HEARING OF THE HOUSE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
SUBJECT: STRIKING THE APPROPRIATE BALANCE: THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT'S EXPANDING ROLE IN FOREIGN ASSISTANCE
CHAIRED BY: REP. HOWARD L. BERMAN (D-CA)
WITNESSES: GENERAL MICHAEL W. HAGEE, USMC (RETIRED), FORMER COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS; NANCY LINDBORG, PRESIDENT, MERCY CORPS; REUBEN BRIGETY, PH.D., DIRECTOR OF THE SUSTAINABLE SECURITY PROGRAM, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS ACTION FUND; PHILIP L. CHRISTENSON, FORMER ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR, UNITED STATES AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
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REP. HOWARD L. BERMAN (D-CA): The committee will come to order.
Before the hearing starts, I have a few small housekeeping items. I'm most pleased to welcome back, although apparently not personally, Lynn Woolsey, who was appointed to the committee last week. She served as a member of the committee in the last Congress and I'm sure I speak for all my colleagues when I say I look forward to working with her again on the committee this Congress. Without objection, she is appointed to serve on the African Global Health Subcommittee, on which there is a vacancy made by the leave of absence taken by Adam Smith.
Second, in light of the changes in the membership request, without objection, the size of the Middle East and South Asia Subcommittee will be conformed to its current membership.
I'd like to welcome our distinguished panel of witnesses today for the third in a series of hearing that the committee will convene on the foreign assistance reform. In the last Congress, the full committee held two hearings addressing this issue and our subcommittees held several others.
One observation that repeatedly came up during those hearing was the Defense Department's increasing role in foreign assistance. We have heard the same explanation for this over and over again. DOD is filling the vacuum left by the State Department and USAID, which lack the capacity to carry out their diplomatic and development functions. There is no doubt that these agencies have been weakened by a severe shortage of resources. For example, USAID has only about 2,500 permanent staff today, compared to 4,300 in 1975.
The agency is responsible for overseeing hundreds of infrastructure projects around the world, yet employs only five engineers. They have only 29 education specialists to monitor programs in 87 countries. Likewise, the State Department lacks resources to fill critical diplomatic posts. Today the agency has a 12 percent vacancy rate in overseas foreign service positions and an even higher vacancy rate here in the United States. This hollowing out of the State Department cripples its ability to aggressively pursue and protect American interests abroad.
President Obama's fiscal year 2010 international affairs budget request, which I strongly support, and I hope my colleagues will, too, represents an important step forward in addressing these weaknesses. And for our part, the committee plans to tackle these troubling capacity issues when we take up the State Department Authorization Bill and foreign assistance reform legislation later this year.
But beyond capacity and resources, there are some deeper issues I'd like to examine today. Is providing military assistance to a foreign country a foreign policy decision that should be the primary responsibility of civilian agencies with appropriate Defense Department involvement in implementation, or is it a national security mission that should be planned and carried out by the Pentagon? Does DOD have such a comparative advantage in performing certain nontraditional defense missions that it should be carrying on activities previously reserved for civilian agencies? And what are the implications of putting a military face on development and humanitarian activities?
How does this affect the way we are viewed in the world and what is the practical impact on USAID's ability to carry out development projects? The Department of Defense has always played an important role in carrying out certain security assistance activities, particularly implementing military training and military sales directed by the Department of State. However, DOD's role significantly expanded in the contest of Iraq and Afghanistan, where they took on a direct role in planning, funding and implementing military and police training and other non-military activities.
And beyond these two conflicts, the Pentagon began requesting and receiving authority to conduct similar activities in other parts of the world. DOD's goal was to address irregular security threats on a global scale, threats they argue did not fit neatly into traditional State or Defense Department missions, and thus required new tools of engagement. These included global training equip authority, also known as the Section 1206 program, a worldwide stabilization and reconstruction, also known as the Section 1207 Program, and numerous new training programs directly managed by the Defense Department.
In addition, some existing authorities were expanded, including the Combatant Commanders' Initiative Fund and Overseas Humanitarian Disaster and Civic Assistance. DOD's argument that these programs are justified by military necessity should be given significant deference. Indeed, I can think of many situations in which it might make sense for military commanders to get involved in activities that, in peace time, would be considered foreign assistance. However, many questions remain regarding utilities and implications of such programs.
For example, on several occasions, this committee has raised concerns about the use of Section 1206 funds. In some cases, it appears they've been used for programs with only a tenuous link to counterterrorism. In others, it looks more like a traditional diplomatic tool designed to curry influence with potential friends. In the development context, critics have argued the DOD's role erases the distinction between military personnel and civilians carrying out similar development activities, ignores development best practices, such as sustainability and effectiveness, and puts a military face on inherently civilian programs. It can also result in waste, fraud and abuse, which has been well-documented by the office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq reconstruction.
Interestingly, in a letter attached to a report submitted last week on one of DOD's international programs, the Pentagon stated, "Humanitarian assistance activities continue to provide significant peace time engagement opportunities for combatant commanders and U.S. military personnel, while also serving the basic economic and social needs of people in the countries supported.
" The question remains, should not peace time engagement efforts be carried out by USAID, our nation's premiere development agency? And should our military be responsible for performing the mission of civilian agencies? Do we really want to ask men and women who go to war to do the mission of both defense and state?
Some have suggested a national development strategy would serve as a useful mechanism to help coordinate and establish appropriate roles for various agencies and provide for an assistance. One of our witnesses supports such a strategy in her written statement. I welcome this hearing today as an opportunity to shed light on the many important questions surrounding the military's growing role in foreign assistance.
And I now turn to my friend and ranking member, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen, for her opening statement.
REP. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN (R-FL): Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman and thank you for yielding me the time.
There have been successes in international assistance efforts over the past half century. The green revolution significantly increased food production. Ongoing efforts have raised child survival rates around the world and survival and prevention of HIV-AIDS is on the rise. We have helped develop and strengthen independent civil society and fostered market based economies in emerging democracies. Nevertheless, I think that many would agree that the results of decades of foreign aid provided not just by the United States but by European states, by the U.N. development agencies, by the World Bank and other regional development banks have been disappointing.
In many areas of the world, we wonder why the significant aid provided has not produced the outcome we all want: stable, secure, free, prosperous states. Analysts and policy makers refer to failed or failing states, and in some instances, countries of conflict or at risk falling into conflict, all despite our past and continuing assistance to those states. In conflict situations, we must give our military the tools it needs to help win the support of local populations and fight the threats to U.S. national security.
I support the military in providing urgent humanitarian aid and in providing assistance to our allies to help fight international narco-trafficking and global Islamic militants. However, providing the Defense Department with more of a role in providing assistance for the development of impoverished countries raises concerns. It is not because it might prove difficult to coordinate aid provided by our military, with aid provided by our civilian agencies, but rather, if the underlying concepts and approaches for development assistance are faulty, and the strategy is based on archaic models, then the Defense Department may prove no more successful at achieving long term developmental goals than our civilian agencies have been.
I am, therefore, not sure that the proposals put forth, such as creating a new aid program for reconstruction and stabilization, or those calling for more personnel, or a significant increase in funding, will prove any more productive. Some of the programs being implemented by the State Department's new reconstruction and stabilization office look a lot like the kind of programs that AID has had in place, and that the State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement has already implemented for many years. We also should recall that not just the United States, but many other donor countries and agencies have contributed major amounts of assistance over the decades with mixed results.
Providing more funds and more staff may produce a marginal improvement in the immediate term, but it is questionable whether this would ensure long term sustainable progress in light of the results of the past 50 years. We understand the desire by the State Department and AID to reclaim their dominance and counter the growing engagement of the Defense Department in providing assistance, but we should not rush to judgment on such proposals. We first need a careful assessment of our performance in the last five decades, of our current programs, of our current structures, and work towards real comprehensive reform of our general personnel and procurement systems.
The majority or our aid programs are operating on the basis of a post World War II approach and concepts that have had their roots in the 1950s. If we want to successfully help others, then such concepts need to be updated. Flawed assumptions about how to promote the development of impoverished countries need to be addressed. Otherwise, we may find that we will continue to provide significant taxpayer funds, while the impoverished states that we seek to aid continue to fail, regardless of which of our agencies we use to provide that assistance.
I hope that our witnesses today will take a moment to consider that overriding question while they provide us with their views on the proper role of the military in providing assistance overseas. I'd like to give my remaining one minute to Congressman Smith, if I could, Mr. Chairman.
REP. BERMAN: Mr. Smith.
REP. CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH (R-NJ): Thank you very much, to my friend, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
Let me just say that over the many years, and I've been in Congress 29 years, have observed that the military's finest role is often in the emergency situation. I was there to provide comfort when the Kurds were escaping. I was there three days after it happened, joined friends, some of the colleagues, on the USS Abraham Lincoln, when, without our help and the helicopters that were bringing emergency aid to those in Banda Aceh and on that tsunami affected area, many lives would have been lost, and then most recently in Georgia, where the military stepped up and provided an enormous amount of help and then passed the baton in a timely fashion to the NGOs and to the government in an almost seamless transition.
Over the years, that has been the key, I think, and I hope we would never lose the fact that when it comes to the ability to muster medicines and food and all of those things that make life possible during an emergency, no one does it better than the military and then for a more sustainable approach, in comes the NGOs and those that do it so well. I would hope that we would emphasize that, going forward. Obviously our mission as the military remains first and foremost, the defense of our nation, but as you point out in your statement, General Hagee, there are three pillars of smart power: coherent, coordinated, and adequately resourced. I would add a fourth, and that would be cultural sensitivity so that we never impose values that are antithetical to the local population, except when it comes to fundamental human rights. Thank you.
REP. BERMAN: Oh, (off mike).
REP. ROS-LEHTINEN: If Mr. Burton could have my --
REP. DAN BURTON (R-IN): I would just like to say in the 29 seconds that I have here that one of my major concerns is one of our best allies in the world, Israel, is in grave danger over there, and I hope that the Defense Department will do everything they can to make sure they have all of the tools necessary to ward off any kind of an attack from Iran or anybody else. They're our big ally and we need to support them.
REP. BERMAN: The time of the gentle lady has expired. Two of our witnesses have to leave at noon. We may be interrupted by a couple of votes. Does anybody have a one minute or can we go right to the witnesses? Great. I will now introduce the witnesses.
We have a really exceptionally talented panel with us today to discuss the Defense Department's expanding role in foreign assistance. General Michael Hagee served as the 33rd Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corp from 2003 to 2006. During almost 39 years of service as a marine, he commanded at every level, including platoon, company, battalion, marine expeditionary unit division and marine expeditionary force. He served as executive assistant to the deputy secretary of defense, executive assistant to the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, the liaison to the presidential envoy to Somalia and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
General Hagee serves on the boards of several U.S. international corporations and is a member of the U.S. Department of Defense Science Board and the National Security Advisory Council for the Center for U.S. Global Engagement and the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign. Graduating with distinction from the United States Naval Academy in 1968, he received a commission in the U.S. Marine Corp as an infantry officer. He holds a master's degree in electrical engineering and a master's degree in national security studies.
