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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 > 2003 > February

President's International Affairs Budget for 2004

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Testimony before the House Budget Committee
Washington, DC
February 13, 2003

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I thank you for your opening remarks, and you too, Mr. Moran.

Let me begin by telling you what a pleasure it is for me to be back. And I'm not kidding. It's not, you know, I'm glad to be here, you're the IG. The fact of the matter is it is my responsibility to appear before the Congress to tell you why we need the funds that you are going to provide to us and how we're going to use them, how we're going to be good stewards of the people's treasure, and make sure we apply it in the right way and we are good managers of the funds that you provide to us.

And let me also now at, this moment, express my sincere thanks for the support that this committee and, frankly, all Members of Congress, have provided to the State Department over the last couple of years. We've seen some real improvements in our management of people and the way we're running our overseas building operations, what we're doing with Information Technology. I'll talk about all of that in a moment.

But we couldn't do any of this if we did not have the support of Congress. It was mentioned by Mr. Moran a minute ago that it is not politically attractive to always do this. Well, I'm going to help you make it politically attractive because this really, this function really does support the American people and their dreams and aspirations for a better, more peaceful world.

And some of the issues that the Chairman talked on with respect to HIV/AIDS and poverty and famine, all of which are interlinked and which I will also get into, ultimately affect the American people, a stable world of people committed to democracy more and more and economic freedom. And our supporting those efforts through such programs like the Millennium Challenge Account -- which I'll also talk to -- ultimately, this benefits the American people. We are no longer isolated from these places. If I could figure out a way to get rid of the term "foreign aid" I would do it. It's probably too embedded in literature and history, but it isn't an accurate reflection of what these funds are really used for.

What I would like to do, Mr. Chairman, is I'll talk to the specific issues you mentioned in a moment, but I would like to offer my prepared testimony for the record and then do a summary of that testimony. And then we can get right into your questions and answers, sir.

Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I am pleased to appear before you to testify in support of the Presidentís International Affairs Budget for Fiscal Year 2004. Funding requested for FY 2004 for the Department of State, USAID, and other foreign affairs agencies is $28.5 billion.

The Presidentís Budget will allow the United States to target security and economic assistance to sustain key countries supporting us in the war on terrorism and helping us to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction

Funds will also allow us to launch the Millennium Challenge Account Ė a new partnership generating support to countries that rule justly, that invest in their people, and encourage economic freedom. It will also allow us to strengthen the United States' and global commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS and alleviating humanitarian hardships.

It will also allow us to combat illegal drugs in the Andean Region of South America, as well as bolster democracy in one of that regionís most important countries, Colombia; and reinforce Americaís world-class diplomatic force, focusing on the people, places, and tools needed to promote our foreign policies around the world.

I am particularly proud of the last goal and I am particularly committed to that last goal. Mr. Chairman, for the past two years I have concentrated on each of my jobs -- primary foreign policy advisor to the President and Chief Executive Officer -- the boss, the leader -- of the State Department. And that last goal connects to my leadership responsibilities to make sure that we have a world class diplomatic force.

We are asking for $8.5 billion of the 28.5 to run the Department of State, and let me give you some highlights of that, and begin with our diplomatic force initiative, readiness initiative to bring more people into the Department.

With your assistance, we will hire another 399 professionals this year, about the same number as last year, and over a three-year period it will result in the addition of 1,100 professionals, Foreign Service officers and others, Civil Servants and others, to support the Department's efforts around the world.

I cannot tell you how important this single initiative is to the morale of the Department. But beyond the morale of the Department -- esprit de corps of the Department, allowing us to get our job done. There were years during the 1990s when no one was hired into the Foreign Service. This was a disaster. You can't have a professional service that doesn't have blood, fresh blood, fresh life, coming into it.

Even when I was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and I was cutting 500,000 troops out of the force structure at the end of the Cold War, we still were bringing in second lieutenants and privates. Why? Because if you want a battalion commander in 15 years, you have to bring in a second lieutenant today. If you want a squad leader in nine years, you have to hire a private today.

Yet, in the State Department, even though we know we're going to need ambassadors in the future, we're going to need political counselors in the future, we're going to need all of those professionals in the future we stopped hiring -- for years. We turned that around.

