Hearing Of The Senate Appropriations Committee
Subject: The President's Fy 2009 War Supplemental Request
Witnesses: Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton; Secretary Of Defense Robert Gates
Chaired By: Senator Daniel Inouye
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SEN. INOUYE: The committee will come to order.
This morning the committee meets to review the supplemental appropriations request for fiscal year 2009. The request by the administration totals $83.4 billion, of which approximately 95 percent is to support military-related security efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
An additional 4 percent is requested for other security initiatives, with the remaining 1 percent related to other issues such as wildlife protection and improved communication equipment for the Capitol Police.
To discuss the majority of the funding requested, the committee is pleased to receive testimony from the distinguished Secretaries of State and Defense, the honorable Hillary Clinton and the honorable Robert Gates.
It is good to see both of you. The members of the committee know each of you very well. We hold you both in great esteem and are familiar with and appreciate your candor. We look forward to your responses to the many questions which I'm certain we will have.
As we review the requests, I want you to know first that I'm pleased that the president has indicated that this will be the last increment of funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that will be requested outside of the regular appropriations process.
While we recognize that no one can predict what other new requirements might emerge which would require the administration or Congress to seek additional funding, it is clearly a positive step that, beginning in fiscal year 2010, we can expect to see the costs of these ongoing efforts will be contained in the regular budget.
I believe it is also a positive step that the request for this last increment is not listed as an emergency. For several years, led by Chairman Byrd, this committee has urged the administration to get rid of that gimmick declaring war supplementals as emergencies. We very much appreciate the willingness of the new administration to put these costs on budget.
In general, it is my belief that the Senate is likely to be supportive of this request. Funding contained in the proposal will provide very necessary funds to support our troops in harm's way, and, almost as critical, provide funding to assist our allies and support the governments of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
There are several areas, however, in which I believe the committee will need additional clarification or justification before it can recommend funding. For example, many of my colleagues are concerned for the precise plan involved in the closure of the prison at Guantanamo.
We wonder about the potential plan to station our war-weary National Guard troops on the Southwest border. And we question the appropriateness of providing foreign assistance for Pakistan under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense. So, too, we will be seeking assurances that the administration is not attempting to provide any assistance to Hamas.
Hopefully these issues will be among those addressed either in your statements or in the questions which will follow.
I would note to my colleagues that I recognize that there are many issues which you will want to address, and remind you that today's hearing is on the 2009 supplemental request and not on the 2010 budget request, which we will be receiving next week. So I would urge my colleagues to refrain from trying to discuss items in the 2010 request. We'll be inviting both secretaries back to the committee at later dates to discuss the 2010 budget.
I thank both of you for appearing today. Without objection, the full statements will be made part of the record. And at this point I'd like to yield to the vice chairman of this committee, the honorable Thad Cochran, for any opening remarks he may wish to make.
SEN. THAD COCHRAN (R-MS): Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. I'm pleased to join you in welcoming our distinguished witnesses, Secretary Clinton, Secretary Gates, to our committee today as we consider the request for supplemental appropriations. These are national security issues of great import, and we are going to be carefully reviewing the request to be sure that we do provide the resources needed to deal with these critical international challenges.
We're at a critical juncture for the future security of our country as we begin to draw down forces in Iraq and shift our focus to dismantling al Qaeda and extremist networks in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The security environment in both Iraq and Afghanistan remain tenuous.
In Iraq, we need to watch for signs the security situation does not degrade as our forces withdraw. I'm pleased to see the greater emphasis that the administration has placed on eliminating terrorist safe havens in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas, using greater cooperation and counterinsurgency training of Pakistani security forces.
In considering the administration's request for overseas contingency operations, we must be mindful of our duty to provide our service members and diplomatic officers with the resources needed to conduct their missions successfully. They're asked to do much in support of our national security, and we must provide them the resources necessary to accomplish their missions.
We look forward to the testimony today and your estimates, if you can provide us that, of when the department will need these additional funds.
SEN. INOUYE: I thank you very much, Mr. Vice Chairman.
And it is now my pleasure and great honor to introduce the secretary of State.
SEC. CLINTON: Thank you very much --
SEN. INOUYE: (Inaudible.)
SEC. CLINTON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Senator Cochran, members of the committee, former colleagues and friends. I thank you for this opportunity to appear before you. And I also thank you for your stalwart support of the men and women of the State Department and USAID, who serve in critical and often dangerous missions in all corners of the world.
I'm honored to be here with Secretary Gates. I appreciate the partnership that we have developed in the first 100 days of this administration. And today, on day 101, I look forward to our further collaboration in the months ahead.
Before turning to the topic of today's hearing, let me just give you a brief update on how the State Department is supporting the federal government's response to the H1N1 flu virus. We have established an influenza monitoring group within our operations center. We are tracking how other governments are responding to the threat and what assistance we might offer.
We are constantly reviewing and refining our advice to Americans traveling or living abroad. Our pandemic influenza unit, set up in the last years, is providing valuable expertise. Its director, Ambassador Robert Loftis, is keeping us apprised of their work and their interaction with health agencies and the World Health Organization.
Earlier this week, USAID announced it is giving $5 million to the World Health Organization and the Pan America Health Organization to help detect and contain the disease in Mexico. We will continue to coordinate closely with the Departments of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, the WHO, the CDC and other agencies. And I'm very cognizant of the role that we all must play in attempting to stem and contain this influenza outbreak.
Secretary Gates and I are here together because our departments' missions are aligned and our plans are integrated. The foreign policy of the United States is built on the three Ds -- defense, diplomacy and development.
The men and women in our armed forces perform their duties with courage and skill, putting their lives on the line time and time again on behalf of our nation. And in many regions, they serve alongside civilians from the State Department and USAID, as well as other government agencies like USDA.
We work with the military in two crucial ways. First, civilians complement and build upon our military's efforts in conflict areas like Iraq and Afghanistan. Second, they use diplomatic and development tools to build more stable and peaceful societies, hopefully to avert or end conflict that is far less costly in lives and dollars than military action.
As you know, the United States is facing serious challenges around the world -- two wars; political uncertainty in the Middle East; irresponsible nations, led by Iran and North Korea, with nuclear ambitions; an economic crisis that is pushing more people into poverty; and 21st century threats such as terrorism, climate change, trafficking in drugs and human beings.
These challenges require new forms of outreach and cooperation within our own government and then with others as well. To achieve this, we have launched a new diplomacy powered by partnership, pragmatism and principle. We are strengthening historic alliances and reaching out to create new ones. And we're bringing governments, the private sector and civil society together to find global solutions to global problems.
The 2009 supplemental budget request for the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development is a significant sum. Yet our investment in diplomacy and development is only about 6 percent of our total national security budget.
For Secretary Gates and myself, it is critically important that we give our civilian workers, as well as our military, the resources they need to do their jobs well.
In Iraq, as we prepare to withdraw our troops, our mission is changing but it is no less urgent.
We must reinforce security gains while supporting the Iraqi government and people as they strengthen public institutions and promote job creation and assist those Iraqis who had fled because of violence and want to return home.
Last weekend I visited Iraq, taking with me -- or meeting on the ground actually -- our new ambassador who was confirmed the night before. We visited the leadership. We visited with a cross section of Iraqis in a town hall setting, and clearly there are signs of progress. But there is much work that remains.
In meeting with Iraqis who are working with our provincial reconstruction teams and our embassy, I was struck by their courage and determination to reconstruct their country, not just physically but really through the re-weaving of their society.
