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The President's Budget Request For FY 2005

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Opening Remarks Before the Senate Budget Committee
Washington, DC
February 26, 2004

(10:30 a.m. EST)

As Delivered

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I do have a prepared statement, which I offer for the record.

CHAIRMAN NICKELS: Thank you.

SECRETARY POWELL: And I will summarize that statement and then be ready for your questions.

Before I begin, Mr. Chairman, let me say that we started today on a very sad note with the news that President Boris Trajkovski of Macedonia was in a plane crash, which may have taken the life and others aboard the plane.

He was great friend of the United States. I have spoken to the new acting president and expressed the sympathy of the American people, condolences on behalf of the President and all of the American people.

When I became Secretary of State in January of 2001, one of the first issues I had to deal with was a crisis in Macedonia. The place was coming apart and the new president who was in great difficulty and in anguish as to how to deal with the problems he was facing, and that was Boris Trajkovski; and I became a very good friend of his over the years, and he a good friend of mine. And we worked through the problems in Macedonia to the point now where Macedonia is on a stable footing, the European Union is going to be replacing NATO with respect to providing additional support. We have much to be proud of as to what we have accomplished in Macedonia with our European friends and with the Macedonian people and the Macedonian leaders, especially with President Trajkovski. So he will be greatly missed, and we wish the Macedonian people all the best in this time of tragedy.

Mr. Chairman, let me also take this opportunity to say to you how much I have deeply appreciated your support in the years that you have been in the Senator -- in the Senate, and as a member of this committee, and chairman of this committee. You have been a good friend of the Department.

We've done many things together over many years, Senator. And I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you on behalf of all of the men and women of the State Department for the support that you have provided to us.

And I would like to say to the entire committee, how much I've appreciated the support you have given to the Department in the three years of my stewardship. I made certain promises to the committee when I came in about what we would do to fix management and similar sorts of issues, leadership issues, infrastructure issues within the Department, if you would support our efforts, and you have supported our efforts.

And I think you can see the payoff in what we are doing with respect to our diplomatic readiness initiative, how more and more people are coming into the Department. We've fixed the problems of the previous ten years, when people weren't being recruited. Information technology has been improved. Morale has improved. And it couldn't have been done without the support of this committee and the entire Congress, and I express my appreciation for that, as well.

Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I want to thank you for the opportunity to testify on the State Department's portion of the President's budget request for fiscal year 2005.

The 2005 international affairs budget request for the Department of State, USAID and other foreign affairs agencies as was noted by Senator Conrad totals $31.5 billion, broken down as follows: Foreign Operations, $21.3; State Ops, $8.4; and PL 480 food aid, $1.2 billion; international broadcasting $569 million; and the U.S. Institute for Peace, $22 million.

President Bush's top foreign policy priority remains winning the war on terrorism. And winning on the battlefield with our superb military forces is just one step in this process and one part of this campaign. To eradicate terrorism altogether, the United States must help create stable governments in nations that once supported terrorism, like Iraq and Afghanistan. And we must go after terrorist support mechanisms as well as the terrorists themselves. We must help alleviate conditions in the world that enable terrorists to bring in new recruits.

To these ends, in fiscal year 2005, our foreign affairs agencies will continue to focus on the reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan. We will continue to support our coalition partners to further our counterterrorism, law enforcement, intelligence operations and cooperation. And we will continue to expand democracy and help generate prosperity, especially in the Middle East.

Mr. Chairman, 48 percent of the President's budget for foreign affairs supports the war on terrorism. For example, $1.2 billion supports Afghanistan reconstruction, security and democracy building. More than $5.7 billion provides assistance to countries around the world that have joined us in the war on terrorism. $3.5 billion indirectly supports the war on terrorism by strengthening our ability to respond to emergencies and conflict situations. And finally, $190 million is aimed as expanding democracy in the Greater Middle East, crucial if we are to attack successfully the motivation to terrorism, the roots of terrorism.

Two of the greatest challenges confronting us today are the reconstruction of Iraq and the reconstruction of Afghanistan. So let me first turn to Iraq.

The Coalition Provisional Authority under the leadership of Ambassador Bremer and the Iraqi Governing Council have made great strides in the areas of security, economic stability and growth, and democratization. Iraqi security forces now compromise* more than half of the total security forces in the country, and over time, that percentage will grow.

In addition, the CPA has established, working with the Governing Council, a new Iraqi army, issued a new currency, which is quite stable, and refurbished and equipped schools and hospitals and town centers and all of the other institutions and infrastructure one needs for a democratic society.