Nancy Lindborg is the president of Mercy Corps, an international relief and development organization that operates in challenging transitional environments around the globe, including Iraq, the Sudan, Afghanistan, the Balkans, North Korea and tsunami affected areas of southern Asia. Ms. Lindborg currently serves as coresident of the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign Board and is a member of the USAID's advisory committee on voluntary foreign aid. I'm not quite sure what mandatory foreign aid is, and I have not proposed making it an entitlement program.
She graduated with honors from Stanford University with a B.A. in English literature. She also holds an M.A. in English literature from Stanford and an M.A. in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Philip Christensen spent half his career in foreign affairs with the executive branch and half with the House African Subcommittee and as staff director of the Senate subcommittee on Africa. In the executive branch, he was appointed a career foreign service officer in October, 1970 at the State Department and served overseas at the U.S. Embassies in Vientiane, Laos, and in Brussels, Belgium and as assistant administration at USAID.
In 2006-2007, he served as a senior advisor to the Health Commission, counseling on matters relating to African development and personnel and procurement practices of U.S. foreign aid agencies. He is a 1971 graduate of Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service.
Reuben Brigety, II, is the director of the Sustainable Security Program at the Center for American Progress. His work focuses on the role of development assistance in U.S. foreign policy, U.S. national security, human rights, and humanitarian affairs. Prior to joining American Progress, he served as a special assistant in the bureau for democracy conflict and humanitarian assistance at USAID and was a researcher with the arms division of Human Rights Watch.
Before joining Human Rights Watch, Mr. Brigety was an active duty U.S. naval officer and held several staff positions in the Pentagon and in fleet support units. He is a distinguished midshipman graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy where he earned a B.S. in political science with merit and served as a brigade commander. He also holds a Ph.D. in international relations from Cambridge University, England. Thank you all for being here, and General Hagee, why don't you start? You can summarize your written testimony, and we look forward to hearing from you.
GEN. MICHAEL W. HAGEE: Great. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you both for inviting me here to discuss what I think is a very important issue, especially today. I assume that my written statement will be submitted for the record, so I --
REP. BERMAN: All the prepared testimony will be included in the record of this hearing.
GEN. HAGEE: That's great. So I don't intend to summarize that. I'll just say a couple of words here, to bring my experience to bear on this particular issue. It may surprise you that a former commandant of the Marine Corp and an individual who was in the military for a 43 years, a Marine almost for 39 years, is here suggesting, arguing, supporting that we need to increase the resources for our foreign assistance and for the State Department. And that comes from years of experience on the battle field.
We have the best military in the world. And these young men and women out there today, they get it. They know that there's something more important than themselves, and they do unbelievable things every single day. In many cases, things that they were not trained for, educated for, but they do it, and I'm really quite proud of them as I know everyone on this committee is. But when you have this great big wonderful hammer, everything appears to be a nail when you have a problem. And I think sometimes that's what we see. Everything sitting out there is a nail and we want to use this hammer on it.
We can, as Mr. Smith said, bring peace, stability to a chaotic situation. He talked about, Mr. Smith talked about Provide Comfort. I was in Somalia with General Zinni who was also in Provide Comfort. At that particular point in time and we came in on the 10th of December, there were several hundred Somalis dying every single day and they were fighting one another. In 14 days, two weeks, we stopped that. We stopped the dying, we stopped the fighting. By "we", I mean the United States military and some of our coalition partners that came in at that time.
But then they look for us to provide some assistance and some development. We had NGOs there on the ground. It was really uncoordinated, and primarily, thanks to General Zinni, who learned in Provide Comfort, I think we set up one of the first CMOC, Civilian Military Operation Centers, and started the coordination with the NGO's and other individuals who were on the ground. Ambassador Bob Oakley was there with two, two foreign service officers, so most of the heavy lifting, of course, was done by the military. At that point in time, I would argue that it was time to pass it over to civilian leadership, but the military stood up and did what needed to be done there.
Really, all elements of national power need to be brought to bear, especially in situations that we have today. As I said, the military can stabilize but the other elements of national power, especially our diplomacy, our foreign assistance, our economic aid, need to be brought to bear in some of these very sophisticated and complex problems. I'm not sure, in fact I know, from my experience on the battlefield, they don't have the proper resources. And by resources, I mean the capacity, I mean the capability, I mean the education and I hope we're able to talk about some of these points during the general question and answer period.
In the area of national security, I can think of no other issue more important to this nation right now, than the one we're talking about, and that is how do we properly resource all the elements of national power, and how do we assure that they are properly coordinated so they can carry out the goals and ideas of our national security administration?
Mr. Chairman, I look forward to your questions.
REP. BERMAN: Thank you very much, General. Ms. Lindborg?
MS. LINDBORG: Thank you very much, Chairman Berman, Ranking Member Ms. Ros-Lehtinen and members of the committee. I very much appreciate the opportunity to be here today. I think this is a critical topic and I very much applaud your leadership in tackling this. And the opening statements, all of which were very thoughtful, and I think, raising exactly the right questions. We have a pivotal political moment today. There is, I think, rising consensus, both here in Washington and beyond, that we as a nation have an opportunity and a need to rebalance development, diplomacy and defense and find ways to apply those to meet the critical foreign policy challenges ahead.
As you mentioned, Mr. Berman, I'm here as the president of Mercy Corps. We work in some of the toughest environments around the world, where often the only ex-patriots on the ground are NGO workers, journalists and the military. And I've seen firsthand the heroic work of the military as well as the tasks that they are increasingly pressed to undertake that are far beyond their mission.
General Hagee is one of, I think, many thoughtful military voices that has been ringing the alarm on this. As well as the very eloquent statements by Secretary Gates on the need to create a better capacitated, better resourced civilian partner for the military, as they tackle some of these tough challenges. I would just join my voice in the conviction that it's essential that we have a stronger and more vibrant civilian leadership and that is critical to fully reflect who we as a nation want to be in the world. We need to have greater ability to engage through our civilian tools of diplomacy and development.
And I want to just hit two key points in a summary of my testimony today. One is the need to rebalance our authorities and our capacities on the civilian and the military side, and second is to create a structure that enables the best of both to be fully harnessed. On the rebalancing side, I think there has been a chronic underinvestment in our civilian capacities and despite some important advancements that happened under the last administration, we're still completely hamstrung in our ability to fully deploy those civilian capacities as you noted, Mr. Berman.
And I think the result as you noted, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen, is that we are no longer cutting edge.
We are no longer thinking and experimenting and doing the best possible work that we need to do to tackle the challenges in these failed states, and we've seen what happens when they're left unattended, as with the experience with Afghanistan. The civilian gap was starkly illustrated in the Afghanistan-Iraq examples and the military jumped in. A number of authorities were improvised, including the 1207, 1206 authorities and the Commanders' Emergency Response Programs that gave significant funding to the military to do what the civilian side didn't have the capacity to do. This has led to, I think an increasing role of the military as we've seen the combatant commands, and particularly, the AFRICOM command set up to not only fill gaps, but in fact, begin to overlap where civilian capacity already exists.
We now have the military, the highly trained military forces, drilling wells in Kenya and Uganda where there is significant access and capacity on the civilian side already present. I would argue this is not a good use of our military troops and our capacity and it represents a profound shift in how we pursue global assistance. And as we look at further expansion of the military into activities that are best undertaken by a well resourced civilian development and diplomacy capacities.
Most importantly, I think, it underscores how important it is to rebuild our front line civilian capacity to enable U.S. aid and the State Department to be more vibrant, more forward thinking, come up with innovative new approaches towards these development challenges and civilianize some of those improvised authorities that accorded greater resources for the military to do this work. As we do this, we need to develop structures that enable the core competencies and the highest values of both the civilian and the military capacities to be brought forward. We talk a lot about a whole of government approach, which is essential to have good coordination. General Hagee noted the chaos that can exist when you don't have good coordination, but we need to do so in a way that understands the importance of differentiating these activities.
Mercy Corp works in many environments where we are side by side with the military. It is essential for our security that we are differentiated from the military. Our greatest value as a nongovernmental organization is to not be affiliated with the military, that we can begin to pursue the longer term development challenges in these environments that military is fundamentally ill- suited for, and our association with them can actually paradoxically increase our vulnerability to attacks.
As we look at structures, we need to think about how do you create that coordination without subordinating the longer term development objective to the shorter term stability and security objectives that the military is pursuing? Along those lines, I would suggest we rethink the provincial reconstruction teams which were set up as an improvisational structure to meet the needs of Afghanistan and Pakistan, sorry, Afghanistan and Iraq. Pakistan, perhaps, as well. And think about how do you create security and stability without creating greater security threats to the civilian side and undermine the longer term development by some of the counter insurgency methods that the military has adapted to meet these new realities. We can do it. We did it for some years in Iraq. The models, I think, are there to be looked at. I strongly argue that we rethink that.
Essentially, the longer-term development challenge that must be focused on, with all the innovative ways that we need to consider, is essentially, must be a community led process. World Bank president, Mr. Zoellick, noted, I think quite eloquently, it is essentially locally owned, and without that it is neither effective nor legitimate in the eyes of the local communities.
The military by definition has its own agenda that it must pursue. And it is not the appropriate tool for pursuing that longer term development agenda
I would just close with five quick recommendations that are more fully noted in my testimony. I strongly support the need for an increased international affairs budget. I think the recent budget that was submitted begins the journey that was started under the last administration, of rebuilding USAID and the Department of State. And it's critical that we have the civilian capacities as a partner for the military. I would urge the development of a national strategy for global development that articulates the goals, what we need to accomplish and funds and invest on the basics of that-not on the basis of what do we already have.
As a part of that, it is essential that we rebuild USAID, especially its capacity to operate with greater flexibility and greater effectiveness in these difficult, complex transitional environments. It does not currently have the authorities for longer- term more flexible funding that the military had with the surge. It does not have the ability to have a strong handshake between its disaster funding and its long-term development funding.
As I noted earlier -- (cross talk) -- I'd rethink the PRTs and reinforce civilian leadership in the new Foreign Affairs act. Thank you very much.
REP. BERMAN: Thank you. Thank you very much, Ms Lindborg. Mr. Christenson.
MR. PHILIP L. CHRISTENSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to say that many of us who are interested in foreign assistance have very great expectations of your leadership and that of your ranking member. We know you both to be serious legislators who actually like the get legislation done, and have a record of accomplishment. And we also know that you both work in a bi-partisan way, and somehow between now and the end of this congress, your probably going to hammer out something that will pass the Congress in both houses.
REP. BERMAN: Your time will start now. (Laughter)
MR. CHRISTENSON: Actually, I see Mr. Connolly who actually was a member of the Senate Foreign Relations committee staff the last time we passed a foreign assistance act.
REP. BERMAN: And he's overcome it well.
MR. CHRISTENSON: But I want to point out the argument over who controls foreign aid has been going on since 1942. The very first aid agency got started and four days later, the warfare broke out between the State Department, the Pentagon, and the independent aid agency. And we've done this for 60 years. It's so tiresome and I hope someday we can find some sort of solution that will put and end to the battling and get people focused on doing the job at hand.