Over the last two years, we have given the Foreign Service written exam to 80,000 young Americans. 80,000 young Americans have stood up and said, "I want to be a part of that outfit, I want to be a part of America's diplomatic force and readiness, I want to be part of our diplomatic offensive troops, out there taking our case to the world." 80,000 youngsters have signed up to take this test. Some of them are not so youngsters. Some of them are kind of old geezers like me. But they all wanted to serve the country.

And the last time we gave the test, of those who passed the test, 38 percent were minorities. So we are drawing from all parts of America's great diversity so that the State Department increasingly, and USAID and all of our other agencies increasingly, look like America and guess what? Look like the rest of the world, as well. Nothing would be more disastrous to my efforts to have somebody say, "Sorry, we're going to line that item out. You can't hire anybody." Don't do that, and I know you won't -- this Committee wouldn't ever think of doing such a thing. But it's been done in the past and so please support my Diplomatic Readiness Initiative with all the energy that you can muster.

It also gives me flexibility to deal with surges that come along, problems that come along, and not constantly stealing from one office or embassy to go take care of a new problem that just emerged in another office or embassy and gives me some flexibility to train people so that I can take them out of their assignments and send them to school and get them the qualifications they need in an increasingly complex world, to get econ officers trained and information specialists trained and get language training. I need some flexibility in the force, and the Diplomatic Readiness Initiative does that for us.

Second, I promised to you a couple of years ago that I was going to make Information Technology available to every, single member of the State Department -- everybody in the Department at every embassy, every mission -- I don't care where it is -- they are going to have an Internet-capable computer, classified, unclassified on their desk so that they can be in this fast-moving world that we live in.

And it was illustrated again to me last week when I spoke at the UN, and within minutes after my speech, Ambassador Boucher, my Press Spokesman lurking here somewhere, and the whole international information program part of the Department of State was translating and immediately uploading it, downloading it, backloading it, sending it to every embassy in the world in every language we could think of. We had brochures coming out to get the message out, and every ambassador being instructed, "Go talk to your counterparts about what the Secretary said."

It's instantaneously done now and that's the way the world is. Looking at the papers the day after the presentation and kind of looking at pictures, you know, a picture of me holding a little vial and all that, and it's kind of cool. But the picture that touched me the most was a picture that was either in The Post or The Times, I can't remember. But it was a picture of an aircraft carrier ready room. You know one of those ready-rooms from the old war movies, all those pilots sitting there getting their instructions on their little clipboards to go out and fly their mission.

But in this instance, it was this ready-room, pilot ready-room -- they looked like F-18 pilots, but they were sitting there and they were all looking at a screen in front them that was of me the day before, or the day before I saw the picture, making my presentation at the UN. Now a lot of people watched this presentation with interest. These guys had more than a passing interest because I was talking about their lives and what they might be doing in the near future.

And they weren't waiting to read it in tomorrow's newspaper. They weren't waiting for some brilliant talking head to tell them what they saw. They were watching it in real time, instantaneously, in the Persian Gulf, aboard an aircraft carrier while I was saying those words. That's the nature of modern Information Technology and modern communications. And I've got to make sure that every serviceperson in the State Department has access to that kind of Information Technology so that they can do their job. And it is for that reason we're making such an investment in modern Information Technology throughout the Department of State.

Finally, with respect to my CEO role, I want to touch on one other area. There are lots of things that I could talk about and will in response to your questions, but I want to talk about something that the Chairman talked about and that was our overseas building operations, how we build our embassies and how we take care of our people, how we secure our facilities and thereby secure our people.

Our people live and work in danger. I lost three members of my State Department family to terrorism last year, and so I've got to take care of our troops just like the military takes care of its troops with force protection. We spend $1.5 billion a year on our embassy programs.

They are now under the control of General Chuck Williams, an old friend of mind of many years duration, who is a Corps of Engineers officer in the Army and is a master of modern construction techniques and knows everything that's going on in the civilian side of construction. We're bringing the best practices from the civilian world into our overseas building operation. Our embassies are now coming in on time, significantly under cost and a program that I think was in some disarray and members of this Committee pointed it out me when I took over, I think is now being run in a very efficient way and we are looking for even better ways to make sure that we are spending that money properly.