We have requested $482 million in the supplemental for our civilian efforts to help Iraq move forward. We want to create a future of stability, sovereignty, and self reliance. And another 108 million (dollars) to assist Iraqi refugees.
In Afghanistan, as you know, the president has ordered additional troops. Our mission is very clear; to disrupt, dismantle and destroy al Qaeda. But bringing stability to that region is not only a military mission, it requires more than a military response. So we have requested $980 million in assistance to focus on rebuilding the agricultural sector, having more political progress, helping the local and provincial leadership deliver services for their people.
As President Obama has consistently maintained, success in Afghanistan depends on success in Pakistan, and we have seen how difficult it is for the government there to make progress as the Taliban and their allies continues to make end roads.
Counterinsurgency training is critical, but of equal importance are diplomacy and development, to work with the Pakistani government, Pakistani civil society, to try to provide more economic stability and diminish the conditions that feed extremism. That is the intent of the comprehensive strategy laid out by Senator Kerry and Senator Lugar, which President Obama and I have endorsed and which the Senate will be considering in the next days.
With this supplemental request we are seeking funding of $497 million in assistance for our work in Pakistan, which will support the government's efforts to stabilize the economy, strengthen law enforcement, alleviate poverty, and help displaced citizens find safe shelter. It will also enable us to begin to keep the pledge we made to Pakistan at the Tokyo Donors Conference earlier this month.
In addition to our work in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, we are committed to helping achieve a comprehensive peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors and to address the humanitarian needs in Gaza and the West Bank.
At Sharm el-Sheikh last month, on behalf of the president, I announced a pledge of $900 million for humanitarian, economic and security assistance for the Palestinian authority and the Palestinian people. Our supplemental request is included in that pledge, it is not in addition to it. And it will be implemented with stringent requirements to prevent aid from being diverted into the wrong hands.
Meanwhile, the current economic crisis has put millions of people in danger of falling further into poverty, and we have seen again and again that this can destabilize countries as well as sparking humanitarian crises. So we have requested $448 million to assist developing countries hardest hit by the global financial crisis.
These efforts will be complimented by investments in the supplemental budget for emergency food aid, to counter the destructive effects of the global food crises, to try to help people who are undernourished to succeed in school, participate in their societies. And I'm very pleased that the president has asked the State Department and USAID to lead a government wide effort to address the challenge of food security.
We must also lead by example when it comes to shared responsibility, so we have included in this request $137 million for United Nations peace keeping operations, which includes funds to cover assessments previously withheld.
I was recently in Haiti where the UN peacekeeping force led by the Brazilians has done an extraordinary job in bringing security and stability to Haiti. It is still fragile, but enormous progress has been made. It is a good investment for us to pay 25 percent of that kind of stability operation instead of being asked to assume it for 100 percent of the cost.
We're asking also for small investments targeted to specific concerns; international peacekeeping operations and stabilization in Africa; humanitarian needs in Burma; the dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear programs, assuming that they come back to the six party talks; assistance for Georgia that the prior administration promised and we believe we should fulfill; support for the Lebanese government, which is facing serious challenges; and funding for critical air mobility support in Mexico as part of the Merida Initiative.
Finally, if the State Department is to pursue an ambitious foreign policy agenda that safeguards our security and advances our interests and really exemplifies our values we have to have a more agile, effective State Department and USAID. We have to staff those departments well. We have to provide the resources that are needed. We have to hold ourselves accountable.
Our supplemental includes $747 million to support State and USAID mission operations around the world.
Secretary Gates and I are also looking at how our departments can collaborate even more effectively. That includes identifying pieces of our shared mission that are now housed at Defense that should move to State.
With the budget support we've outlined in this supplemental request we can do the work that this moment demands of us in regions whose future stability will impact our own.
Secretary Gates and I are committed to working closely together in an almost unprecedented way to sort out what the individual responsibilities and missions of Defense and State and USAID should be, but committed to the overall goal of promoting stability and long term progress, which we believe is in the interests of the United States and which we are prepared to address and take on the challenges and seize the opportunities that confront us at this moment in history.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. INOUYE: I thank you very much, Madam Secretary.
And now may I call upon the Defense Secretary, Secretary Gates.
SEC. GATES: Mr. Chairman, Senator Cochran, and members of the committee thank you for giving me the opportunity to discuss the fiscal year 2009 supplemental request.
I'm honored to be here with Secretary Clinton. Our joint appearance symbolizes the continuing improvement in relationships and close collaboration between the departments of State and Defense.
As Secretary Clinton said, this is intended to be the last planned war supplemental request that the administration will make. Future budgets, starting with FY '10, will instead be presented together with money for overseas contingency operations clearly marked as such.
On that subject, some of you may have heard about my FY '10 budget recommendations to the president. I look forward to coming back here next month to discuss some of those details with you.
Of the $83.4 billion dollars in this request, approximately 76 billion (dollars) is for the Department of Defense, most of it to directly support operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. This covers a wide range of activities whose highlights include; $38 billion for everyday costs associated with maintaining forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, from pre-deployment training to transportation to or from theater to the operations themselves. I should note that this supplemental takes into account planned reductions in troop numbers in Iraq this year and increases in Afghanistan.
Eleven point six billion dollars to replace and repair equipment that has been worn out damaged, or destroyed in Iraq and Afghanistan. This includes money for four F-22s to replace one F-15 and three F-16s classified as combat losses.
Nine point eight billion dollars for force protection, which includes among other things money for lightweight body armor, surveillance capabilities, and $2.7 billion for sustainment, retrofit upgrades and new procurement of 1,000 MRAP all terrain vehicles to meet the latest requirements in Afghanistan.
Three point six billion dollars to expand and improve the Afghan national security forces. We have not requested and will not request in the future any money for Iraq's security forces. The government of Iraq has taken on that financial burden.
One point five billion dollars to continue to deal with the threat imposed by improvised explosive devices, a threat, considering its effectiveness, we should expect to see in any future conflict involving either state or non-state actors.
Four hundred million dollars for the Commanders Emergency Response program, a program that has been very successful in allowing commanders on the ground to make immediate, positive impacts in their areas of operation. It will continue to play a pivotal role as we increase operations in Afghanistan and focus on providing the population with securities and opportunities for a better life.
I should note that the department has taken a number of steps to ensure the proper use of this critical combat enhancing capability.
Finally, there's $400 million for the Pakistan counterinsurgency capability fund. This program will be carried out with the concurrence of the secretary of State and will complement existing and planned State department efforts by allowing the CENTCOM commander to work with Pakistan's military to build counterinsurgency capability.
I know there is some question about funding both the PCCF and the Foreign Military Financing program but we are asking for this unique authority for the unique and urgent circumstances we face in Pakistan. For dealing with a challenge that simultaneously requires wartime and peacetime capabilities.
General Petraeus, General McKiernan and the U.S. ambassador on the ground have asked for this authority and it is a vital element of the president's new Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy.
The supplemental also includes money for programs to support the war fighter and ease strain on the force. Due to higher than expected recruiting and retention rates we are well ahead of schedule to expand the Army and Marine Corp, which will help ease the burden on our troops and help reduce with the goal of ending stop loss.
Currently we expect the Marine Corps and the Army to meet their respective end strengths of 202,000 and 547,4000 by the end of this fiscal year.
The supplemental includes $2.2 billion to that end. There is also $1.6 billion for wounded warrior care and programs to improve the quality of life for our troops and their families. On that note, I thank the Congress for funding, in the Stimulus Bill, programs that provided infrastructure improvements including $1.3 billion for hospital construction.