On the issue of the militarization of the 20 percent of development assistance, that we report to the Development Assistance Committee, that is now channeled through the Pentagon. I think it is important that there's a little terminological confusion here. DoD can report as development its money for Iraq, and a whole lot of other things that it's doing in Afghanistan and Iraq. And I think we really have to accept that these are battlefield activities. They're not development assistance programs. You really cannot measure by anything other than how much they contribute to bringing these wars to an end. Frankly, if they're wasteful and they bring the war to an end that's not too bad either. I mean, we've just got to get these wars ended.
The problem maybe the committee might want to look at, is what I consider the civilianization of the battlefield. If you talk to the State Department and AID employees, they are now going out to these battle zones-Iraq and Afghanistan-and being expected to be part of the military strategy. It's not so much DoD is invading traditional State Department and USAID activities, it's that State and USAID are being asked to participate and manage part of the Pentagon's strategy. And I would say to you that these are not agencies that are capable of doing that.
I worked for the Foreign Relations Committee when the Beirut bombing took place, and after Beirut bombing we adopted, and I have to say "we" because it was Congress and the Executive branch, a zero tolerance policy towards employees' safety. Ambassadors were told, "you are personally liable and your career will be judged on if anybody at your embassy is harmed or killed."
So, ambassadors have adopted a zero-based approach to personal safety. One of the ambassadors, and I don't need to name names, in one of the war countries, just announced to his staff meeting, "No one dies on my watch.
" And so, if you had that policy, what you end up with is a thousand Foreign Service employees holed up in a bunker in Baghdad. Living in what one aid employee calls "assisted living." They have housing, office, gym, and cafeteria in the same compound and they are never allowed to leave. And when they occasionally do leave, they go out with such massive force-security presence-that it's very hard to believe that we're helping our foreign policy.
What was described to me was a USAID employee in Kabul went out, a few miles out of town, to go visit an Afghani contact. He got in the center seat of the armored vehicle, the rest of the vehicle was filled with guards with armor, you know personal armor, and carrying loaded automatic weapons. There was a follow-up car that followed them equally filled with guards. They got to the Afghani's house, the aid employee was told to stay in the car, while they secured the scene. These guards got out pointed their weapons at the man and his family, and his dog and his mother-this is no way to win hearts and minds. We would have been better off staying at home.
So my question is whether we don't need a different type of aid activity, where we get young men and women who have served in the military, they're young, they're in shape, they're combat-trained, they know how to do self-protection. There's a million Americans who gone through Iraq and Afghanistan who came back, and went to school, they've probably got the degrees in Agronomy and Animal Science that we're needing, and maybe these are the people we ought to turn to, rather than expecting a group of white-collar office workers-you know, middle-aged-to go out into these war zones. This just doesn't make sense to me.
If you listen what State and AID are being asked for. You know, the State Department's recent recruitments for Afghanistan and Iraq- urban planners, somebody to help redesign the bus routes in some town in Iraq, someone to promote to tourism to a city in Iraq, museum curators, urban planners-these aren't State Department functions. Why are we asking the State Department to provide that kind of personnel to the PRTs. It doesn't make sense. In fact, the tourist thing, you kind of wonder: "what is our strategy here? " Because none of it makes sense.
On the issue of some of these other DoD quote development projects: a lot of them are actually training missions for our troops. You go to resource-scarce areas of Northern Kenya or Uganda, and you drill wells and you build houses. This is just training for our troops so that they have experience when they are called perhaps someday to go to Darfur and set up a peace-keeping mission or provide logistics support for peace-keeping.
It's PR. The military believes very strongly that this is a good PR program, and that they need military-to-military relationships. But this type of activities I don't think we should lump into the development assistance category as this committee and the development community has traditionally understood them. These are military programs-PR programs.
However, DoD is aggressively going after some of the areas that were traditionally AID and State. One of the committee questions is "how do we assure that State and USAID continue to be the leading agency and have control?"
When I worked for the Health Commission, we have a recommendation in the commission which I strongly urge on the committee. We need to start working with countries to develop long-term strategies and specific commitments to these countries about what we're going to do.
If we have a long-term country-owned strategy, that will be more useful in protecting the primacy of the State Department and USAID than anything we can do here in Washington. I guess what I'm saying is State and USAID need to form an alliance with the government of that country.
We have a commitment I mean, it would be a very sound commitment, that we can plan ahead-year five, we're going to do this; year seven, we're going to do that.
However, State and AID need to get to strengthen themselves with regard to their own capacities. AID in particular needs help. I mean, you have three former administrators of the agency, who wrote an article in "Foreign Affairs" magazine, where they flatly said the agency is dysfunctional. And I believe you, Mr. Chairman, have said, "It's broken." Other people have said it's broken. We're all in agreement with that.
The question is "how do we fix it? " Do we fix it now, and then think someday about expanding its responsibilities? Or do we try to start dumping a whole lot of new money and a whole lot of new personnel, and while they're trying to absorb all this new responsibility, to expect them to fix themselves? My argument is that they should fix themselves.
REP. BERMAN: Thank you very much, Mr. Christenson. Dr. Brigety.
DR. REUBEN BRIGETY: Chairman Berman, Ranking Member Ros- Lehtinen, it is my great honor to appear to you this morning. Thank you very much for inviting me.
The Sustainable Security Program, which I direct at the Center for American Progress, is based on the premise that improving the lives of others in the least-developed parts of the world is important, and at times a vital national interest of the United States. As such, reforming the mechanisms of our government to perform this mission is of the utmost urgency.
The Defense Department's expanding role in foreign assistance comes from the recognition of two important developments. The first is that conventional, or kinetic, military operations are often insufficient to achieve the strategic objectives of a given war. The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have re-taught the military that you can win the war through decisive military operations, but you cannot necessarily win the peace that way.
The second is that there is great value in preventing conflicts rather than reacting to them. Investing in a country's development today can prevent it from becoming a battlefield tomorrow. As such, the military is increasingly using non-kinetic instruments of influence in the former foreign assistance to promote stability and prevent conflicts around the world.
Now, when considering the developmental impact of foreign assistance activities conducted by the military it is helpful to think about two types of assistance: fundamental and instrumental. Fundamental assistance sees improving the lives of beneficiaries as an end in and of itself. Whether it is helping farmers to improve their irrigation techniques in Mali or supporting primary education in Jamaica, these programs can have significant developmental impact, but little strategic value to the United States. Thus, the success of fundamental assistance can be measured solely by the extent to which it improves the lives of the recipients.
Instrumental assistance tries to improve the lives of beneficiaries as a means to some other tactical or strategic end. Whether they are quick impact projects to employ disaffected youth in Sadr City, Iraq, or governance initiatives in Manila, Philippines to fight the Abu Saif Islamic insurgency, such activities are designed specifically to advance U.S. security interests.
Yet they can only be successful if two things happen. First, they must actually improve the lives of beneficiaries. And second, those improvements must be casually linked to the achievement of discrete American policy objectives.
It is imperative that we recognize the value in doing both fundamental and instrumental assistance effectively. We should ensure that our civilian institutions are properly resourced and configured to perform both of those missions.
To that end, there are tasks which should be undertaken in the near-term to strengthen the State Department and USAID in this regard. First, there should be an easing of the legal restrictions on USAID mission directors in the field that critically limit their ability to respond flexibly to changing conditions on the ground, particularly in support of U.S. government of U.S. military strategic objectives.
Second, there should be an immediate increase in the number of USAID Foreign Service officers and development professionals. This growth in the officer corps should provide enough personnel to place one, what I call, "tactical development advisor" with every deployable brigade combat team in the U.S. Army and every ring corps expeditionary unit in the U.S. Marine Corps. And it should also be enough to support the needs of every regional combatant command in the numbers required.
Third, USAID and State Department personnel must truly be worldwide deployable and be trained to operate in expeditionary, semi- permissive, and non-permissive environments as a matter of course, as a matter of their training.
And finally, the U.S. Government should write and promulgate a national strategy for global development derived from the national security strategy to guide the use of development assistance in support of American foreign policy and to coordinate the foreign assistance activates of all U.S. government agencies abroad.
In conclusion, let me say that development assistance is not just a moral good or a matter of enlightened self-interest. It is in our vital national interest. There is no greater evidence of this than the military's increasing involvement in this sphere. Yet our own political culture and legal processes have not yet caught up to this reality on the ground. Our government has a clear stake in the successful performance of fundamental and instrumental assistance and I hope this hearing will be a meaningful step to empower our civilian agencies to be effective in this regard.
Thank you very much.
REP. BERMAN: Well, thank all of you very much for your contribution today. And I'll start the questioning by yielding myself five minutes, which unfortunately limits both my question and your answer to that time period. I need it.
I want to raise the issue that Mr. Christenson addressed specifically. The issue-put aside for a second the issue of who's leading development assistance in peaceful environments and let's turn to the non-permissive environment, which I think is a euphemism for scary.
Yesterday I met with a group that, I think, started in Los Angeles, it's called the International Medical Corps. I didn't know much about them. And this is a group of people using lots of local hires, dedicated particularly to building the healthcare capacity that, in these transitional and very difficult areas, including the areas in eastern and southern Afghanistan, right near the border and a number of other conflict areas.
And these are not what I would call "peaceful environments," but they make the case that because they're focused on doing what the community needs and finding out the communities' needs in terms of healthcare delivery systems, and vaccinations, and medical attention, and focused on capacity. And because they do it, and if they were part of the military, if they were uniformed or had uniformed security around, they would become the object of attack much more than they do now. But they are quite able to function in these areas in part because they are-they are all recognized as an American-based NGO with a specific mission. It is their arm's length from the military that allows them to function and function well.
You talked about the problem in these environments. I'm curious- my first question is to an extent you made a point of discussing this. I'm curious about the General's reaction and the other witness's reaction to that-maybe I'll just leave it to the next two and a half minutes for you to talk about this whole question of the role of the civilian agencies and their contractees working in these types of environments.
GEN. HAGEE: I would be happy to start Mr. Chairman. First off, I think the role that these agencies play is absolutely critical. I've seen it time and time again. And I'll go back to the Somalia example. The NGOs and most of these individuals who were 19, 20, 21, under 25 years old, out there in a, as you said, a very scary environment. But doing unbelievably good work. And as they told us, "we can't do it if we're aligned with you."
And to be quite honest, we understood that. But what we were able to work out, just one example, is instead of them using Somalis for their own security, we said, "well, we're going to be running a convoy from town X to town Y, and I know you can't go with us, but if you happen to be in the same as we're traveling, then that would be fine, and we wouldn't be opposed to that. And when we kicked off the convoy, not very far behind, there were a couple of NGOs tagging along with us, they were not associated with us, which we understood, but we were able to provide that security if anything happened.
I think trying to militarize -- my term -- these individuals would be the wrong thing to do.
REP. BERMAN: Ms. Lindborg?
