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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 FY 2003 International Affairs Budget

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Senate Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, and the Judiciary
Washington, DC
March 12, 2002

As Prepared

As Delivered

(10:00 a.m. EST)

SECRETARY POWELL: This is my seventh hearing in the course of hearings this year, and I appreciate the opportunity to get right into it. And, Mr. Chairman, it is a pleasure to once again be before the committee, and thank you for accepting my testimony in its fullness and making it a part of the record. And I would like to give an abbreviated statement, and then get right to your questions.

As many of you will recall, at my first budget testimony to this committee last May, I told you that what I was asking for at that time was really just the first fiscal step in our efforts to align both the organization for the conduct of America's foreign policy with the dictates and demands of the modern world, and that there are more fiscal steps to come.

And I told you that, as Secretary of State, 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 in both roles, 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 in the name of the American people.

And you heard my testimony last May, and you responded, and we are grateful. Because of your understanding and the generosity of the Congress, we have made significant progress. And now I am here to tell you about the second fiscal step so we can continue to make progress in Fiscal Year 2003.

The President's discretionary request for the Department of State and Related Agencies for Fiscal Year 2003 International Affairs is $8.1 billion. These dollars will allow us to continue initiatives; to recruit, hire, train and deploy the right work force. 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 into the Department 399 more foreign affairs professionals, as well as other technical experts, and be well on our way to repairing a large gap in our personnel structure.

This gap has put enormous strain on our people, as they have had to deal with a decade of too few hires, an inability to train properly, and hundreds of unfilled positions. By Fiscal Year 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 -- the training pool that's important so we have some flexibility in the system to send people in school without keeping them out of jobs they need to be doing. A "schools" account, so to speak. And next March, I will be back up here briefing you on the results of our 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 at 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 last year. The first change we made, as you well know, sir and members of the committee, was to put retired General Chuck Williams in charge and give him assistant secretary equivalent rank and a more direct reporting chain up to the top. 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.

Mr. Chairman, I know that General Williams briefed you in mid-February. He told you how the OBO is using best practices from industry, new embassy templates and strong leadership to lower costs, increase quality, and decrease construction time. And those aren't just words; we are actually seeing results against those standards.

And as I told you last year, one of our goals is to reduce the average cost to build an embassy. And I believe we are well on our way to doing that. 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 have reached minimal security standards, meaning secure doors, windows and perimeters. We are 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, provide state-of-the-art information 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 Fiscal Year 2003, using 2002 funds.

I'm determined to see this happen. I'm determined to use the power of the information technology revolution to serve America's foreign policy interests. When President Bush gave his State of the Union Address a few weeks ago, as the last word was coming out the President's mouth, it was being translated into six different languages and being broadcast around the world and being downloaded at all of our embassies. By 30 minutes after the completion of the speech, transcripts of the speech in seven different languages were being "Internetable" downloaded into our embassies all around the world.

It is that speed, that agility, that quickness of response that we have to get throughout the Department, not just in delivering speeches, but in communicating with each other, connecting with one another, responding to the 24-hour a day news cycle that we now have, and making sure that we are on the cutting edge of diplomacy, we are the front line, the offensive line of our foreign policy efforts around the world.

We have included $177 million in the Capital Investment Fund for IT requirements. Combined with the $86 million in estimated expedited passport fees, we will have a total of $263 million for our IT initiatives. Our goal, as I said, is to put the Internet fully in the service of diplomacy.

Mr. Chairman, we want to continue to meet our obligations to international organizations, also more important as we pursue the war on terrorism to its end. We are very proud of the work that has been done by our coalition partners in this campaign against terrorism. You saw it there yesterday when the President was speaking, to see all of those ambassadors on stage representing the coalition, and the three ambassadors who spoke so movingly of how they were with us in this campaign.

We have to be with them as well in the international activities that we have committed ourselves to. So the budget request includes $890 million to fund US assessments to 43 international organizations. Our active membership in these organizations furthers US economic, political, security, social and cultural interests. We also want to 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.

Mr. Chairman, I ask for your help in lifting the cap on our assessments so that we can eventually eliminate all of our arrearages and not let them continue to build up. These peacekeeping activities 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 efforts, our educational and cultural exchange programs, and through international broadcasting. The budget request includes $287 million for public diplomacy, including information and cultural programs carried out by our 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 on terrorism and America's commitment to peace and prosperity for all nations.