I should mention in the FY '10 budget we are proposing to move funding for programs like these to the base budget to ensure long-term support for the programs that most directly affect our nation's greatest strategic asset: our troops and the families that support them.
As was the case last year, the Department of Defense will have to be prepared for continued operations in the absence of the supplemental or another bridge fund. Currently some operational funds will begin to run out in July, which has historically affected the Army and the Marine Corps first. After Memorial Day we will need to consider options to delay running out of funds.
We also expect to run out of money to reimburse Pakistan by mid- May. I urge you to take up this bill and pass it as quickly as possible, but please not later than Memorial Day.
As Secretary Clinton discussed, the supplemental also includes $7.1 billion for international affairs and stabilization activities, including economic assistance for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Needless to say I strongly support this funding. As I have said for the last two years, I believe that the challenges confronting our nation cannot be dealt with by military means alone. They instead require whole-of- government approaches, but that can only be done if the State Department is given the resources befitting the scope of its mission across the globe, which is particularly important in Afghanistan and Pakistan where our ability to provide resources beyond military power will be the decisive factor.
One of the most interesting and thoughtful discussions I've had during a hearing was almost exactly a year ago when Secretary Rice and I sat before the House Armed Services Committee to discuss Section 1206 and 1206 authorities, both of which have improved levels of cooperation between State and Defense. Secretary Clinton and I are also dedicated to figuring out how best to bring to bear the full force of our entire government on the pressing issues of the day.
So I ask you to continue supporting, not just our men and women in uniform but the men and women at the State Department who are just as committed to the safety and security of the United States.
Let me close by once again thanking you for your ongoing support of our troops and their families. I know you share my desire to give them everything they need to accomplish their mission and to support them and their families when they come home. Thank you.
SEN. INOUYE: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. Noting the extraordinary attendance of members, I have instructed the staff director to utilize the clock, and we will be limited to four minutes per person. And if I may, I'd like to begin the questioning by asking a question on a small item, $50 million for the Department of Defense and $30 for Justice. This is on Guantanamo. Though small, it's been controversial and a matter of great concern. What is your precise plan to close Gauntanamo? How are you going to utilize this money?
SEC. GATES: Let me start and then see if Secretary Clinton has anything to add. We are in the process, the Justice Department I should say is in the process of reviewing each of the detainees at Guantanamo, their files, to make a determination whether they should, whether we should try and find a way to transfer them to other countries that might take them, whether to try them under Article 3 Courts, or what to do with the rest of them.
Those discussions are going on right now, and in fact I think just this week the discussions are beginning in terms of trying to decide where the detainees would go that are not transferred to other countries or are not tried in Article 3 Courts.
Those discussions have just gotten started. There clearly will be a specific plan that comes out of this, but what we've had to await is the determination roughly speaking of about how big a group of people we will be talking about. And so the review of each of these case files has had to precede the development of a specific plan in terms of where the prisoners would go, or the detainees.
And so we have put a plug in the budget for $50 million just as a hedge that would allow us to get started if some construction is needed to be able to accommodate those detainees; that the other $30 million is for the Justice Department as part of the process of going through these determinations at Guantanamo.
SEN. INOUYE: How many detainees are involved in this process?
SEC. GATES: I think that there are now about, I don't have the precise number, Mr. Chairman. We can get that back to you. But I think it's about 250, and it's what the subset of that will be that we will have to accommodate long-term that we're working on.
SEN. INOUYE: So you have not determined as to whether these prisoners will remain in federal prisons or elsewhere?
SEC. GATES: That is correct, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. INOUYE: You have no hint to give us?
SEC. GATES: No, sir.
SEN. INOUYE: Madam Secretary, anything to add?
SEC. CLINTON: Mr. Chairman, as Secretary Gates outlined, there's a very intensive process underway led by the Attorney General, and the determination as to each detainee are being conducted by an intensive review of all files and other material available. But as Secretary Gates said, we are not yet at a point where decisions to any great extent have been made. Speaking for the State Department, obviously our role has circumscribed what we are attempting to do is try to convince other countries to take back their own nationalities of detainees and perhaps even others. And we have an intensive outreach effort going on to that effect right now.
SEN. INOUYE: One final question, Mr. Secretary. What will happen to the facility itself?
SEC. GATES: I suspect that the detention facility will be mothballed once all the detainees are removed. I don't think we've addressed that piece of it yet, but I suspect that's what would happen.
SEN. INOUYE: I thank you very much. Mr. Vice Chairman?
SEN. COCHRAN: Mr. Chairman. Madam Secretary, the submission to the committee contemplates what is called a "surge" of civilian experts who will be brought together by the administration to help develop strategies and programs for economic and cultural development efforts in Afghanistan. I'm curious to know if we have begun recruiting people or assembling people. Is someone in the Department of State identified to head this economic and agricultural development program? And how much of the request contemplates money going directly to this effort?
SEC. CLINTON: Well, Senator, this is our commitment to try to provide additional civilian experts and workers in fields like agronomy that we are in the process of recruiting. Jack Wu, the deputy secretary at State for Resource and Management working with Representative Richard Holbrook, and really it's a department-wide effort, as well as with USAID, are actually identifying where we need to put people, what kind of people.
Now, our numbers are not yet determined because this is obviously a challenging recruitment. But we believe we can recruit -- the latest figure was about 500 civilians. The Defense Department as part of our ongoing discussion about how to enhance the capacities of the State Department, which we are undertaking but not yet have fulfilled, has talked about looking at some of their civilians and some of their Guard and Reserve members to perhaps help in specific areas.
Richard Holbrook and General Petrayus have been planning very carefully and at a local level what we're going to need. And we are committed to coming up with our share of the civilians.
One thing I would add, Senator, which of course is a concern, is the safety and security of these civilians because we're talking about direct American hires or contract hires. We will also of course cooperate with NGOs, other nations' civilian workers, locally engaged and hired nationals. So what we're talking about is a small number of what we hope will be a large civilian presence coordinated and focused. But security remains a challenge here and in Iraq, and it's something that we are spending a lot of time looking at with the Department of Defense.
SEN. COCHRAN: We noticed that the request includes Department of Defense funding for this purpose as well, $141 million for the Department of Defense and $104 million for the Department of State. Mr. Secretary, is there a particular person you're putting in charge of this program at the Department of Defense to see that these funds are spent in an effective way?
SEC. GATES: The deputy secretary, Bill Lynn, is overseeing this. And it's really for our part, we're trying to see if we can't -- we think this situation is urgent enough that it's important to get people into the field as quickly as possible. And so as a bridging effort to get from where we are today to the full deployment at the resources under the State Department's auspices, we are looking at asking members of the Reserve component for volunteers -- veterinarians, agronomists, accountants and so on -- who would serve for a period of months until the longer-term State Department folks are there. And it's our intent I think initially for those who will be out in the field to use the additional civilians or volunteers to plus up the provincial reconstruction teams because there's already a structure that would provide security for them, as Secretary Clinton indicated.
SEN. COCHRAN: Thank you.
SEC. CLINTON: Senator, could I just add one additional point? In Secretary Gates' testimony he referenced what has been a very effective program on the ground for our military, the CERF funds, the Commanders Emergency Response Funds. Every time I was in Iraq I was struck by how these really smart, focused captains and majors were given significant funds to be able to make on-the-spot decisions. You know, if some tribal leaders', you know, house was damaged, they could say, Well, I'm going to give you the money and we'll rebuild it." Or some road was blocked, "Well, we'll get the money to clear it." That was an incredibly flexible and useful tool. Nothing like that exists on the civilian side.