MS. LINDBORG: Yes. Mr. Berman, I think you captured exactly the important ways in which NGOs can operate in these non-permissive environments and what Mr. Christenson was yearningly describing as "a needed function," actually already exists with NGOs who do go out with local team members outside the wire without arms, able to sit down, know the local customs, drink tea, and gain both community acceptance and protection, based on the knowledge that we're there to advance projects in their interests. Mercy Corps' work, since 2003, in Iraq- unarmed, outside the wire with support from USAID, from the beginning a wonderful partner in Colonel Grabowski in al-Kut. Who enabled us to operate very separately, he never attempted to make it a joint effort. We found ways to coordinate and communicate. And we were able to move forward community infrastructure projects in ways in which communities could envision and invest in their own future. Thank you.
REP. BERMAN: My time has expired. The Ranking Member, the gentle lady from Florida. Recognized for five minutes.
REP. ILEANA ROS-LEHITNEN (R-FL): Thank you for the time, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for an excellent testimony to each of you.
I wanted to ask about micro-managing in other countries. According to one report, after the State Department created its Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Development, that all fits the publish date, a list of its aims. And in the course of that listed 1,179 steps that the agency would take to carry out stabilization and reconstruction in foreign indigenous-foreign countries. Those steps included maintaining positive relations with the indigenous population, assessing the need for prosthetic limbs in the population, improving drainage, doing road construction to reduce the excessive run-off, et cetera.
It's a long list. If that list and that report is accurate, doesn't it seem to demonstrate that the current programs for stabilization and reconstruction actually envision a level of micro- management in foreign societies and governments and economies that could result in further financial bottomless pits, for the American tax-payer. I would be interested in knowing your comments.
DR. BRIGETY: Congresswoman, thank you very much for the question. Let me take two things quickly.
First of all, with regard to stabilization and the foreign assistance that is required for it. We are still relatively new at trying to understand the best doctrine to do this sort of mission. But what I can say is that the nature of warfare, the nature of our understanding of warfare has changed so dramatically, that the mission will not go away, even as we're trying to figure how best to do it
On the specific question you raised with regard to micro- management. Tomorrow, the Center for American Progress is going to be releasing a study, which we're calling "Swords and Plowshares," which essentially look sat the development piece of whatever our Afghanistan strategy is going to be. And one of the arguments we make in that is that it is actually quite important to do what we call "catalytic development." So, as opposed to bringing in large numbers of outside Western service providers, the question is "how can we think about using development resources very, very strategically so you actually engage the local population, engage the local government, to begin to development their own responses to these sorts of issues? "
Now, this is something that happens in other contexts-much more stable development context-that our development/NGO partners can talk about in detail. The question is how do you do that in a way, when you're operating in an insecure or non-permissive environment or doing a way that actually links to our strategic objectives.
REP. ROS-LEHITNEN: I look forward to seeing that report. I'm going to interrupt you just in case anyone else would like to comment.
MS. LINDBORG: I would make a quick comment in that I think it's essential that we equip USAID and other civilian parts of the government with the kind of flexibility that military commanders have right now, to do more contextually appropriate fast-moving, flexible work in the field, to have a myriad of chains and directives coming from Washington, I think, fundamentally undercuts their ability to be effective. And as we look forward that should be a cornerstone of the reform process.
REP. ROS-LEHITNEN: Thank you. Mr. Christenson?
MR. CHRISTENSON: I think we really have to start working on coming up with the definition of where our authority stops in another country's domestic affairs. I mean, we have become enormously intrusive.
After World War II, there were things we just expected the Germans to do on their own. But now a-days, we go in and we have every single thing becomes a matter of our interest.
There is a great line by George Ball, who was Undersecretary of State under Kennedy, and there was a coup in Zanzibar and the State Department sent him a memo on the subject. And he wrote back: "God watches every sparrow that falls, why do we compete in his league?"
I think that on some of these projects that we doing, we're just way, way too involved at the micro level. We've got to step back and let them govern themselves.
REP. ROS-LEHITNEN: Thank you. Sorry, out of time. Thank you, General.
REP. BERMAN: The time of the gentle lady has expired. The gentle lady from Texas, Ms. Sheila Jackson Lee, is recognized for five minutes.
REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX): Thank you very much, Chairman to the Ranking Member. These have been a very important series of hearings.
General Hagee, I spent a lot of early time in Afghanistan as the war there began and interacted in many parts of Afghanistan, watching our military be very effective in school-building. In fact, one codel that I was on brought a large amount of school books for youngsters who collected school books. We were in Iraq, in what I think is your provisional re-construction teams or PRTs, I think those kinds of names. So, I frankly believe that there is an appropriate balance to the utilization of the military.
However, as you well know, in the contrast, you know the outrage of members of Congress when they heard about stacks of dollars that were stacked up or piled up in blocks, going out into Iraq and how did $12 million, or I guess $12,000 got lost.
So, there is accountability, not pointing the finger, but I think I'm coming down on the idea of balance with a higher reference to NGOs and USAID. And I'll pose the question to you, but I'm going to go Ms. Lindborg and Dr. Brigety. Please if you will, explore for me again the flexibility that you're asking for USAID, which I frankly very much agree with. They need to be able to produce, and sometimes the regulatory maze that we have for USAID keeps them from actually producing in that village or with that warlord if they're (in Afghanistan ?).
Tell me what you mean when you say, "give them greater flexibility" as well.
I'm talking to you Dr. Lindborg. Not Dr. Lindborg. Yeah. Miss Nancy --Miss Nancy Lindborg. Excuse me, but you can accept Doctor.
MS. LINDBORG: Yes. Thank you for the Doctor.
REP. LEE: And then I'll go to Dr. Brigety.
MS. LINDBORG: You know, what we often see in the field is that AID constrained by earmarks and authorities and decisions that are made here in Washington without affording the mission directors the flexibility to make decisions that are driven by fast-moving often non-permissive environments. They are also highly constrained in their ability to lead their compound. And I think there is an interesting discussion on enabling civilian government folks to move about more freely without being confined by shooters and armors.
REP. LEE: That means their escorts? You're telling them to be unescorted?
MS. LINDBORG: It's a delicate balance between security and overburdening our civilian government people with too many escorts. The NGO escorts have the great flexibility of being able to move about without shooters, without armors. And then ability to work with the communities to develop those more fundamental developments, plans and approaches. And you often don't know what will be the most effective until you're in it. And, so, to have that pre-wired from Washington constrains your ability to be successful.
REP. LEE: I would argue that -- you make a valid point, but I'd like to give us flexibility as well, but I'd like to increase the flexible money versus the non-flexible. There are some valuable purposes for some of the designated money.
Dr. Brigety, let me try to get what you think is the appropriate ratio. How much more should we give? Look at the crisis in Darfur where el-Bashir is thinning people out. I can tell you being in the camps of Sudan, sitting on the ground in Darfur in those camps. Those NGOs were a lifeline. How do we reinforce them and give them that flexibility -- NGOs and USAID?
DR. BRIGETY: Well, let me sort of try to address the flexibility question from a slightly different respective with the story very quickly, if I may. This past November, a young Marine Corp. captain came to see me. He was flying to the U.S.-Africa command. And he was given several hundred thousand dollars and said, look, we have to spend this money by the end of the fiscal year. I want you to fly to Injumeda (ph), to Chad and go find some humanitarian projects to spin this on. You have three weeks to do it.
Now, he is a very dedicated young marine, he's a very smart young man. He was an infantry officer, younger than I by a lot. And the point is, we have a legal system which entrusts young military officers with that kind of flexibility. And yet we have USAID mission directors with masters and Ph.D.'s, who have 20-25 years or more experience who cannot deviate more than a few thousand dollars or they go to jail. And that makes them ineffective partners with regard to the military.
I see that I'm running out of time, so, with regard to the larger question of ratios, I can't speak to that with any specificity. It really depends on the particular ?
REP. LEE: You think we should increase the money going to USAID and have flexibility?
DR. BRIGETY: There's no question. Yes, ma'am.
REP. LEE: Increase money, get more flexibility.
DR. BRIGETY: Yes, ma'am. Absolutely.
REP. LEE: Thank you. My time has expired. Thank you, General, for your service. Thank you.
REP. BERMAN: The gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Smith is recognized.
REP. CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH (R-NJ): I want to thank our distinguished panel for excellent testimony. General Hagee, you mentioned defense, diplomacy and development, the three smart power pillars. As I said earlier, the fourth power principle I think has to be profound respect for these indigenous, the life-affirming indigenous cultural values, including and especially respect for the sanctity of human life, including and especially unborn children and their mothers.
We need to affirm them both. And as we build out and grow our capabilities, I'm concerned that may not be the case.
When President Obama reversed the Mexico City policy a few weeks ago, he unleashed a half-billion dollars to promote, lobby and perform abortions on demand in the developing world. That action puts millions of innocent babies, mostly babies of color, at risk of death. And in no way -- in no way -- can be construed as development. I'm concerned that there could be a backlash, especially as more high profile efforts are under way, the military, obviously in their uniforms will be out working side by side with NGOs. NGOs have always been an extension of our U.S. foreign policy. But very often they are integrated in a way that people don't necessarily know who's footing the bill. It will be very clear in this situation.
And I think we run the risk of being the ugly American. I know many people in Africa -- many politicians, many people in the health department, who want both mother and baby protected and not one at the expense of the other. Secondly, what thought has been given -- you might want to answer this -- to integrating the Veterans Affairs Administration, who has unbelievable expertise in PTSD, poly trauma issues like prosthetic limbs. I remember with the FMLN, with their foot-taker-offer mines in the early '80s, hurt so many children. And I was there. The VA came in and helped fit many of those young children with prosthetic limbs, especially legs and lower extremities.
Is the VA part of this? Because they do have, I think, an expertise that is very valuable. And, finally, the concept of more fully integrating military assets with diplomacy and development. I started out earlier by talking about emergency versus sustainable. I think you're too modest when you say the military instrument can create conditions of security to allow the others to do their job. But when it comes to rapid response, no one does it better than the military. I love the NGOs. But in terms of getting there with the right kind of expertise, for safe water, for helping people, really, on life support, no one does it better than the military. So, I hope that's being integrated as well.
GEN. HAGEE: Mr. Smith, could I ask for a clarification on your question? I want to be sure I use my time appropriately here, exactly what I should address.
REP. SMITH: Well, the VA, obviously, is integrating. The idea of how robust is this idea that the military stocks -- the medical corp -- are they integrated in the AID plan? The plan for health care in a way that something happens, rapidly deployed individuals from the U.S. military? Like in Sri Lanka. I was there, people in the military from my own district that were doing clean water projects. Without which, people would have gotten contaminated water and gotten very sick. And I just hope that's being fully integrated. Because, again, provide comfort. I saw Kurds with American military jackets camouflage. Without them, the exposure to the elements would have taken many of those individuals, they would have died had it not been for our military, doing it in about a month's lead time and after that, the baton was very effectively handed over to the NGOs that did a great job thereafter.