As we have seen in recent weeks and months, Mr. Chairman, we haven't been doing a good enough job in taking our case to the people of the world, and we're going to do a better job. My new Under Secretary Charlotte Beers, Public Diplomacy Under Secretary, she comes with great experience from the civilian world in marketing and taking a message out, taking a product out. We've got a great message. We've got a great product: the humanitarian values upon which this nation is founded. We've got to do a better job of reaching out.

The budget request also includes $247 million for educational and cultural exchanges where we take people from other lands, bring them here, let them go to our schools, let them participate in activities with our families and with our communities. And they go back and take those values with them. It is a long-term investment in a better future. 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 more about America to the world. We need to show people who we are and what we stand for, and these programs do just that.

Moreover, the budget request includes almost $518 for international broadcasting, of which $60 is for the war on terrorism to continue increased media broadcasts to Afghanistan, 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 for the coalition's global campaign.

Let me just say a bit more about public diplomacy. These attacks just underscored the urgency of implementing this public diplomacy campaign in the Middle East. Since September 11th, over 2,000 media appearances have taken place by State Department officials. Our continuous presence in Arabic and regional media is necessary, and we are determined to do more of it.

We are looking for unusual ways of getting our word out. My staff said to me, "Well, why don't you go on MTV and speak to the MTV audience?" Seventeen to 25 years of age, all around the world, 33 different MTV channels that touched something like 146 countries. And so I did it. And they gave me an hour to go on and talk to young people assembled in six different locations around the world, as well as in the studio I was in here in Washington, and went for 60 minutes and it was going well, so they did it for 90 minutes. Ninety straight uninterrupted minutes talking to 346 million households in 146 countries through 33 MTV stations. And we talked about everything. Kids are not like adults. They will ask you what's on their mind. They will call it out. They will take you to account, and they don't want to hear snowy answers. It's the kind of exposure our officials should be doing more and more of.

Now, I happened to make news in an area that I had not intended to make news. Be that as it may, the rest of --

CHAIRMAN HOLLINGS: And you've been explaining it to the adults ever since back here. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY POWELL: But, nevertheless, as you know, I do not step back one inch from what I said because it was the right thing for those young people to hear around the world.

But they also heard about American values systems. They also heard why we are not the Satan of the world; we're the protector of the world. They also heard that America over the last ten years has rescued Muslims in Kuwait, rescued Muslims in Kosovo, rescued Muslims in Afghanistan. We go to no nation to take land. We go to no nation to oppress people. And that's a message they need to hear as well.

And so it's those kinds of opportunities we're seeking in the Department, that take us out of the sort of old tried-and-true methods, into new methods and new ways of communicating, without abandoning the tried and the true.

The budget request I've just outlined for you deals with our overall requirements for 2003. There are also some valid requirements that we have in 2002 that can't wait for 2003, and so as you might well imagine, we are working with OMB on a supplemental request. That will be coming to the Congress in due course, and the specific details are not yet available.

Mr. Chairman, all of these State Department and Related Agency programs and initiatives are critical to the conduct of America's foreign policy. Some of you know my feelings about the importance of putting the right people in the right place at the right time, and that remains my number one objective with respect to the management of the Department, to bring new people in.

We had a two-fold increase, a 100 percent increase, in the number of people applying for the Foreign Service Exam last September -- three times as many minorities as ever before. We will bring in more minorities in this next tranche of youngsters coming into the Department than ever before. And we're going to keep doing that until we have a State Department that is fleshed out in all the positions, people who are well motivated and morale is high, and a State Department, which looks like all of America. That is our greatest strength, our diversity, and I want that diversity to be reflected throughout the State Department, so we can give that example to the rest of the world.

Mr. Chairman, I want to close by thanking you and the members of the Committee -- and frankly, the entire Congress -- for the support that you have provided to me and to the Department during my first year of service as Secretary of State. And I hope that we will continue to enjoy your strong support, and I hope that you will continue to reward our stewardship of the Department.

Stewardship means a lot to us. We want to take care of the people entrusted to our care, make sure we're accomplishing what the American people want us to accomplish, and make sure that we are good stewards of the resources provided to us by the American people through their Congress.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

 


Released on March 12, 2002

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