And so when we talk about working through the authorities and the capacities between State and Defense, for a lot of reasons right now Defense is able to be more agile and flexible with streams of money that go right to the ground into the communities. And we're going to have to work with the committee and others to try to figure out how we get more of that kind of agility and flexibility in our embassy and on the ground with our civilian workers.
SEN. COCHRAN: Thank you.
SEN. INOUYE: Senator Leahy.
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Delighted to see you both here. I think having both of you in the positions you are in makes, is a tremendous service to our country, and I think we're fortunate that both of you are here.
And Secretary Gates, I probably won't get the time to do it, but I spoke to you briefly about the 1800 citizen soldiers from the Vermont Guard that are going to go to Afghanistan. I'll have some written questions on particular armor and equipment for them, and I would ask if you or your staff could respond to that when you get the written questions.
SEC. GATES: Sure.
SEN. LEAHY: And Madam Secretary, you mentioned H1N1 flu virus and earlier this week the President requested an additional $1.5 billion supplemental, but that goes to the problem with Health and Human Services. We have to assume that it's not going to be available to other countries responding to what WHO says is becoming a global pandemic. Millions of Americans are traveling, studying, stationed overseas. We know that this is a virus that knows no boundaries. It doesn't stop at our borders.
Should we have additional funding in here for unanticipated health emergencies outside the United States, much of which could impact Americans?
SEC. CLINTON: It's a very good question, Senator. You know, Mexico requested from us and a number of other countries as well as the World Health Organization some help in getting access to the drugs that are needed. And we are working with our partners to try to help resolve that and assist the Mexicans. They also needed additional kinds of diagnostic and technological and expert help as well, and we sent people down to our embassy in Mexico to work with the Mexican government.
I do think that much of the work that we did in the Congress over the last several years on avian flu has put us in a better position than we would have been. But I think that we could very well require additional help to deal with the emergencies in other countries, because what will happen, it's human nature, is that as the influenza spreads people will be increasingly reluctant to share their supplies.
SEN. LEAHY: So what you're saying is, we may need additional.
SEC. CLINTON: I think we, I would like to get back to you with a specific request, Senator, because I think you're right to raise that.
SEN. LEAHY: I look at the diplomatic and development components of the administration's strategy for Afghanistan, and I don't see it differing much from the previous administration's funds some of the same things. I worry that we spend billions in Afghanistan, and we've yet to see the results that you or Secretary or Gates or I would like to see. What goals are realistic? How is your supplemental request of $980 million differ from what we've done before? What failed before? What's going to work now?
SEC. CLINTON: Well, I think that we're at a point now, Senator, where lessons learned are finally being acquired and listened to. There have been some successes in certain provinces and departments of the national government in Afghanistan. The Afghan National Army has proceeded to be built up so that it has the respect of the nation. Some of our partners in ISAF -- the Dutch, the British and others and their provinces they were responsible for -- have had positive results. This review that we engaged in was intensive, and it was no holds barred. What works, what doesn't work, it was a joint military/civilian undertaking.
I can't tell you sitting here today that everything we're going to try is going to work, but let me give you one quick example about what we think can make a difference. We did not emphasize agriculture. You know, Afghanistan used to be the garden of Central Asia. You go back 30, 40, 50 years, you see huge orchards. Now when any of us fly over we see eroded, denuded landscape with hardly a tree in sight. And there was a real cry for the Afghans to please get some help in doing this, but our principle objective has been to eradicate the poppy crop, and we never really took seriously alternative livelihoods.
We believe, on both the civilian and the military side, that this is a great opportunity for us. We know that from our intelligence a lot of the members of the Taliban are not there because they are ideologically committed but because it's a job. And frankly, it's a job that pays better than being in the police and it pays better than trying to scrounge around to keep, make a living without any help out of the land.
So I think, Senator, we've got a view of what we think will work better, and we're going to recruit the people, and we're not going to be all things to all Afghanistan's population. We're going to have very discreet missions, and we're going to hold ourselves accountable.
SEN. LEAHY: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We're going to have to have probably further private discussions as before the subcommittee takes it up. Thank you.
SEN. INOUYE: Thank you. The Republican leader Senator McConnell has special responsibilities on the floor. In recognition of this, and in the spirit of bipartisanship, Mr. McConnell.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate that.
Welcome, Senator Clinton and Secretary Gates.
Let me pick up on the subject matter that the chairman led off with, and that's Guantanamo. Secretary Gates, as you know, we had a vote in the Senate two years ago, 94 to 3, on the issue of whether or not the detainees at Gauntanamo should come to U.S. soil. I know the attorney general, I've heard you both say the attorney general is in charge of this review, but I do have some questions related to the $50 million request for Guantanamo in the supplemental.
The first one I guess would be, I didn't hear you mention the Military Commissions as a possible way to deal with these detainees. The Supreme Court in effect ordered us to pass Military Commission law, which we did a couple of years ago. Am I to conclude, or are we all to conclude, that the Military Commissions are now out as a way of trying whatever detainees we cannot convince others to take, and we have to deal with ourselves?
SEC. GATES: No, sir, not at all. And I should have included them as one of the alternatives. One of the areas that I think the attorney general and the Justice Department are looking at is the Military Commissions, whether to go forward with the, I think there are nine cases that are already before the Military Commissions; whether or not.
And should there be any changes to the Military Commission law if the decision is made to retain the Military Commissions? But it's still, the Commissions are very much still on the table.
SEN. MCCONNELL: As you probably heard, various communities are beginning to discuss their interest in taking these, and so far there isn't any. In fact, I believe some communities have actually begun to pass resolutions saying they don't want them. How do we solve this dilemma? We know this about Guantanamo, everyone who's visited there including the current attorney general has said it's a good facility, they are being treated humanely. We know no one has escaped from there during all of these years. We know we haven't been attacked again since 9/11. It seems to me to be working.
And a lot of our European critics will see, I guess we don't really fully know the answer whether many of them are willing to take any of these people, but we do know that some of the countries form which they have come haven't had a great record of keeping them incarcerated once we send them back. Many of them ended up back on the battlefield.
What are your thoughts about? What are we going to do with these people?
SEC. GATES: Well, the question really is, what are we going to do with those that cannot be returned home either because we fear that they won't be kept under, they won't be monitored or kept under watch, or we worry that they'll be persecuted when they go home. For example, the Ouigirs, the 17 Ouigirs. So we're talking about probably somewhere between --
SEN. MCCONNELL: On the Ouigirs, I gather the plan is simply to release them in the United States, right?
SEC. GATES: Well, some of them.
SEN. MCCONNELL: Not to be incarcerated, but just to be released in the country?
SEC. GATES: I'm not sure a final decision has been made. What I have heard people talking about is our taking some of the Weagers, probably not all, because it's difficult for the State Department to make the argument to other countries they should take these people that we have deemed in this case not to be dangerous if we won't take any of them ourselves.
But the question is, the core of your question is, what do we do with the 50 to 100 probably in that ballpark who we cannot release and cannot trust, either in Article 3 courts or Military Commissions. And I think that question is still open. The President has made the decision to close Guantanamo. It's something that his predecessors said should be done, something that I said should be done over a year ago. I fully expect to have 535 pieces of legislation before this is over saying, "Not in my district, not in my state."
SEN. MCCONNELL: I think you can count on it.
SEC. GATES: And we'll just have to deal with that when the time comes.