GEN. HAGEE: Well, I would say that at least it's been my experience that -- you're right. The United States military is the best as far as putting expeditionary forces quickly into a crisis site. Whether it's a tsunami in Indonesia or the earthquake in Pakistan. And I've never seen a crowded battlefield. So, from a commander's standpoint, I'd say, y'all come. Whether it's the VA, whether it's the Agricultural Department, whether it's the Commerce Department, if you've got the capability and can provide some help here, then there is room for you at this particular situation.
I would like to comment on the NGOs, though. As I said, I've been in East (Timor ?), I've been in Somalia, I've been in some of the real garden spots of the world. And it's always amazed me. We come flying in on a helicopter, we've got significant capability. And there's normally an NGO already there, on the ground, trying to do the work. So, I continually tip my hat to these NGOs, primarily young men and women who are out there trying to do the right thing.
REP. BERMAN: The time, gentlemen, has expired. I'm going to yield myself 15 seconds. I just want to assure the gentleman from New Jersey, no one is suggesting that for purposes of logistical and lift capacity, that anyone can deliver humanitarian assistance after these disasters like the U.S. military. Provide comfort, many other situations. We've all seen those. That is not an issue of debate here, I don't think.
And I do want to welcome the presence of someone on the Armed Services Committee here that's been very active on this issue of foreign assistance and how it's being delivered and in what situations. The gentleman from Arkansas, Mr. Snider, it's good to have you here. And I now recognize the gentle lady from California, Ms. Woolsey, for five minutes. And welcome back.
REP. LYNN WOOLSEY (D-CA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I understand before you got here you said some nice words. Thank you for those words. And I'm delighted to be back in this seat.
Thank you, witnesses. What a great panel you are. I have introduced and am reintroducing legislation called "Smart Security" with my partnership of Women Action For A New Direction, WAND, and Physicians for Social Responsibility and National Priorities Project, which includes the Friends Committee and Church Women United. So, you can imagine without me saying anymore what this is all about. It's all about war being the very last option for any country, particularly our own. And instead investing and focusing on prevention, diplomacy, reconciliation and reconstruction. And it's much more than that, but I'm not going to go into that any further. I just wanted to give you a sense of it.
But because of that, we know that we need to increase international affairs budgets in order to get our goals at least brought forward. So, in the congressional progressive caucus in our alternative progressive budget, which will come to the floor, actually pluses up -- it's called Section 150, the International Affairs budget -- by even more than the President is asking. And I'm part of a group that's working with our Chairman Berman in order to get members of Congress to accept no less than what the President is asking for this section of our budget.
So, I'm going to ask General Hagee -- I have a question for you. And then I have a question for Mr. Christenson. I'm going to ask both questions and then you can answer them. We have two minutes left.
In plussing up the international affairs budget, do you believe we need to offset it by decreasing the Department of Defense budget? We see that as the trade-off if we take those functions out of Defense and put them where they need to be. And, Mr. Christenson, what do you think about targeting funds in the International Affairs budget so that it goes for humanitarian, diplomatic, rebuilding, education and prevent any expenditures in weapons, military weapons and for these countries, nations that we invest in? Starting with you, General Hagee.
GEN. HAGEE: On the question, I wish I was smart enough to be able to answer that question, how we should balance that. One thing I am absolutely convinced of is that our foreign aid and our diplomacy is under resourced. These are questions of significant national importance.
Today a couple of million dollars doesn't sound like very much. And we're talking about trillions of dollars. But to me, the amount of money that we're really talking about is insignificant when you look at the issues that we are facing. So, to me, it's really quite simple to provide the appropriate resources for our diplomatic corp and for foreign assistance people.
REP. WOOLSEY: Mr. Christenson? You look concerned.
MR. CHRISTENSON: On the issue of targeting our spending, I go to Africa, and I've just come back still feeling guilty for having collected a consulting fee that I often don't bill for all the days I work. If we can do things where we actually target money for those people in the villages, paying teachers, providing books, buying medicines, paying the nurses, training more nurses and doctors, I think that's just wonderful.
With regard to military, and not as just an Africa answer, I don't get to see an African country other than maybe Botswana and South Africa that actually benefitted from having an army. When I think of African armies, I think of the guys who set up the roadblocks on Friday afternoon to shake down the passersby so they can get drunk on the weekends. What Africans need is a police force. I mean, they need an ability to enforce the law, but they don't need an army.
REP. WOOLSEY: Thank you.
REP. BERMAN: The time of the gentle lady has expired. The gentleman from Indiana, Mr. Burton, is recognized.
REP. DAN BURTON (R-IN): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. You know, one of the things that's most important in foreign policy is to have a good image of the United States. And if you make a severe mistake and the enemy can profit from it, they will. And back in 2006, General, we had a very difficult situation occur in Haditha, Iraq. And one of my colleagues said that the marines that were involved were cold-blooded killers. And three of those have been found innocent. One case is still pending, and I think there's some litigation that's taking place.
You met with our colleague and talked to him about that. And I'd like to know how the conversation went and whether or not you reinforced what he said or what took place. Because our enemies, Iran and others, the Taliban, al-Qaeda and Al-Jazira, they played that up big time. And they made it look like the United States was a bunch of killers and murderers and doing horrible things when, in fact, this was not the case.
And I'd like to know first of all, did you reinforce what our colleague said? And, number two, what do you think we ought to do in the future to make sure we don't have these sorts of things occur. I mean, before we judge somebody guilty we should have all the facts. And, so, I'd like to have your answer on that.
GEN. HAGEE: When I became aware of the incident in Haditha, I came over and briefed the so-called Big Eight, the chairman and the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee and the Appropriation Committee that looks at defense. And I told them what I knew, which was not very much. And that was essentially that 24 Iraqis had been killed after an IED had gone off. And that it included women and children. Other than that, we didn't know very much, that we had started an investigation. And I promised each one of them that we would investigate that very carefully. Both actually what happened on the ground that night during combat, and also what happened as far as the chain of command is concerned. And if anyone did anything legally wrong or morally wrong, they would be held accountable. That's what I told each one of those individuals.
And, in fact, we did that. We spent -- it was much longer than I desired. It took almost six months. But we went down every email, every trail to insure that we understood to the best of our ability what occurred. Both up the chain of command and on the ground. The end result, there were some senior marine officers who, in fact, were disciplined. And as you indicated, there were other marines, some senior who have been charged, and there's still one pending.
I can tell you that marines were operating, at least a few weeks ago, in Haditha. We were able to explain to them, apologize for what we did. Sometimes things like that happen. You asked how can we prevent that from happening. I don't think -- we try hard, but we cannot prevent on the battlefield things like that from happening. The main point I want to make is we held individuals accountable. We went back, and we talked with the people, and we are back operating.
REP. BURTON: Well, I guess the point I'd like to make, General, and I was hoping you would reinforce this, and that is we believe in this country that you're innocent until proven guilty. And for the people that are fighting for our country in a war zone, and they're accused of being coldblooded killers is just wrong. Especially when you find out later on that three of them were not guilty. And the other one may not be guilty as well. And so I just was hoping that ?
GEN. HAGEE: I can assure you, Mr. Burton, that in the Marine Corps that's exactly what happened. We never said a thing until after the court martials were over and the verdict --
REP. BURTON: You didn't reinforce anything that was said by our colleague.
GEN. HAGEE: No, sir.
REP. BURTON: But you would agree that in the future we shouldn't condemn somebody in a war zone of a war crime unless it's been proven.
GEN. HAGEE: I think we always need to look at it. Whenever there's a report, we always need to investigate that report.
REP. BURTON: Thank you, General. I yield back the balance of my time.
REP. BERMAN: The time of the gentleman has expired. The gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Connolly, is recognized for five minutes.
REP. GERALD E. CONNOLLY (D-VA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I would ask unanimous consent to enter my opening statement into the record.
REP. BERMAN: Without objection it is so ordered.
REP. CONNOLLY: And I want to say hello, especially to my former colleague, Phil Christenson. Good to see you again, Phil, in our respective roles, and I really appreciate what you had to say this morning.
I've got two questions. The first is, I just got back from Afghanistan a couple of weeks ago. And SURP funding for the military in Afghanistan according to the auditors a few years ago was $26 million. The amount for the budget this year is $977 million. Now, we talked about whether the appropriate role of the military in development assistance, that would make it one of the largest bilateral aid programs of the world. All being run by the military. All being run sort of on the cusp.
I understand the need to get some flexibility to local commanders on the ground to be able to try to win hearts and minds. But $977 million is -- many orders of magnitude greater than that and raises very serious questions about what could go wrong with that. Let alone, does it fit into any context that makes sense in terms of development profile for Afghanistan. General Hagee, your comments on that challenge.
GEN. HAGEE: (Inaudible) -- I am still on. I believe as my colleagues here have all testified that we need to have the flexibility -- the individuals on the ground need to have that flexibility to help where help is needed. And primarily that comes in the source of money. How that should be divided, especially when you have a chief of mission there I think is something that should, in fact, be discussed.
When I was operating and if I had funds, before I would expend those funds, I would always -- if there was a chief of mission, if there was an ambassador, I would always discuss that with him. How should these funds be expended? I don't know whether that's being done over there or not. I would assume that it would be. I was unaware of that very, very large figure. That is a large figure. So, I don't have a good answer for that. Except that I believe that our diplomats and our foreign assistance individuals need the same flexibility that the military has. How that should be divided, someone smarter than I am is going to have to figure that out.
REP. CONNOLLY: Ms. Lindborg.
MS. LINDBORG: Thank you. I think you raised a critically important point. And that is, fundamentally SURP programs are for different purposes and longer term development. And the danger is that they, in fact, can undercut the objectives and the prophecies of longer term development. And we've seen that over and over again.
If you build a school through your SURP funds, often it isn't integrated into local community priorities. It isn't resourced through teachers through the longer term provision of supplies, et cetera, et cetera. It's important that there's a civilian led structure that clarifies the development priorities that are not subordinated to the short term objectives accomplished by SURP.
REP. CONNOLLY: Thank you. Real quickly, Phil or Dr. Brigety?
DR. BRIGETY: Sir, I can't speak to the specific number. But I think the size of that number suggests two things. The first is that the military clearly understands that reconstruction activities are vital to the achievement of their objectives in Afghanistan. And the second is that the SURP mechanism is likely the most flexible. It's certainly amongst the most flexible, if not the most flexible mechanism to get money to do the reconstruction mission in Afghanistan. And that suggests that our civilian processes for moving money and for strategizing how that money is spent in the context of a crucial foreign policy priority, that is stabilizing Afghanistan, is flawed. Profoundly flawed and should be fixed.
REP. CONNOLLY: It also raises questions about whether the military has the competence to be running that massive an aid program, frankly. I mean, that's not your mission. Real quickly, Secretary Gates has characterized the global war on terror as a global irregular campaign. What's the proper role for the State Department and AID in that irregular campaign? Phil?
MR. CHRISTENSON: I don't necessarily agree with Secretary Gates, that's my first problem to answer the question. But I think the State Department needs to be providing the real solid in depth expertise about foreign societies and cultures. And to make sure that that expertise is injected into the policies decision-making here in Washington. We don't know what we're doing in some of these countries and we need to.