Mr. Chairman, as the Principal Foreign Policy Advisor to President Bush I have budget priorities that are a little bit different, of course, than my CEO priorities, and these have to do with our Foreign Policy issues. The 2004 budget proposes several initiatives in this regard that will serve to advance U.S. National Security interests and preserve American leadership. The 2004 Foreign Ops budget that funds programs for State, USAID and other foreign affairs agencies is $18.8 billion. Today, our number one priority is to fight and win the global war on terrorism. The budget furthers this goal by providing economic, military, and democracy assistance to key foreign partners and allies, including $4.7 billion to countries that have joined us in the war on terrorism.

Of this amount, the President's budget provides $657 million for Afghanistan, $460 million for Jordan, $395 [million] for Pakistan, $255 [million] for Turkey, $136 million for Indonesia and $87 million for the Philippines.

As was noted by Mr. Moran, of course, there are other programs being looked at, there are other needs we will have that are not on the President's budget at the moment and will have to be dealt with by supplemental funding at some point in the future.

In Afghanistan, the funding will be used to fulfill our commitment to rebuild Afghanistan's road network. In addition, it will establish security through a national military and national police force, establish broad-based and accountable governance throughout democratic institutions and an throughout an active civil society in Afghanistan, ensure a peace dividend for the Afghan people through economic reconstruction, and we will work closely in all of these regards, in all of these efforts with the United Nations and other international donors.

That's kind of a bureaucratic statement, but the reality is, we should be very proud of what we have done in Afghanistan over the past year and a half. The glass may be half full or half empty depending on your point of view, and it is still a fragile situation, al-Qaida and Taliban elements are still on the loose are we're chasing them down. General Franks and his troops are still working that problem.

But when you look at what we have accomplished, we've put in place a new government responsive to the people. A Loya Jirga has been held. They're getting ready for full elections in the not too distant future. We are constructing roads that connect this country together once again, economically and politically. We are training a national army that is now starting to send battalions out to other parts of the country to provide stability for those other parts of the country to provide stability for those other parts of the country.

A million people have returned to Afghanistan who were refugees in camps in Pakistan and elsewhere. We have allowed women to participate in the life of Afghanistan. I mean, it's incredible. Schools are going up. Hospitals are going up. The international community is unified behind this effort. So even though there are still very, very difficult days ahead for Afghanistan, we should be very proud about what we have done since we took out the Taliban and put al-Qaida to the run.

Mr. Chairman, I also want to emphasize our efforts to decrease the threats posed by terrorist groups, rogue states, and other non-state actors with regard to weapons of mass destruction and related technology. To achieve this goal, we have to strengthen our partnerships with countries that share our views in dealing with the threat of terrorism and in resolving regional conflicts.

The 2004 budget requests $35 million for the nonproliferation and disarmament fund -- more than double the 2003 request. It increases funding for overseas export controls and border security to $40 million and supports additional funding for science centers and bio-chem redirection programs.

The funding increases requested for these programs will help us prevent weapons of mass destruction from falling into the hands of terrorist groups or by states, terrorist groups or states. And it'll do so by preventing the movement across borders and by destroying or safeguarding known quantities of such weapons or source material, in various states such as some of the former states of the former Soviet Union.

The science centers and bio-chem redirection programs support the same goals by engaging former Soviet weapons scientists and engineers in peaceful scientific activities not to allow that knowledge they have in their head to be used for the wrong purposes, but to give them an opportunity to use that knowledge for good and to help their own society to benefit from such knowledge and not use it for weaponry.

The budget also promotes international peace and prosperity by launching the Millennium Challenge Account, which will be funded at $1.3 billion and frankly, this will be a brand new kind of a development aid, of assistance to nations in need. It will go to developing nations, but the difference between it and previous foreign assistance is that this will go to those nations that have made a commitment to democracy, that believe in the rule of law and are demonstrating that relief, that are rooting out corruption, that are committed to market economic activity and that will build the infrastructure of their society to teach children the skills they need for a 21st economy. In other words, those countries that have said, "We are now going to move down the right path. We need help." And the Millennium Challenge Account help will go to those countries greatest in need but also that made this commitment to the right kind of governance and to the values that I've just described. And it will go to helping them build their infrastructure: education, clean water, healthcare systems, those things needed to improve the ability of their people to join the 21st century world.