SEN. MCCONNELL: Well, my time is up. But just let me say in conclusion, I understand the dilemma. The previous administration of which you were a part also said they wanted to close Guantanamo. Both candidates for president last year said they wanted to close Guantanamo. The difference is, this administration has actually put a date on it and actually has to answer the question, what are you going to do with them?
And I think it is perfectly clear that many of them are going to return to the battlefield if they can, and the conclusion is going to be with many of them that they need to be incarcerated. And the question then is, when? And we're going to have a continuing interest in this in terms of your own facilities and whether they can successfully contain them as Guantanamo has for the last seven and a half years. Communities are going to be upset about this. This is a very important issue, and it deals with public safety, as we all know. We haven't been attacked again since 9/11, and we like that. And we'd like for that record to continue. Thank you very much.
SEN. INOUYE: I thank you. Senator Mikulski.
SEN. BARBARA MIKULSKI (D-MD): Mr. Chairman, good morning. Well, President Obama has certainly put together a turbo team for foreign policy, and it's a pleasure to welcome both of you. Secretary Gates, I want to thank you for your ongoing commitment to the war fighter, not only in the theater but when they come back home. We want to acknowledge within this supplemental request increased money for health care for the returning war fighters, and we will be looking at whether that's adequate because as we've talked about on so many occasions. They bear the permanent wounds of war, the permanent impact of war, as well as the yellow ribbon integration program.
So we'll be working with you on this.
And Secretary Clinton, you've had your own 100 days, 22 countries, 74,000 miles, and 3:00 in the morning phone calls that go on 36 hours throughout the day.
But friends and colleagues, with this excellent presentation, know that I have very serous reservations about our Afghan policy. And my reservations are based on this, and then three specific things.
Number one, the fact that Afghan seems threatened not only by the Taliban but by a government that's riddled with cronyism and corruption. And part of that cronyism and corruption there's also the whole issue of: is Afghanistan on its way to becoming the narco state? And number three, and not at all least, something I know our secretaries champion, is the status and safety and security of women-- the fact that we have a government in Afghanistan that turns the other cheek when girls get acid thrown in their face when they go to school and they actually codify domestic rape. We see what the situation is.
So I'm being asked to send in the Marines where they want to continue to grow poppies, the cronyism and corruption which would then in and of itself be an instable government, and the treatment of women.
So my question is, not why should we go? I know you'll talk about it. But the dealing with those three issues, what do you see dealing with it?
And Secretary Clinton, I'd like to start with you with the cronyism, the corruption, and also the treatment of women, and what you think is in here what you think is also in the policy that would reassure the people of America, why should we send in the Marines to do this?
SEC. CLINTON: Well, Senator, I think those are all very legitimate questions. We've given them a lot of thought. With respect to the government, its capacity, its problems providing services, its perception of being less than straightforward, transparent, honest.
It's a problem. I'm not going to sit here and tell you it's not.
There are, however, significant pockets of progress that we want to build on. Several members of the current government's cabinet are doing an excellent job. The buildup of the Afghan national army is proceeding in a way that engenders confidence to the people of Afghanistan.
But we have made it very clear that we expect changes and we expect accountability and we're going to demand it. It's among the highest priorities of the team that we have sent to Afghanistan.
I swore in Karl Eikenberry, the former general who had served in Afghanistan twice, yesterday as our new ambassador. He knows the people. He understands what it takes to move them. Obviously, the rest of the group that we have in place is equally committed. So we're tackling this and we're taking it on.
With respect to the narco trafficking, that's why we believe we've got to support alternatives. I mean, this is not going to disappear just because we aerial bomb it with pesticides. It's just too profitable. It is now the largest source of opium for heroin in the world. And we have to tackle it at the local level and provide alternatives and get people to reject it culturally, which is available --
SEN. MIKULSKI: Is Karzai committed to working with us to do that?
SEC. CLINTON: That is what we are demanding of him.
Now, we are not taking a position in this presidential election. We are neither for nor against any candidate -- including the president. And we have made it clear what we expect of anyone who's elected.
I mean, part of our problem is there were a lot of mixed messages sent over the last seven years. And we have to have a very clear message from the highest levels of our government -- both the executive and the legislative branch -- that certain behaviors are not accepted. We're going to go after them. We're imposing conditions that we think are both workable and leading to the changes that we're seeking.
But let me just finish by saying something about women. I deeply share your concerns. The law that you referenced is being walked back by the Afghan government and by the president. I've personally been involved in that. But the problems go much deeper and we're going to continue to emphasize our support for girls and women, for their education, for their health care, for their rights. That is an integral part of our strategy, because we think it is a clear leading indicator as to whether there is a commitment to the future in a way that we can continue to support.
So I can assure you that the women's issues are not just a side issue or a marginal one. They are core to the strategy that we have developed.
SEN. MIKULSKI: Well, thank you.
I know my time is up. What I -- so there are many things that I liked about this testimony, but that this is the last supplemental. That we could deal with this in a regular order in our committees through DOD, through foreign ops -- the whole idea that it's defense, diplomacy and development.
We look forward to working with the turbo team.
SEN. INOUYE: Thank you very much.
SEN. CHRISTOPHER BOND (R-MO): Thank you, Secretary Clinton, Secretary Gates.
I commend you both for putting the emphasis on the strategy that worked in Iraq -- the counterinsurgency strategy clear, hold and build.
I believe it's been -- I'm calling it smart power. I believe that, with most of our military and intelligence leaders, that the war against terror is 10 percent kinetic and 90 percent development and governance.
For two years, after getting a request personally from President Karzai, I put in money for USAID to send agricultural specialists to Afghanistan. Not a single one showed up. In 2007, I worked with our Missouri National Guard. We got it cleared through the Defense Department. In early '08, the first Ag development team went to Nangarhar province. They were tremendously successful. The second one is there now. Eight other states have sent their national guards. They are dependent upon the CERP funds that Secretary Clinton mentioned. Those work in the Philippines in Mindanao.
It is far better, particularly in Islamic countries which are friends of ours, that we put American sandals on the ground so we don't have to wait until a strike and put American boots on the ground. I look forward to working with you on the details of this plan, because we cannot afford to fail in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
I want to address very briefly a couple of the issues. One of them that I hope could be addressed in the supplemental. I will discuss with you at much greater length, Mr. Secretary, the tremendous bathtub in the Tac Air that is going to leave our Navy without ships on carrier decks; it's going to leave the National Guard without anything except Cessnas to fly in air sovereignty alert; and it's even going to shortchange the Air Force itself. But we will go into that later.
The F-35 is way behind schedule, over budget. The F-22 doesn't do the job that the F-15, 16s and 18s can do. But I am very much concerned, after the great principles that were laid out for the defense policy, that the president recommended shutting down the C-17 line. That's the last, wide-body large military aircraft production line in the United States, gives us the ability -- the only one in the world to respond quickly and dependably when it was in adversarial military activity or humanitarian needs.
And with the air mobility study, due to be finished late summer -- where I believe we will hear the need for continued air mobility support -- the decision to shut it down -- C-17 down now is a question of ready, fire, aim.
I would hope that you would rethink this and allow funding in the supplemental for the long lead time, otherwise we will not have the capacity to turn out the air mobility that we will need for military and humanitarian actions and we're going to be left with a situation where we're going to be running around the world trying to buy cargo aircraft. C-5s are over their lifespan. C-17 to me needs to be rethought.
And I'd ask for your comments on that, Mr. Secretary.
SEC. GATES: Well, first of all, I agree with all the good things you said about the C-17. It's a terrific aircraft.