And as you know, the CPA is taking steps to return sovereignty to the Iraqi people this summer. We are still committed to a turnover of sovereignty on the 30th of June. Much work remains to be done, working with our coalition partners. We will continue to train Iraqi police, border guards, civil defense corps, and the army, in order to ensure the country's security as we effect a timely transition to democratic self-governance and a stable future.

At the same time, we are helping to build critical infrastructure for the people -- clean water, electricity, reliable telecommunications -- all the systems needed for the basic needs of the people.

All of this work goes on. It's going on with greater and greater effect and efficiency over time. It tends not to get the headlines. But the cellular telephone system is coming up. The landline system is coming up. More and more people are gaining access to clean water. The electricity system is improving, and by the end of the year will be far ahead of anything that existed in the time of Saddam Hussein.

Thousands of brave Americans, in uniform and in mufti, are in Iraq now working tirelessly to help the Iraqis succeed in this historic effort. Alongside their military colleagues, USAID, State Department, Departments of the Commerce and Treasury are working to implement infrastructure, democracy building, education, health and economic development programs. These efforts are producing real progress in Iraq.

The United Nations Secretary General's Special Advisor Lakdar Brahimi, a very distinguished individual, returned from Iraq recently and gave his report to the Secretary General. The Secretary General released the report on Monday of this week, and we have had the report since it went to the Security Council and we've been studying it.

By any measure, the task facing us is going to be difficult and complicated, but it is achievable. We are going to be moving toward elections as fast as we can in Iraq, but before we can get to elections that are done openly and fairly and allow all people in the society to participate, we want to go to an interim authority, an interim sovereign, until we can get full sovereignty on the basis of a constitution and elections of a legislature, and from that process new leaders who enjoy the full support of the Iraqi people.

Creating a democratic government in Iraq will be an enormous challenge, but Ambassador Bremer, working with the Iraqi Governing Council, and now with the United Nations as their full partners, is committed to success, and I think we will be successful. And the State Department is working hard to be prepared to assume a leadership role on the 1st of July when the CPA will go out of existence and we'll have a large embassy requiring new resources to stand up what will be the largest diplomatic presence we have anywhere in the world.

Afghanistan is another high priority for the Administration. The United States is committed to helping build a stable and democratic Afghanistan that is free from terror and no longer harbors threats to our security.

After we and our coalition partners defeated the Taliban government, we faced the daunting task of helping the Afghan people rebuild their country. I remember those first few days when President Karzai went in -- no telephones -- one telephone for the entire government. No money, no accounts, no nothing, no desks, no computers, no nothing.

And in a short period of time in the sweep of history, in just a couple of years, we now have a functioning government that is increasingly reaching out to take greater control over the outlying provinces to bring order throughout the country; a currency that is relatively stable. We are giving more and more technical assistance to Afghanistan so that they can get higher up on the food ladder and on the economic ladder and on the democracy ladder; women being integrated into the society in every way possible; the lives of women and girls are improving so much over the past two years and will improve so much over the years to come.

Since 2001, the United States has rehabilitated 205 schools, 140 health clinics, and trained 13 battalions of the Afghan National Army.

It is still a dangerous situation. We saw five aid workers were killed yesterday by those remnants of the Taliban and other terrorists in Afghanistan, particularly in the southeast part of the country that we know our work is not yet completed. And we are working, as you may have noted in the press recently, with our Pakistani friends to do more with respect to bringing that part of the country under control; also working with our NATO allies to increase NATO presence in the country, increase the number of provincial reconstruction teams that are working in the country so that the countryside can be made safe for democracy and for development efforts.

We are also pleased that we completed the project to pave the road from Kabul to Kandahar and that was successfully done; and a 30-hour journey is now down to just five or six hours. It's not just a road and a journey; we're connecting the country, once again, so it is viable.

While the Afghanistan of today is very different from that of September 2001, there is much left to be done, and we will be participating in a conference in the not-too-distant future with our friends and allies to see what else we need to be doing to help the Afghan people and President Karzai.

The challenges we face in Iraq and Afghanistan are complex, daunting and dangerous. We must not lose sight of the simple fact that two despotic, awful, terrible, miserable, disgraceful regimes are no longer in power either in Kabul or in Baghdad, and both the people of Iraq and the people of Afghanistan have a brighter future to look forward to.

Lives have been spent in this cause -- the brave lives of coalition soldiers and the brave lives of civilians who gave their lives, as well. And we mourn for them, but we will never ever let their families think that they were lost in vain; they were not.

It is a noble cause that they have been involved in, in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and it is up to us now to keep that work moving forward and not to shrink from the challenges ahead, and to recognize all that we have achieved so far.