REP. CONNOLLY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. BERMAN: The time of the gentleman has expired. The gentleman from Nebraska, Mr. Fortenberry, is recognized for five minutes.
REP. JEFF FORTENBERRY (R-NE): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you all for joining us today. I appreciate your insight.
There's a photo from the Iraq war, perhaps you've seen it. It's a soldier sitting cross-legged underneath the shadow of a tank, with a variety of military operations going on behind him. And across his lap is a small child. And I think in that photo we right there most poignantly capture the dynamic of what we're talking about here today. And in that regard, Mr. Brigety, you had made some comments, if I understood them correctly, about the fact that we're embedding foreign service officers in the military units. Mr. Christenson, you had the insight as to some of the mechanics of how this is now working, where you have a lot of white collar workers simply in a bunker and perhaps not being leveraged as effectively as they could.
With this new model, though, I'd like to unpack that further how you envision the skills sets and expertise of a foreign service officer being embedded into a military unit. Or could an alternative model be set up where you have a military officer or trained military personnel who, in effect, is a foreign service officer or has the same skill set and would work more seamlessly with the State Department mission in the midst of combat and difficult situation, knowing full well what the expectation is?
MR. CHRISTENSON: Yes, sir, thank you very much for the question. Let me try to answer it quickly with a quick anecdote. I talked with a Marine Corps second lieutenant in January, 2005, who fought in the second battle of Fallujah in November, 2004. And he won a Silver Star in that battle for gallantry. And someone asked him, what else do you wish you had on the battlefield, expecting him to say better body armor, or better air support. And he said, do you know what I really wished I had? I really wished I had a Peace Corp on steroids. Meaning, I really wish I had somebody on the tactical level who could help be with all the vast sort of humanitarian issues I had to deal with.
Here's how I think it could work. We already sent senior foreign service officers as senior development advisors to each of the geographic combatant commands. They're not unlike political advisors or pol-ads to senior ambassadors. We can certainly, if we had the right numbers, have much more junior level development officers who are broadly educated in things like community development, basic health care, what not, that are attached to a brigade level and a MEU level team. For two reasons.
One, so that young second lieutenant, a young captain, has a ready made resource at hand that he can ask how do I go about engaging the community and these sorts of stabilization reconstruction operations. And, two, so you can ask him when he could help train these military units in garrisons back here in the States before they deploy. The DOD directed 3,000.05 explicitly places to go, stabilization and reconstruction as the core mission of the Defense Department alongside combat operations. And yet we don't have the civilian infrastructure embedded in the team to help perform that mission, and we should.
GEN. HAGEE: Could I add a little bit on that? First off, I think it's a good model. But meeting on the battlefield is not the place that you should meet. I was the commanding general of the first marine expeditionary force before the war responsible for going up. And I requested a State Department individual to come and help us with the planning. We could not get such an individual. They need to be an integral part of that team.
REP. FORTENBERRY: Which demands a new model for integration. Either a military that is cross-trained in foreign service expertise or vice versa. Where a foreign service officer is going to be in harm's way, potentially. Not necessarily carrying a rifle on the front lines. That would effectively integrate it if we're going to pursue this direction.
GEN. HAGEE: In a pure system, sir, I would argue that it should be a State Department individual. And one reason why, if I could, Ambassador Bob Oakley and I worked together in Somalia. He was a foreign service officer, a young foreign service officer in Vietnam, when he was told to write the Vietnamese constitution. And he wrote the Vietnamese constitution, which sounded an awful lot like ours.
He brought that to Somalia. And when he was told to write the Somali constitution, he said, no, I'm not. They have to write it. An individual who has served most of his time in the military doesn't bring that breadth of experience.
REP. FORTENBERRY: Ms. Lindborg?
MS. LINDBORG: I would just add that for non-permissive environment assistance activities, you need to have models that allow for differentiation. You need to have models that enable your NGOs and some of your civilian aid workers to not be associated with the military on the ground. And, especially to jumpstart the longer term development which can and must begin as early as possible. It cannot be connected to a military force.
REP. FORTENBERRY: My big comment objectives with separate distinct roles here. So, I thank you.
REP. BERMAN: The time of the gentleman has expired. The gentleman from Minnesota, Mr. Ellison, is recognized for five minutes.
REP. KEITH ELLISON (D-MN): Thank you, Mr. Chair. Dr. Brigety, thank you for your words and those of everyone on the panel. I want to start with you because I represent the city of Minneapolis, the State of Minnesota. Large Somali population. And you know, Somalia has been referred to several times this morning. It's a state where we have had some military presence. And now we may be the world's longest state without a government.
So, I'm really interested in this topic as to how we merge military and aid development, State Department type functions in order to get a state up on its feet. But you can expand this more generally. It's not just Somalia. There are other places where this is needed. So, one of our greatest security challenges facing us is how strengthen weak or failing government and states. And it's critical to strengthen these kinds of places and to get them to a point where they can assume responsibility for their own development and become strong partners for the U.S. and in the world community.
Our military is obviously concerned about how to strengthen weak states. And even Secretary Gates has called for a greater capacity at USAID to address this challenge.
But at the same time, all the money, well not all but most of the money and the resources are with the DOD. And yet, we've seen smaller resources other places. Given the resource imbalance what mechanisms can ensure our development mission is not overwhelmed by priorities and timelines of our military capacity? Can you speak about the balance and to make sure, what do we do -- and I'm talking about in the short term because in the long term, we can just redesign, write a bill, redesign a program, but how do we get from where we are to that place where we have a new model that we're working from?
DR. BRIGETY: Congressman, thank you very much; it is a terrific question. The difficulty obviously is that there is no short-term solution. I mean the imbalance has to be fixed; that's the first step. You asked an awful lot of things there. I think certainly with regards to what can be done in the reasonably near term, it is vitally important that the American public understands that foreign assistance is a national security priority. It is not simply a matter of good works. Our military leadership has done a very, very good job in articulating that, but once your constituents and the constituents of others understand that, then I think that will create the space in order to begin to redress the imbalance.
In addition, I think that, certainly with regards to some place like Somalia, although there are clear development things which can be done to improve the lives of the population that is ultimately a political issue that has to be resolved. And I would suggest at least that it's going to need help through other forms of diplomacy. And the State Department, I think, has been very, very good traditionally at great power representational stuff, representational diplomacy. But I would think they need to get better at what I like to call tactical diplomacy and that is being able to understand at the very, very grassroots level who major political players are, what their various interests are, and how they can be accommodating in a way to support their interests and support ours. That is a model for example we've also articulated with regards to Afghanistan, with regards to trying to understand the broad breadth of the Taliban insurgency.
REP. ELLISON: And also Dr. Brigety, is part of the problem that we really are transitioned from sort of a great power model of national defense and into this new era where we have these weak failing states that can be exploited by hostile elements? Are we looking at a paradigm shift here? Do we need to look at the problem in that way?
DR. BRIGETY: Yes, sir, I think that is the essence of the problem. We have a structure which is still both in our military and in our diplomatic corps that is still geared towards cold war, large scaled, great power threats. And yet, the threats we have as in the case of the 2002 national security strategy are coming from weak and failing states. And we absolutely have to restructure our government and our foreign policy in order to do it. Interestingly the military is farthest ahead on this. So on the one hand there is cause for concern for the military's involvement in this space; on the other hand they're simply reacting to the role in which they see. And now we have to have the rest of our structures catch up to that.
REP. ELLISON: General Hagee, in the last few moments could you talk about, do you think we know enough about how to get a failing or weak state back up on its feet? Do we have the intellectual capital we need to know how to do this?
GEN. HAGEE: Oh I think we have the intellectual capital but I would echo what Mr. Smith said. What we need is a true understanding of that people, that culture, and what they want. The American people have a lot of really good characteristics, unfortunately, understanding a different culture is not one of them.
REP. BERMAN: The time of the gentleman has expired.
I seek unanimous consent to place into the record the article mentioned by Mr. Christenson "Making Foreign Aid A More Effective Tool," written by three former A.I.D. administrators Brian Atwood, Peter McPherson, and Andrew Natsios, a bipartisan group of A.I.D. administrators; placed in the record without objection. That will be the order and also a letter by a group of former top military commanders all across the armed services including General Hagee under the letter of the U. S. Global Leadership Campaign regarding the fiscal year '10 international affairs budget without objection that will be the order.
And the gentleman from Arkansas Mr. Boozman is recognized for five minutes.
REP. JOHN BOOZMAN (R-AR): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General Hagee, I've had the opportunity to be in Iraq several times and Afghanistan. And on some occasions being in the forward operating basis, looking at health care issues and things, but being out there. I guess it seemed like the frustration that the commanders were facing was they figured out pretty quickly as the war in Iraq went on and now in Afghanistan that they were fighting a war militarily that needed, you know, a great deal to be solved with humanitarian aid, that just the infrastructure, all of those kinds of things. You know, high unemployment, just basic things; and yet, there is nobody there to help them. You know, the State Department wasn't there because there were very dangerous situations. None of the branches of government except for the military, commerce, you know, all of these things that they desperately needed.
So as a result, they had to become the aid providers. And I guess, you know, I just, unless you did a situation where we talked about imbedding U.S.A.I.D. people, State Department in there and again, I would argue that not only that but there's other areas of government that should provide a role also; but you almost have to train them in a different way. I mean, that would be a different breed of guy or girl than the normal person in those conditions. I mean, those are very, very difficult conditions. But again, you know where now they're coming back and kind of saying well there is this imbalance and this and that. But in that situation, I just don't see how you get around from doing that.
GEN. HAGEE: I think what you've pointed out is absolutely correct. And that is that we should have individuals, depending on the situation and where we are, from agriculture, from commerce, from water and power. In my opinion, the armed forces should not be training police, that's not what we do real well. But there are policemen here in this country, who do that actually really quite well. How do you train for that? I would argue that one if not the most important reason that we have the best military that the world has ever seen, is that at each grade, we allow an officer or an enlisted to go to school for about a year. They learn how to plan, they argue with one another, they argue about doctrine, they argue how we should be organized. And we have done that since just after Vietnam. Unfortunately no other agency in the United States government, as far as I know, has that capability because they don't have the capacity to do that. That is one way that you could address that, sir.
REP. BOOZMAN: And I agree with that. The other problem in these failed states and situations it's unlike fighting any other war I think that we've fought in the sense that there are no safe havens. I mean, you're in danger almost wherever you're at; there is no pulling back to the back of the line. Again, it's just very difficult.
MS. LINDBORG: Thank you for your question, Mr. Boozman. I would just offer that there is a model out there in Iraq with USAID funding; four NGOs have worked throughout all 18 governments of Iraq since 2003 on a community action program, which is even in non-permissive environments through local staff, through an ability to gain community acceptance and security, working on community infrastructure and on mobilizing citizens for action and to become constituents for security.
It was a miniscule amount of funding compared to what goes in on a daily basis to Iraq. And there are opportunities to expand what we already know can work.
REP. BOOZMAN: Well, I understand and yet, like I say, there are plenty of situations where to those guys in the forward operating base that wasn't available. And it might be valuable at some time to get some of those guys in here and sit them down and say, you know, what were your challenges out there?