The Air Force believes and Transportation Command believe that we have more than necessary capacity for lift for -- as far into -- for the next 10 years or so.
One of the problems that we have in that context is that there is a legislative prohibition, effectively, against us decommissioning the A model of the C-5s. And so as we look at the capacity that we have with those 59 C-5As and we get more and more C-17s, we just are continuing to build excess capacity.
But the other side of it is, even if you lifted the prohibition on decommissioning C-5As, the Air Force has to look at what -- if it has no need on the requirements side for greater capacity, then what are they going to give up? What are they going to have to give up in other programs in order to buy more C-17s?
It's a zero-sum game. If you have everything that is put in the budget that is excess to our requirements means that there's something else that we can't do. And what I'm trying to do is figure out how do you balance all of these things and have the maximum possible capability for the maximum range of potential conflict.
SEN. BOND: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. I look forward to working you and this committee, because I've got some ideas.
SEN. INOUYE: Thank you very much.
SEN. HERB KOHL (D-WI): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And welcome, Secretary Gates and Secretary Clinton.
Secretary Clinton, I'd like to thank you for hosting yesterday's gathering on global food security. I believe that USDA and our land grant colleges -- as I said yesterday -- have a vital role to play in fighting hunger and instability in developing countries and I'd like to work with you on that in the months to come.
The supplemental request before us provides 300 million (dollars) for PL480, which is a key part of the overall food security effort. In terms of tonnage, that's a global demand for food assistance changed from this time last year.
SEC. CLINTON: Senator, as you know, there have been a number of food crises. And we do think that the demand and the need has increased, but we have a very careful analysis as to why this money in the supplemental should be sufficient through this fiscal year to be able to produce the response that we may be called on to make.
But I want to underscore -- and thank you for your interest in food security -- our current system is just not as effective as it needs to be. And that's why we want to shift our focus to agricultural sustainability, focusing on the small producers, helping them understand the value of GMOs -- genetically modified organisms -- to help them have drought-resistant crops; helping them with farm-to- market roads -- the kind of approach that we actually did quite effectively in the '60s and the '80s.
So I think our capacity for the response set forth in the supplemental is fine, but we've got to go further than that. And that's what I'm looking forward to working with you on this committee to do.
SEN. KOHL: Thank you.
Secretary Clinton, recently the Taliban came within 60 miles of Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, as you know. Now, if India's military was 60 miles from Pakistan, the capital of Pakistan, the entire country would have been on a total war footing. But as you remarked, Secretary Clinton, many in Pakistan seemed unthreatened by the idea of the Taliban imposing Sharia law on the country because they're so unhappy with their own government.
So have the recent gains by the Taliban changed the views of the Pakistanis about how dangerous the Taliban are? Does the Pakistan people now see the Taliban as a real threat to their way of life and not just a thorn in the side of the United States?
And finally, last night the president at his press conference called the government of Pakistan "very fragile." He also said that he was confident that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal would not fall into the hands of the Taliban. What would be our response if the Taliban forced the government of Pakistan to fall? And how can the president be so sure that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal would be safe from the Taliban?
SEC. CLINTON: Well, Senator, let me start by responding that we do think that the government of Pakistan, both civilian and military leadership, is demonstrating much greater concern about the encroachment by Taliban elements in parts of the country that had, before then, not been subjected to their presence and are not in the ungovernable areas that have been part of Pakistan going back even to the British empire.
So we believe that we're getting a much more thoughtful response and actions to follow. And I think Secretary Gates might want to focus on the military piece of this. But it was heartening to see the military sent in to Buner Province and to begin to try to push the Taliban advance back.
With respect to the nuclear arsenal, I think that much of that would have to be in a closed session, Senator. But let me just reiterate that, based on everything that we are aware of, the Pakistani military is very focused on the protection of their arsenal, and we have certainly kept our eyes very closely on that. And I think that's where the president's assurance comes from.
SEN. KOHL: Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. INOUYE: Thank you.
SEN. RICHARD SHELBY (R-AL): Secretary Clinton, Secretary Gates, welcome to the committee.
I'd like to pick up on the line of questioning about Pakistan that Senator Kohl (has done ?). If Pakistan is, as some people have said, maybe a little more -- I think the president used the word "fragile" -- some people call it a ticking time bomb.
And it seems to me, although I have always supported and will support the supplemental with money and help, that the government and the army has lost the will, or seems to have lost the will to fight even for their own country. And I think some of this money would be used, I understand, Secretary Gates, for training of forces and so forth. Is that correct?
But how do we impart the will to fight that seems to be lacking there? And how do we help them? Because we've been helping them about eight years now with a lot of money, and I think it was necessary, but they don't even have control of a lot of their territory. You know that. And they seem to be losing territory day after day. And we all know, as Senator Kohl alluded, that they do have a huge nuclear arsenal. This could be a real, real problem to all of us, could it not?
SEC. GATES: Well, it certainly could. And I would say, Senator Shelby, that my perspective on it is that the Pakistani government has not seen what has been going on in the western part of Pakistan as an existential threat. Their view has been since their inception that India was the principal threat to Pakistan's continued existence.
I think that they have -- the areas in much of western Pakistan have not really been under serious government control perhaps for most of Pakistan's history, if not all of it. And the Pakistani government -- the Pakistani population is dominated by Punjabis. They dramatically outnumber the number of Pashtuns in the western part of the country and have always tried to deal with that situation out there either by setting tribes against one another, working with individual tribes, cutting the kinds of deals that we've seen, and occasionally using the military.
And I think what has happened just in recent weeks, and really since beginning with the assassination of Mrs. Bhutto, is the reality dawning on the Pakistanis that what has happened in the west is, in fact, now a real threat to them. And I think that the Taliban moving into Buner set off an alarm bell that may, in fact, begin to create a broader political consensus in Pakistan that would include not just President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani, but perhaps the Sharifs and others as well, including the army, that, in fact, they now face a real threat.
I think they had seen the situation in the west as largely of our making as we drove the Taliban out of Afghanistan. And now they're beginning to see these guys have designs on the Pakistani government itself. And so I think those realities that have begun to dawn on them, I think, provide some grounds for -- I won't go as far as optimism, but some grounds to believe that there is a growing awareness in Islamabad and in Pakistan that this is a threat to them.
And I would just use the analogy, you know, the United States was first attacked by al Qaeda in 1993. Al Qaeda was at war with the United States for eight years before we decided we were at war with al Qaeda. And I think the same kind of thing has kind of happened in Pakistan. They haven't -- the Pakistanis haven't realized the threat that has been posed to them over the last several years.
SEN. SHELBY: If this is not a wake-up call, I don't know what could be, do you?
SEC. GATES: I agree.
SEN. SHELBY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. INOUYE: Thank you very much.
SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D-WA): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
And welcome to both of you. And I just want to echo the comments of Senator Mikulski regarding the issues of women's rights in Afghanistan. I appreciate your response very much, Secretary Clinton.
Let me ask both of you -- both of you have talked at great length about the need for smart power and elevating the role of development in our national security strategy. It appears from the president's -- both his proposed budget and from the supplemental appropriations request that's before us that the administration is making a major effort to rebalance national security by giving civilian aid and diplomacy and non-military dimension of national security a lot more strength and impact. However, in order to make that work, we're not just talking about money; we're talking about people.
Secretary Clinton, you mentioned in your remarks USAID and the ability to have Foreign Service officers. Can you tell us if -- actually, Senator Durbin and Bond have a bill regarding this, which I support and co-sponsored. But can you talk a little bit about the need to have full-time Foreign Service officers and whether we have the capacity we need?