This budget also offers hope and a helping hand to countries facing health catastrophes, poverty and despair and humanitarian disasters. The budget includes more than $1 million to meet the needs of refugees and internally displaced peoples.

The budget also provides more than $1.3 billion to combat the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. The President's total budget for HIV/AIDS is $2 billion, which includes the first year's funding for the new Emergency Plan for HIV/AIDS Relief that he announced in his State of the Union Address. Those funds will target 14 of the hardest hit countries in Africa and the Caribbean.

We should be very proud about what we have been doing as a nation over the last two years, participating with the Global Health Fund, working with Secretary General Kofi Annan, the President's program with respect to helping mothers with the anti-retroviral drugs, mother-to-child transmission, and now the President's new global initiative directed at these 14 specific nations.

The Chairman talked about this in his opening remarks, and I couldn't agree with him more. HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and other parts of the world, where it will become a serious problem -- India, China -- this is the major challenge before the world today. Notwithstanding all of the other crises we are facing, nothing rises to the challenge that we are presented through this horrible disease and the related diseases that come along with it.

When people start to be weakened by this virus, and when they are also weakened by poverty, when they are weakened because they can't grow food because there is drought or because there are bad political policies, or stupid policies having to do with biotechnology to enhance food production, it all links together. Poverty, famine, HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases -- these all come together to create a catastrophe that is facing the world. Something that the United States recognizes, we're doing a lot about, the whole world needs to recognize and do something about.

And I'm so pleased, Mr. Chairman, that you and members of this Committee are committed to helping us do something about it. It is a challenge for the American people, a challenge we must not step aside from. And anybody who has traveled in Sub-Saharan Africa knows exactly what you were talking about earlier, Mr. Chairman. Orphans, orphans who are sitting there without care providers, without education, with teachers that are dying at a faster rate than their own parents are. A whole level of society being removed. The sexually active level who are also those individuals who are at the peak of their capacity to contribute to their society, 20 through 40. They're supposed to be getting skills. They're supposed to be working. They're supposed to be providing the economic activity within that society. And they're being taken out and you're left with orphans and grandparents. And this is not only a health problem, it is a societal problem, a political problem, a destabilizing problem. It leads to terrorism, as you noted, Mr. Chairman, and leads to all other sorts of social pathologies that, if we don't do something about, we're going to pay the consequences of at some point in the future.

So I certainly applaud your commitment and the commitment of all the members of this committee to help us attack this multi-faceted problem in every way that we can.

Mr. Chairman and colleagues, the budget also includes half a billion for Colombia. This funding will support Colombian President Uribe's unified campaign against terrorists and the drug trade.

To accomplish his goals and to help him requires more than simply funding Colombia itself. We need to help him with the surrounding countries, and that's why our total Andean Counter-Drug Initiative to help Colombia and the other nations in the region, the other nations of the Andean Region, is $731 million. And this will also include resumption of the air bridge denial program to stop internal and cross-border aerial trafficking.

Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, to advance America's interests around the world, we need the dollars in the President's Budget for FY 2004. To Mr. Moran's point, we need the omnibus bill badly, quickly, soon, for 2003, and we hope that action will take place in the next day or two so that we can get on with our efforts and on with our programs.

We have no specific additional needs that we would like to identify for you at this moment, Mr. Moran, but I will go back and check and see if there is any gap or any problem that we have that we should bring to your attention.

Mr. Chairman, I think I'll stop at this point. We all know that we are living in difficult times, but we are also living in times of enormous opportunity. While we worry about Iraq and the Middle East and North Korea and the other issues that I'm sure we'll be discussing here today, I also lean back late at night and think about the opportunities presented by the end of the Cold War and the defeat of communism, the defeat of fascism, and the fact that it is democracy and free economic market programs and philosophies that are moving countries in the right direction. We've got to be there to help them. And we helped them by providing a security shield with our wonderful military forces around the world, but we also helped them by what your State Department and all of its related agencies do every single day, and we also help them when Members of our Congress travel and learn about what's going on in these sometimes seeming faraway places.

This Secretary of State will never criticize any Member of Congress for traveling and taking your staff with you and taking other Members of Congress with you. In my judgment, they're not junkets; they are an essential part of our foreign policy operation around the world. And anybody who doesn't have a passport, I have passport applications with me that I'm more than happy to provide. (Laughter.)

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


Released on February 13, 2003

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