It is expensive work. As I said two years ago, Senator, we were facing new challenges and it might require additional debt to get ourselves through this period of challenge. That challenge is still with us. We have had to come in for significant supplemental increases for reconstruction efforts, for our defense efforts, and for our international affairs efforts.

And the President is committed to doing everything he can, in accordance with the plan that he has submitted to the Congress, to bring the deficit under control, cutting it in half in the time frame that he indicated. And I can assure you that he recognizes that this is an important task for the Administration.

And so, we all have been told to make our requests as reasonable as we can, to seek no increases that are not necessary, to find savings within our budgets. And I think that's what we have tried to do in the State Department's submission for 2005.

As I mentioned earlier, the 2005 budget for international affairs provides more than $5.7 billion for assistance to countries around the world that have joined us in the war on terrorism including Turkey, Jordan, Afghanistan, Colombia, Pakistan, Indonesia and the Philippines.

While progress has been made attacking terrorist organizations, both globally and regionally, much more remains to be done, and the President's budget supports that effort. A few highlights: $700 million for Pakistan to help advance security and economic cooperation and opportunity for Pakistan's citizens, including a multi-year educational support program; $461 million for Jordan; $577 million for Colombia to support President Uribe's unified campaign against drugs and terrorism.

September 2003, at the United Nations President Bush said, "All governments that support terror are complicit in a war against civilization. No government should ignore the threat of terror because to look the other way gives terrorists a chance to regroup and recruit and prepare, and all nations that fight terror as if the lives of their people depend on it will earn favorable judgment of history." We are helping countries to that judgment.

Two weeks ago, the President spoke at the National Defense University and spoke about another threat that we are facing, the threat of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction technology. The President described how we have worked for years to uncover one particular nefarious network, that of Mr. A.Q. Khan.

Men and women of our own and other intelligence services, especially the United Kingdom, were able to understand that network and provide information about A.Q. Khan to other nations. And we now know that he was providing, that network of his were providing nuclear technology and information to Libya, Iran and to North Korea.

At the NDU speech that the President gave, he proposed specific measures to take to strengthen the world's efforts against networks such as A.Q. Khan and others who would proliferate weapons of mass destruction knowledge and technology around the world.

We are hard at work on that. We've seen results. You can be very proud, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, of the fact that as a result of U.S. and UK efforts, Libya came to a conclusion. As they looked around the world, they saw that the United States and coalition partners were ready to take actions against nations such as Iraq.

But I think Libya did more than that. They looked and said, "We have spent millions and millions of dollars to acquire the wherewithal to perhaps someday acquire a nuclear weapon. We have spent millions and millions of dollars to produce chemical weapons. We have looked into biological weapons technology. What has it gotten us? It's made us a pariah on the face of the earth. Nobody will deal with us. Nobody will invest in us. Nobody will come here. We're seen as nothing but supporters of terrorism and procurers of weapons of mass destruction. What has it done for us? Has it made us safer? No. Made us more secure? No. Fixed our health care system? No. Made us more able to participate in a 21st century economy? No."

And so Colonel Qadhafi decided this was the wrong way to go and he got in touch with us and our friends from the United Kingdom. An arrangement was worked out and you know the rest. He is cooperating fully in giving up these programs. Much of the material that he acquired is being sent back out of the country. We have possession of quite a bit of it and we learned a great deal about A.Q. Khan and the other proliferators in the world.

And we hope that this will be a signal to other countries around the world that it is fool's gold. It is ridiculous to invest in these kinds of technologies, because you will not scare the United States of America. You will not scare our coalition partners. All you're doing is denying yourselves the opportunity for a better relationship with the United States and with the rest of the civilized world.

Mr. Chairman, moving on, on Monday of this week, Ambassador Tobias, Randy Tobias, who now heads up our Global Aids effort, Secretary Thompson, USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios and I rolled out the strategy for our Global Emergency Plan, the President's Emergency Plan for HIV/AIDS relief -- $350 million in contracts to some of the NGOs and private organizations who will be carrying out the fight at the grassroots level.

Making that announcement on Monday was a thrilling moment for me, and the result of a lot of hard work on the part of Secretary Thompson, and Administrator Natsios, and Ambassador Tobias and all of my colleagues in the State Department and so many others.

With this program, the President has once again indicated his commitment to go after one of the great, great threats to civilization and that's HIV/AIDS. 8,000 people a day are dying as a result of HIV/AIDS, and we're going to do something about it. This $15 billion program is dedicated to go after the source of this disease. It is also intended to educate people how to protect themselves from the disease and, for those who have acquired the disease, to provide them with the wherewithal to live a life that is still of a quality nature. It's going to help those who have been orphans by the disease. It's going to do everything we can to try to get this disease under control and educate the world about the nature of this disease.