SEC. CLINTON: Thank you very much, Senator. And the short answer is no, we don't. We don't have the capacity. We don't have the authorities yet. And as you know, USAID has lost a lot of its capacity over the last years. It is viewed by many now as largely a contracting agency. There are only four engineers currently employed by USAID for the entire world.
So we have allowed a lot of our capacity to just migrate out of the government. And we don't get the accountability. It often costs more than it should in order to deliver the service that we're seeking.
So we will be coming to you with a set of ideas. And I'm looking forward to consulting with all of you, and I appreciate the efforts made by Senators Durbin and Bond. We have to rebuild our diplomatic and development arsenal. We just don't have it. And so it's awkward when people say, "Well, we need to be sending civilians out," and we have a hard time getting the people that we need in language areas, just bodies on the ground able to do the functions we're talking about.
When Senator Bond was talking about how difficult it was on agricultural development teams, you know, I faced the same experience as a senator. I was trying to get a project going to get fruit trees planted again in Afghanistan. I even had an interest in the market. We just couldn't do it. It was absolutely the most frustrating experience.
So we are trying to cut through the red tape and the bureaucracy. We're trying to get the resources that we need and to have a rebuilt diplomacy and development mission that can actually respond to the very good ideas that all of you have.
SEN. MURRAY: Secretary Gates, do you agree?
SEC. GATES: Absolutely. And I would just go back to a comment that Senator Kohl made. I think we also need to think creatively about public-private partnerships that can help us. And I was really -- as the former president of Texas A&M, I was glad to hear Senator Kohl talk about the potential role of land-grant universities, because most of them have extension services that operate all over the world, and they have the expertise, and we can draw on them and work with them. And A&M's had people in Afghanistan and Iraq for the last four or five years.
So we have a lot of assets in this country that aren't necessarily government employees that I think we could harness and those people would be willing to volunteer or we could put them on contract.
But in terms of the need for more foreign service officers, I couldn't agree more. I've been arguing for it for 25 years. If you took every foreign service officer in the world, it wouldn't be enough people to crew one aircraft carrier.
SEN. MURRAY: Okay. My time is out, and Secretary Gates I did want to ask you about how we're going to have a competitive industrial base as we cut back military but you and I can have that conversation off line. And I appreciate both of your comments today. Thank you.
SEN. INOUYE: Senator Dorgan.
SEN. BYRON DORGAN (D-ND): Mr. Chairman, thank you very much.
Secretary Clinton, let me deviate just a bit. I need to ask you about the journalist that's imprisoned in Iran. Roxana Saberi is someone who I know, she as you know was born and raised and educated, sports all star, all star academic, Miss North Dakota, top 10 finalist in Miss America, masters degree from Northwestern, Masters degree from Cambridge, England. Went to Iran and reported for National Public Radio and many other venues. Now sits in a 10 foot by 10 foot prison cell, first accused of buying a bottle of wine, then next accused of reporting without a license, and then accused of espionage and sentenced to eight years in prison. It is an unbelievable miscarriage of justice and I have been working on that case for several months. Can you give us some notion of what the activities are at State?
SEC. CLINTON: Well, Senator, I know you have, I've talked with you, I've talked to Senator Conrad, I've talked to the governor of your state. We are also working very hard. We have grave concerns about Ms. Saberi's health and well-being. She has arbitrarily been, in our view, held without any kind of transparency or process. We have called on the Iranian government both directly and through other emissaries to release her. As you may know, she is extremely unhappy and quite rebellious about being held in such a horrible situation and is on a hunger strike. Her parents as you know have been there for several weeks.
We have reached out and are continuing to reach out in every channel that we know of, public and private. we obviously used the Swiss as our counselor representative in Tehran. We hear mixed responses all the time from the government -- they're going to let her out, they're going to let her out in two months, they're going to sentence her to eight years, they're going to do an appeal.
I think it shows you how difficult it is to deal with this government in Iran because they are impervious to the human rights and the civilized standards that one should apply. And so we are, I can assure you, doing everything we know to do.
SEN. DORGAN: Well, Madame Secretary, thank you for that and I hope you'll obviously continue as much pressure as we can apply to the Iranian government. First of all, let me thank you for all of your work and your travels and your representation of our country.
Secretary Gates, I'm really pleased that you stayed on and thank you. You have an admirable record.
I do want to say this to you, though, that I've held 18 hearings on the subject of contract abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I have just learned again just in recent days of award fees being given to contractors, very large award fees, for excellent work being given to contractors that have had level III corrective actions taken against them because their work was deficient. And I want to continue this discussion about the Army sustainment command and others that are shelling out all of this money; $38 billion of that which we're considering in this request is for on-going support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. I assume that's a LOGCAP project and so many other things.
But I just hope that you will have a renewed effort to put a magnifying glass on these contractors and the amount of money that's going out because there is unbelievable abuse in waste and yes, fraud. And we just have to lace it up and stop it. So I just say that to you -- again I'm pleased you're where you are. But you and I have had discussions about it, I've had discussions with your deputy, but in recent months once again, award fees have gone to contractors that have done insufficient and inappropriate and inadequate work, in some cases, resulting in the death of soldiers.
SEC. GATES: I would just say Senator that this is clearly a high priority for myself but also for Secretary Lannon (sp) now new Undersecretary Ash Carter and I think that part of our effort -- part of the problem that we have is the number of contractors we have who are overseeing contractors. And I think the initiatives that I've put forward for 2010 to significantly expand the number of professional acquisition procurement contracting officers who are full-time U.S. government employees in place of contractors will put us in a better place in terms of trying to deal with these contract problems.
Our goal will be to have 4,000 of those people on board during FY '10 and 20,000 over the course of the five year Defense plan and we're doing it also on professional services and management. And we hope to add 13,000 jobs in that category displacing contractors in that category during fiscal year '10 and 30,000 over the course of the five year Defense plan.
But this is a very high priority and it goes to some of the discussion that Senator Bond and I had. We can't afford to spend a single dollar that we don't have to and -- because it takes away from resources to do other things. And to spend it on contractors who aren't doing their jobs is not just waste, fraud and abuse, it impacts our capabilities.
SEN. INOUYE: Senator -- (inaudible).
SEN. ROBERT BENNETT (R-UT): Thank you very much Mr. Chairman and thanks to both of you for your service and your professionalism that you bring to your jobs.
Secretary Gates, you mentioned the F-22 -- you're familiar I'm sure with the comment made by the chief of staff of the Air Force, General Schwartz, who said that the military requirement for the F-22 was 243 and not 187.
Now I know the Chairman doesn't want to get into a subject that isn't directly connected to the supplemental, but in the supplemental, you have some funds for UAVs, and one of the problems with UAVs particularly in Iran and Syria if we are required to use them there, is that they do not have stealth capability and the F-22 does. So I'd be interested in your comment about the F-22 and a quote Air Force leadership said that based on war fighting experience over the past several years and judgments about future threats, the Defense Department is revisiting the scenarios on which the Air Force based its assessment regarding the requirement for the F-22.
Could you explain the scenarios that are being revisited, when and what the results were that caused you to make the decision to take the F-22 down from 187 to -- from 243 to 187?
