Foreign Service Nationals. These are an extraordinary group of people we don't talk about often enough, foreigners who work in our embassies. For example, the 60 Afghan employees in Kabul who worked diligently to maintain and protect our facilities throughout the 13 years that the embassy was closed. They worked at personal risk. We were able to get pay to them, but even then, they were working at the risk of their lives. And when we went back into Kabul, the embassy was not in a state of total destruction, as we had expected. Those employees had stood by their jobs, had done a good job, and they are an essential part of the team as well.

I thank you for what you have done to allow me to push forward in that concept of teamwork, all being members of one family. And I ask for your support in getting the $8.1 billion that we need for FY 2003, and also for the foreign affairs budget we will be asking for as well, in this same request for $16.1 billion. And I will also ask your help for the supplemental request that will be coming up in the near future.

Mr. Rogers, I think I will stop at this point, and I'm sure we'll get into specific foreign policy issues in the course of our discussion as members of the committee return from voting.

Released on March 6, 2002

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