But it takes money, and we're very proud of the program that we have put forward to the Congress. We are very proud that the Congress has seen fit to support the first year of this program, and I hope that it will support the program in the years to come.

Another part of the President's agenda for the world has to do with the Millennium Challenge Account, an account where we will take American taxpayer dollars and make those dollars available to developing nations. But, in this instance, only those developing nations that are committed to democracy, committed to the rule of law, committed to ending corruption, committed to market reforms and market economic policies. And we are standing up that corporation. I am the Chairman of the Board of Directors and Mr. Paul Applegarth has just been nominated by the President to lead the corporation. We had our first board meeting not too long ago at the beginning of this month and we're ready to go to work. And we appreciate the Congress for the $1 billion it has made available in this first year.

Mr. Applegarth and Ambassador Tobias were over at my home the other evening for a little supper. They are both sort of road running, as we say in the military. They are working here. Their families are still at home in another part of the country. And we just sat and talked. And the longer the three of us talked, the more I could see the synergy that will exist between what each of them is doing, because they go together. Developing countries are doomed if they don't do something about HIV/AIDS, and people who are suffering from HIV/AIDS are doomed if their countries are not doing something about poverty alleviation and getting into the 21st century world with the rule of law and with the right kind of development policies.

And so these two programs will reinforce one another and are essential parts of the President's strategy for moving forward. They take money, but it's money well spent and it shows America's commitment to the developing world, especially the developing world in Sub-Saharan Africa.

There are so many programs like that in the budget that we are asking you to support. It does reflect an increase. It's one of the most significant increases, as Senator Conrad noted, in the discretionary part of the budget. But, you know, we really are on the front lines of foreign policy with our programs. USAID, the diplomats that are doing such a great job around the world, they are on the front line of foreign policy. They are the ones that are carrying our value system out to the rest of the world. They subject themselves to the kinds of dangers that their military colleagues do, whether it's our Ambassador Jim Foley in Haiti today, who is facing a difficult situation, or it was all the other ambassadors that have passed through my office recently: Our Ambassador to Georgia, who helped the Georgian people go through a crisis last November and have a president step down and create circumstances working with the new leadership of Georgia so that a new president could take office that was democratically elected, and he met with President Bush the other day; our Ambassador in Liberia, who was faced with a very difficult situation last year, as people were firing at his embassy, as dead bodies were being placed before the embassy. But we worked with the Liberians; we worked our way through that.

And now Liberia is on a path, hopefully, to peace and stability. And we had a donors conference at the UN a few weeks ago; we raised $500 million for Liberia. It was American political activity, a little bit of American military strength, American support for regional solutions, American support for a political compromise that showed us a way forward.

And I could go to country after country around the world where our wonderful diplomats, working alongside so many other great Americans from all of the agencies of government, work hard to serve the interests of the American people. And so when you support our budget, you're supporting that kind of effort. And you're bringing reconciliation and peace to places like Libya, Iraq, Georgia, Liberia. We're working hard in Haiti today to try to find a solution to that difficult problem.

Our diplomats are hard at work in Beijing today with the North Koreans, the Chinese, the South Koreans, the Japanese and the Russians. And the results of the first two days' meeting are positive; there's a positive attitude. There's a promising attitude that's emerging from those meetings, and hopefully we can move in the right direction there.

Diplomacy tends not to be something that happens overnight. You don't see your successes right away. You see day after day after day of failure and then suddenly you get a breakthrough. And that kind of dogged, determined work is what the Department is all about.

Because of what you did for us over the last several years, we have tens of thousands of American youngsters wanting to be a part of this Department. 30,000 people a year are now signing up to join the Foreign Service. They want to be a part of America's team on the front line of foreign policy and it's because you have said that we're going to invest in information technology, we're going to invest in the benefits that you deserve for going out and serving your nation. Well, they're responding and they're serving their nation.

And so, in conclusion, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, let me just say, keep supporting us, because I think you're getting a hell of a return on the investment that the American people place in our international affairs accounts. And I promise you that as long as I am there with my team, and Deputy Secretary Armitage and Under Secretary Grant Green and all the others and Administrator Natsios, I promise you that we will be good stewards of the people's treasure. I am not spending my money; I'm spending American taxpayer money. And I know that we also have to go in debt to finance some of our activities right now. We're all sensitive to that and we're all doing what we can to give you the best return on your investment. And we're all working with the President to get the deficit down and to the put the nation on the kind of balanced financial footing that Senator Conrad spoke to earlier.

Mr. Chairman, I'll just stop at this point and be available for your questions.

*…Iraqi security forces now comprise

2004/202


Released on February 26, 2004

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