Mr. Christenson, real quickly while I've got you here, the Millennium Challenge account, you know, to me that seems to have worked well. Can you just very quickly in 33 seconds share your, share what you think is going on with that?
MR. CHRISTENSON: Yes, sir, I think the Millennium Challenge account is the wave of the future. It takes a little longer to get the projects proposed but that's because you're relying on the host government to set forth its priorities; when you're dealing with democratic governments that's who you should listen to. I think what's important is to look at the difference between what they propose to MCC and what we have on offer through our other programs; it's very instructive.
REP. BOOZMAN: In two seconds, again you know in being there, the leaders of those countries are so proud of meeting their objectives and stuff.
I yield back.
REP. BERMAN: The time of the gentleman has expired.
The gentleman from Indiana is recognized for a unanimous consent request.
REP. BURTON: Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to put an article that I think is relevant to the discussion in the record.
REP. BERMAN: Yes, under the subjective relevance test it is okay.
REP. BERMAN: So ordered.
The gentle lady from California, Ambassador Watson is recognized for five minutes.
REP. DIANE E. WATSON (D-CA): Yes and very quickly. If we run out of time I'll take the complete response in writing. I want to direct this to Mr. Christenson. I've heard remarks among the panel and I really appreciate this panel being here and I'm quite concerned because I've been there. We had a problem at my post in Micronesia it had to do with cholera. I called down the emergency medical team from Guam and they came in their fatigues and they were going to go into the village to tell the people to heat the water for ten minutes, boil the water for ten minutes before they drank it. Well, they came in their fatigues; they thought there was an invasion of that community.
Now I'm getting to this point, USAID has traditionally been seen as an organization that really comes in after the war and really helps the people with their development. That's ideal and I think we ought to have a strict demarcation between what the military does and USAID's traditional role; and probably a better merging with the NGOs that are already on the ground. Would you comment please, what you see as ideal?
MR. CHRISTENSON: I think what would be idea is if we had an agency for international development that was capable of sending that type of team.
REP. WATSON: And who is that?
MR. CHRISTENSON: Well they don't have it. I mean, A.I.D. is a contracting agency. They don't have people who are prepared to show up that quickly. You know, they can put out a task order and have people bid on it by which time they've all died of cholera, you know where you're trying to help them. Perhaps the military needs to be asked to show up, you know, without their fatigues, maybe if they're doing a medical program they can show up in their white uniform instead of the other. But I think that it is, I mean, I don't believe that we should sort of feel that the military are some how off limits. I have a real problem with some of the comments, not here today, but I mean, just comments I've heard in the past about people wanting not to be seen with the military. I'm proud of being seen with the U. S. military and I think other people should be too.
REP. WATSON: Let me ask Dr. Lindborg how do we fashion so that we can improve our image, the USAID function and how do we work, or how should we work with the NGOs? There was a statement made that when we got there, they were already there. And my experience has been that they can customize and sensitize the aid to the area that they are in; and I find it works very, very well. I'd like to get your reaction.
MS. LINDBORG: Well the great value that the NGOs bring globally is that we are often there in advance, during and after a conflict. That we leverage the assistance we receive from the U. S. government with extraordinary amounts of public support from across this country and that we're able to work in a way that understands through relationships and cultural knowledge what the needs are and what the visions for the future are in the communities in which we work. That value I believe is greatly compromised if we are brought too closely into the team. And that we are, would be wise to develop structures that allow that kind of differentiation while also enabling the kind of communication and coordination that allows a larger set of objectives to be developed.
There is a separate question about enabling U.S.A.I.D. to be more expeditionary and more effective. It has lost extraordinary amounts of capacity over the past two decades. As Mr. Berman cited, it doesn't have any, it has very little of the expertise that it used to have. So I think there are two related but slightly different challenges that we face as we move forward.
REP. WATSON: Thank you.
And in my remaining time, I'd like to go back to Mr. Christenson. Are you suggesting we need to develop a new organization? I think that's what I heard.
MR. CHRISTENSON: Yes, ma'am, I do believe we need a new organization.
REP. WATSON: And you mentioned it and you said an international --
MR. CHRISTENSON: Well, it could be an organization made up of people who are actually prepared and have technical skills that they could be deployed to countries. You know, A.I.D. doesn't have technical skills because they stopped recruiting them in the 1980s.
REP. WATSON: Out of the State Department, this organization?
REP. BERMAN: Can't do it. The time of the gentle lady has expired.
The gentleman from South Carolina Mr. Inglis recognized for no more than five minutes.
REP. BOB INGLIS (R-SC): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I wonder what you might think about a public private investment fund for Iraq? Is this the time to be talking about something like that, like we've done in other countries where we, presumably we make these as loans maybe that are then repaid. We've done that in other places. Is this something we should be talking about at this point for economic development in Iraq; trying to stabilize the gains we've made there?
GEN. HAGEE: In my personal opinion, sir, absolutely. I know that there have been several senior officers, the current chairman who has actually gone to some of the private equity firms trying to get them interested in doing just that. To me the idea that we're going to separate the battlefield and pot A. is going to do this and capability B. is going to do that, does not work on today's battlefield. One can even argue that it may not have worked during World War II, but it surely doesn't work today. And winning the war and winning the peace that to me doesn't compute.
We have a situation, we need to bring all elements of national power and that includes the private sector I would argue to this situation if it is in fact in our national interest.
Now I think what the entire panel would agree on is you need someone to coordinate that. It can't just be haphazard. But the idea that we can fence off this current battlefield and that we can divide war and peace I think is, if we think that way, we're not thinking about the real situation.
REP.INGLIS: Thank you.
MS. LINDBORG: I think you're asking exactly the right question. And as we look to creating a more nimble and innovative AID, it has put a lot of work into developing mechanisms that support public private partnerships. And of course, we have tools that are also funded by the international affairs budget like OPEC, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation that enables greater risks taking by our private sector. I would add that in Afghanistan with support from AID, Mercy Corps already has partnerships with private sector where we're seeking to stimulate economic development. I would formally support your thinking on bringing that more vigorously into Iraq. Without economic opportunity it is that much harder to get stability in these conflict environments.
REP. INGLIS: Anyone else?
MR. CHRISTENSON: Sir, I would simply add in addition to the comments of my colleagues that it's important to develop public private partnerships not simply in response to wars like Iraq. And it's also important to think proactively, and to think about ways in which we can bring public private partnerships to bare in places that are unstable but have not yet collapsed into war. Again as I said in my statement, because if we're able to leverage those sorts of capabilities, then we can prevent in many cases things from collapsing entirely and preventing them from becoming failed states; and therefore, places where we may have to respond militarily. So, this is continuum and we need to be thinking about it in the context of full on combat operations, but also in the context of preventative action as well.
REP. INGLIS: The reason I'm asking is the first time I was in Iraq I met the helpful captain who had left Wall Street and sort of gotten back into the National Guard in order to go to Iraq, wanting to go to Iraq. And he's now back on Wall Street and has already a successful project that has been, I understand it's profitable in the first year a tomato processing plant that's employing people that has already become profitable. And what I hear from him is there are tremendous opportunities if people are willing to take a little bit of risk. And of course, they need perhaps the support of the U.S. government to make them feel comfortable in taking some of that risk. But if they do, there are tremendous opportunities to get people to work in productive enterprises and to make some money. Because people need to eat, they need clothes, they need supplies, they need equipment. So it's helpful to hear your thoughts about this possibility.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. BERMAN: The time of the gentleman has expired. We have two and a half minutes remaining before the vote that is now going on. I myself intend to because it may be the only way I can get to ask some questions to miss the vote. But any of you are welcome to join me if you want to as long as we're winning the vote.
The gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Payne.
REP. DONALD M. PAYNE (D-NJ): Thank you very much.
I just have a concern. One, I think we're talking about two different things as relates to foreign assistance; and I think we're mixing them up. I think that in an area like Iraq or Afghanistan this has to be this, you know, U.S.A.I.D. maybe imbedded and all that. The thing that disturbs me though is something like AFRICOM where you don't have a war going on, where you send a four star general to four or five countries in a day or two. Tell them we've got a new thing going that's called AFRICOM and we're going to tell you more about it, but you've got a four star general; we're going to be assisting in your U.S.A.I.D. and feeding the children and all the other things. And so when they leave these countries 52 out of 53 countries said thanks but no thanks. Liberia said okay, they just anything, you know, give me a hand if it means jobs it's okay.
But overwhelmingly African nations said no. Number one they said that this is geared to protect the bay, the Gulf of Guinea's oil; it's very good for the U.S. And number two, is to hunt out any suspected militants that may harm U.S. interests or whatever. And they, you know, ended up saying well what is in it for us? Why do you want to militarize U.S. assistance? And that's what it really looked like. And there was to the country a question of wait a minute, what is this all about? Which I also have questions about; and certainly oppose in the manner in which it was initially and now it's in effect. You know the military when they're going to do something, they just do it and so it's done. But I think that it's wrong.
I think the developing countries that are trying democracy and so forth, the way it used to be was that the military people dispensed everything in their own countries. And now, we're going to have duplicating that with U. S. assistance through military. There is no question the military can boar holes for water, and build bridges, there is no question about that. That mercy ship comes in they could help people, no doubt about it. However, I think it's a wrong move for us to make it appear as though -- and they say well that's not the intent; but that's the way it looks to me. So, I just wonder if you have any -- yes?
MR. CHRISTENSON: Congressman, thank you very much for your comments. There is no question that the roll out of AFRICOM could have been done better. I think that everyone involved in that and that observed it recognizes that. I do think, however, that the essential premise of AFRICOM, which is that there are security challenges on the continent of Africa, which are not amenable to be solved through military means. And therefore, we need to think differently about them. I think that premise basically is correct.
Let me give you sort of an example of that. I was in the Dadaab refugee camp on the Kenyan Somalia border inside Kenya in 2007. And if you've been there you know that Dadaab has a refugee population of about 150,000, many of whom have been there since 1992.
REP. PAYNE: And growing now.
MR. CHRISTENSON: Yes, sir, and growing. And of that, when I was there in 2007, of that 150,000 there were just over 50,000 men between the ages of 18 and 59 with nothing to do. Many of whom, it has been argued, could have been linked to fighting in Somalia. Now, that's not necessarily a development priority because the malnutrition rate at the Dadaab's camp is actually very, very low. The population is well fed, et cetera. And yet, this is a place where development mechanisms, things like job training for men clearly meet with our security objectives, which are trying to figure out how we can engage that very large population of men that otherwise have no good skills. And will be - one day or another you're going to be involved in Somalia fighting, today or will have to be repatriated.
So those sorts of challenges across the Continent are things that USAID would not necessarily look at because they're not straight in soul (uncertain?) or what I would call fundamental development challenges. And yet, there are things that I think as a country we're going to have to be thinking about.
MS. LINDBORG: If I could just say a quick comment. Mr. Payne, I very much appreciate your observations and I think that in fact the standing up of AFRICOM stands is one of the most singular arguments for the need to increase our civilian capacities. That the military saw it didn't want to keep putting boots on the ground in a combat situation and saw that there was, because of chronic under-investment in development and diplomacy functions great potential for conflict on the African Continent; with their can do attitude they will then with a set of solutions. I think it's incumbent upon us as a country to rebalance our civilian capacities in order to meet those challenges rather than using the military solutions that AFRICOM puts on the table.
REP. PAYNE: Thank you very much.
REP. BERMAN: Gentlemen, my strategy worked.
I get to recognize myself and I don't have to put myself on the clock because, unless you're going to hang around too, in which case I'm willing to go back and forth with you for, I wanted to -- and I know several of you have to leave pretty soon and I won't be that long.
A couple of points I wanted to make and get your reaction to. The ranking member raised in her opening statement the sort of discussion of building up a capacity versus reform and Mr. Christenson spoke about that. It's the chicken and the egg and which comes first. But if AID has become simply a contracting agency, you can't really reform without building capacity. And so, I don't think it's as easy to say well let's reform first; and then, we'll rebuild the capacity. You want to rebuild the capacity the right way. We want to take a lot of the things you suggested in both training and in mission and in getting out of post-World War II models. We've done a lot of that already and I have seen a lot of different programs in different areas that have made real differences on the ground. But I don't think, and I guess I wish the ranking member were here so we could continue this discussion, but the message can get back to her. I think there is a problem with just saying let's reform it all first then we'll get to the capacity building, because if AID is now a contracting agency, what are you going to do close the contracting down? We're not going to do that. So I think the two go hand in hand.
The second point is the question about the Millennium Challenge program. And I'm torn because part of me thinks that's the right way to go. That is the model for their future. It's a merit-based test; it ensures the capacity of the society that is well governed to most absorb the aid. It's driven by the elected leadership, because democracy is one of the tests, and a number of other good governments are the tests for where it goes, and at the same time, for all the reasons the General has mentioned, and others have talked about, if you turn your back on the states that still might be dictatorships, and where corruption is still rampant, and don't work with the, both the AID people on the ground, and the NGO's, as opposed to the government, in many cases, to do something, you're going to go from corrupt and dictatorial states to failed states, and so, this is a -- it's not so easy to fix -- sort through all of that, in terms of how to apportion it, but there is something about that program, I agree, is very appealing, and in the long run, makes a lot of sense.
I would mention to Mr. Christenson, that, as you discuss this, I noticed you signed the majority report of the Health Commission, and -- am I wrong?
MR. CHRISTENSON: Yeah.
REP. BERMAN: Oh, you wrote the -- you wrote -- you wrote it! How about the part -- how about the part that calls for an up to 10 percent of the combined national security budget to go to the international affairs budget programs, a significant increase from the current level, which is about six percent, and would result in a huge increase, far more than even this administration is proposing in foreign assistance?
MR. CHRISTENSON: I did not write that, I could guarantee you. I mean that's overkill.
REP. BERMAN: Alright. Well --
MR. CHRISTENSON: You know the members --
REP. BERMAN: I wouldn't have asked the question if I had thought you signed.
MR. CHRISTENSON: You know if I could suggest, I mean, the members of the panel will have the leave if they have -- you said they have to leave at 12:00 to be -- (inaudible) -- perhaps we could ask them their views, and maybe after they have a chance to leave, we could talk about it. I mean, I-I--
REP. BERMAN: You do want to make the second vote, but -- but I take your point that you did not write that part of the report --
MR. CHRISTENSON: Could I say, I mean --
REP. BERMAN: Yeah.
MR. CHRISTENSON: AID does not have a competent personnel office. It uses its director of personnel as kind of a rotating slot for (missing ?) directors they can't figure out what do with for a while. They're constantly changing. The number one reform of both State and AID
REP. BERMAN: That's an indictment of the management.
MR. CHRISTENSON: Yes, I said, it needs some management structure. It needs people to go in there and put back in place a competent management. This committee in the late '90's, you know, had a bill that required that the State Department director general, who is the director of personnel should be somebody with 10 years human resources management experience. Again, instead of using it as an honorific place for ambassadors to park. The State Department had a fit, and they insisted it come out of the bill. But I tell you --
REP. BERMAN: Well, we ought to think about that.
Mr. CHRISTENSON: I think that's the number one reform for both agencies. If I could just say, one time I --
REP. BERMAN: Although you have to say, I have always been quite impressed with the present Undersecretary of Management in the State Department.
MR. CHRISTENSON: Extremely impressed, in my opinion, is what I am. I mean, Pat Kennedy is fabulous.
REP. BERMAN: Yeah. Okay.
MR. CHRISTENSON: But, you know, I once went up to the CIA and spent the entire day talking to them about how do they feel with the problems that are the same as the State Department and AID faced? It was a very valuable day.
One of the things I discovered is, I mean, CIA has a personnel director who's been there for a very long time. They're planning 10 or 15 years from now. They bring in people, and they have very long term plans that they implement. State and AID have people who have plans, and then who leave, and the next guy has always wanted to do it differently, and he starts another plan. And it turns into absolute chaos. If you look at the cohort of people that they brought in once they were given authority to hire more people, it's the same template they've been recruiting against for eternity. I mean, they're, you know, Peace Corps volunteers who went overseas, they have an English major, they came back from the Peace Corps, and they went to -- (inaudible) -- school for foreign service and got a quick master's degree in international development. And then they say, "We don't have any engineers." Well, yes, you didn't --
REP. BERMAN: (Inaudible).
MR. CHRISTENSON: Hire them. If you're looking for ergonomists, go hire some ergonomists. But if you're constantly you know, recruiting against a false template that nobody has ever really thought about, do we need to hire this type of person to work in this agency, and to be the future leaders of the agency? They don't do it.
MR. BERMAN: I think you ask a -- you raise a very, very good point to which we should look at. Well, any other reactions on this? Ms. Lindborg.
MS. LINDBORG: I would just quickly add on your -- you were thinking about the MCC. I don't see it as an either-or, but rather those, I think, are exactly the kinds of issues that can be effectively addressed in the national security strategy, and ensure that we have capacities to deal both with the failing states, those more -- or less permissive environments, as well as those countries that are further along on their development continuum and create a cohesive whole so there can be a handshake and coordination on platforms that are shared in each of the countries. So I think that you're raising the right questions and the answers lie in creating this more comprehensive view.
MR. BERMAN: And then my --
MR. CHRISTENSON: I have a question on the MCC. One of the problems of the MCC has an upper limit for its program.
I mean, countries like South Africa and other well managed democracies are not allowed to participate in the MCC. So one of the reforms we might look at is when you have countries that are above the MCC threshold for eligibility, I mean, maybe we ought to be sort of turning to an MCC model for them, and take those human resources that we're wasting on trying to manage projects in these countries and use them where we need them. I mean, I personally --
MR. BERMAN: I'll take South Africa in particular.
MR. CHRISTENSON: What?
MR. BERMAN: In South -- you raised South Africa as such a country. In South Africa in particular, we went there in last July and we looked at a lot of PEPFAR projects, and one of the results of our heavy investment in PEPFAR was helping to build, in South Africa, both an openness and a capacity to take these things over. And you saw it morphing from simply providing prescription drugs and having just American agencies involved in education programs and prevention programs to the start of a development of a South African infrastructure to do those things. And --
MR. CHRISTENSON: I've spent 33 years working on South Africa and I don't agree that that's what happened. And I apologize for saying that. South Africans were planning a massive HIV AIDS program prior to the launching of the PEPFAR program. They were planning to --
MR. BERMAN: I heard some of the things they were talking about and --
MR. CHRISTENSON : If you look at what they actually did. Forget the rumors and the newspapers of who said -- supposedly said what, I mean they were working on a massive program that they were going to announce in 2003. And if you look at what they announced in 2003 and you look at what they've accomplished, they kept their word and they accomplished what they promised. South Africans have a very different way of dealing with the world. They, they work out the -- (inaudible) -- the difficulties in advance of making the announcement. Bush sort of took all the wind out of their sails by making the PEPFAR announcement which he did in a very abusive way.
MR. BERMAN: Okay.
MR. CHRISTENSON: Let me -- let me just finish. I mean, the U.S. government announced to the South Africans that they were going to have a program with 500,000 South Africans in it by calling them at 4:00 in the afternoon on the night of the -- on the day of the State of the Union address. The South Africans were livid.
MR. BERMAN: You're not going to get me to defend the way the Bush administration handled some of these issues.
MR. CHRISTENSON: No. I mean, you know. And then what you had was this permanent conflict between PEPFAR and the South African government. The Ministry of Health's attitude was either you're with PEPFAR or you're with us. You can't be with both. I mean, how did we do that so poorly?
MR. BERMAN: Well, that's a fair question. My own sense -- and that the danger of sending any of us anywhere for a quick trip is we can jump to conclusions, perhaps based on inadequate evidence. My own sense is there were changes in that tension by the summer of 2008.
Let me just ask my last question. And, General, I'd be curious of your response, but all the panelists. We've been talking about development assistance in permissive environments and non-permissive environments, all that. I'd like to go to security assistance for a second, because this whole issue -- Another phenomenon I mentioned in my opening remarks besides the PRTs and other sort of creeping role of DOD into a lot of traditionally civilian assistance programs is the DOD finding different ways to take over the decisions regarding and the providing of security assistance. Now, military may not be right for training police but they are right for training troops. And every -- and the security assistance and IMET are always going to be implemented in great part by military people.
But I'm curious about -- is there a reason why the actual providing of military assistance, money for systems and all that stuff, should be carried out by DOD rather than the State Department? One of the reasons, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had said -- talk about not handling an issue well -- the State Department, the length of time and the difficulty in actually getting that out to the intended recipients needs a huge amount of reform and improvement.
But, in the end of the day, isn't security assistance an aspect of our foreign policy priorities with the national security context? I guess what I want you to say is, yes, State should still do this but disabuse me if I'm wrong.
GEN. HAGEE: I would, sir, but you're not. I would support that, but I would also echo what the chairman has said and what others have said. The bureaucratic process of getting that in a timely manner so that, in fact, you can have a diplomatic effect, it's just really quite burdensome. The commander on the ground, when all is said and done, doesn't care where it comes from as long as it comes in a timely manner. And I think State handling it is just, personal opinion, Mike Hagee's opinion, it's just fine.
MR.BERMAN: But, we've got to make it -- we've got to clean up the way it's done, I take it. Anybody else have reactions on this issue?
MR. BRIGETY: The only thing I would add is, you mentioned briefly police training. And it is the perpetual problem with every stabilization and reconstruction mission. As General Hagee has said, as other military officers have said, that the military should not have a role in police training. I agree with that, but I also think that we need to seriously relook Section 660 of Foreign Assistance Act that prohibits USAID from engaging that because somebody has to own that mission operation for the U.S. government.
REP. BERMAN: Thank you all very much. Sorry for keeping you a little longer than we intended and I think it's been a very excellent hearing. I think a lot of different issues have been raised that we can think about and appreciate you're being here.