SEC. GATES: First of all, to -- Senator, the chief of staff of the Air Force and the secretary of the Air Force are on the record and in fact in the newspaper saying that the program of record of 183 plus the four in the supplemental meets military requirements and is a sufficient number in their view. I think that the way this -- the discussion about the F-22 has proceeded has been somewhat confused. The reality is that since 2005, the program of record for the F-22 has been 183 aircraft. That's under two different presidents, two different secretaries of Defense, two different chairmen of the joint chiefs of staff, and the secretary and chief of staff of the Air Force.
So there's no cutting of the program. There is a completion of the program of record that has existed under both President Bush and President Obama since 2005. We can get into the jobs issue or anything else, but this is one that -- where I think that there has been some mischaracterization of what we're doing here. We are not cutting the F-22, we are completing the program of record that was established in the Bush Administration. And frankly, if my top line were $50 billion higher, I would make the same decision.
SEN. BENNETT: Thank you.
Secretary Clinton, the chairman mentioned a reference to U.S. funding to Palestine that could fund the possibility of funding Hamas. Could you discuss that with us?
SEC. CLINTON: Well, Senator, there is no possibility of funding Hamas. That is absolutely not possible under the language of the supplemental, nor is it possible under our administration's policy. What we have said is that if there were to be, which at this moment seems highly unlikely, a unity government that consisted of the Palestinian authority members from Fatah and any members from Hamas, the government itself plus every member of the government would have to commit to the Quartet principles, namely they must renounce violence, they must recognize Israel and they must agree to abide by the former PLO and Palestinian authority agreements.
And that has been our policy, that is what we have told our partners in Europe and elsewhere, which is why we've been very hesitant and quite unconvinced about any efforts to create a unity government. But so have the Palestinian authority. So there is no likely outcome that would prevent that. But if there were, the conditions are very clear.
SEN. BENNETT: Thank you.
SEN. INOUYE: Senator Feinstein.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
And welcome to both of you and my congratulations to the jobs that you're both doing. And Madam Secretary it's a political delight for me to see you at this table, as you know. So thank you for being here.
Secretary Gates, I've been trying to understand the number of troops that we have committed to Afghanistan. As I look at it, it's 63,000, with a request from General McKiernan for 10,000 more. Is that a correct analysis?
SEC. GATES: Senator, the level of troops that the president has approved to this point is 68,000.
SEN. FEINSTEIN: Sixty-eight thousand.
SEC. GATES: Sixty-eight thousand, yes ma'am.
SEN. FEINSTEIN: And McKiernan's request is --
SEC. GATES: He has -- the request is out there. It is for troops that would not go to Afghanistan until well into 2010. And CENTCOM has not -- Central Command has not forwarded that request to the Pentagon at this point.
My own view is that before recommending those additional forces to the president I think we ought to see how the forces that we are committing today, have already committed, are performing and what the real requirement is toward the end of this year or early next and particularly given the fact that those troops or those forces wouldn't go, even if the president did approve them, until well into 2010.
But it goes to a larger concern of mine that I've spoken about publically and that is that I worry a great deal about the size of the foreign military footprint in Afghanistan. Soviets were in there with 110,000 troops, didn't care about civilian casualties and couldn't win. With our NATO allies and other partners, with the troops the president has approved we will be at about 100,000.
And so I think we need to look very carefully at how our strategy is proceeding some months down the road before I would contemplate forwarding a recommendation for additional troops to the president.
SEN. FEINSTEIN: Well, thank you very much. I don't think most people in America know the size and number, and I think there's a real concern that we just get drawn in and drawn in and we're into it like we were in Iraq over a substantial period of time, which raises this subject and that is Iraq and that's Sadr City and that's the five suicide bombings yesterday, the four last week, the very substantial loss of life.
And a sentence in this morning's New York Times -- and let me read it to you and get your response. Mr. Maliki is torn between demands for the United States and some Sunni leaders to reconcile with some former members of the Hussein government and the Shi'ite partners who rejected accommodation.
What is that all about?
SEC. GATES: Well first of all, I think, having just had a conference call with General Odierno a couple of days ago, or a teleconference, his judgment and the judgment of his commanders is that most of the violence that we are seeing in Iraq today, these suicide bombings, are in fact the work of al Qaedain Iraq. They are clearly -- they have a campaign that they started about six weeks ago. There's even a name for it that al Qaedahas and I can't remember it. But they are clearly trying to take advantage of our drawdown and particularly our drawing back away from the cities to try and provoke a renewed round of sectarian violence.
So this has less to do with Maliki's political decisions and who he's reaching out to, I mean, the latest information that we have is that he is reaching out to some of the Sunni groups. He does have a problem with the Ba'athist party and Saddam Hussein's -- some of the people who worked for Saddam Hussein. But he is reaching out to other Sunni's in terms of political alliances. But the judgment of the commanders is this is an orchestrated effort on the part of al Qaedato try and provoke the very kind of sectarian violence that nearly tore the country apart in 2006.
SEN. FEINSTEIN: My time is up. Thank you very much Mr. Secretary.
SEN. INOUYE: Thank you.
SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER (R-TN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you to both secretaries and for being here.
Senator Feinstein's questions provoke me to -- and some of the others -- make me ask this question. Do you think, Secretary Gates or Secretary Clinton, either, that sometime within the next several months that it would be appropriate for the president to present to us his strategy for Afghanistan and for there to be some sort of expression of support for it in the Congress?
I would start with Secretary Gates because the war in Iraq became President Bush's war and in the last few years of it there was not bipartisan support in the Congress for a conclusion. Some of us tried to take the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq study group, upon which you served for a while, Secretary Gates. And we couldn't get agreement between the Senate leadership, Democratic and the Republican president upon that even though we've ended up today with a conclusion in Iraq that is about the same as that envisioned by the Iraq study group sometime ago in which President Bush and President Obama both seem to agree on that.
Now it would seem to me that it would be more effective, it would send a more effective message to our enemy and a more effective message of support to our troops if we made sure that the war in Afghanistan doesn't become President Obama's war in the same way that Iraq became President Bush's war.
And would not one way to help make sure that does not happen be for the president to take his time to develop his strategy and before we move ahead with many more troops for us to vote on it and say, yes, we agree with you Mr. President, we want our enemies to know that and we want our troops to know that?
SEC. GATES: Well Senator Alexander, I think that that's basically a political call. I guess I would just say from my standpoint that anything that can be done that conveys strong bipartisan support for what the president is trying to accomplish in Afghanistan has value because it is a fact of life that our adversaries as well as our friends read the press avidly. They are very well aware of what's going on in this country.
I was stunned when I was in RC East and Khost Province a year and a half ago and a village elder in his robes and everything said that he'd read my land and lecture at Kansas State University on the internet. I said, where do you plug it in?
But I think -- so they are watching and anything that conveys a strong bipartisan support for what the president is going to do and we will see this through to a successful outcome has value. What the best way to manifest that is, I think is for people who are more politically aware than I am.
SEN. ALEXANDER: I wonder, Secretary Clinton, the words see through to the end whatever our mission is is essential in support of our troops. What would be your response to that?
SEC. CLINTON: Well Senator, I do think that there's value in that approach because I believe that the country needs to be engaged, along with our government, in thinking through what is at stake here. We did, in many ways, create the problem we're now coping with. You know, during the 80's in our struggle against the Soviet Union, which had invaded Afghanistan, we created a funding stream, we trained, we armed Mujahadim and their allies in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. And then once the Soviet Union retreated and fell we were not paying attention, others were, most particularly Bin Laden who knew that there could be a safe haven amidst that chaos in Afghanistan.
So I think that there are many legitimate questions to ask about the situation we confront today and I hope that from both Secretary Gates and myself you're not hearing any message other than our recognition this is hard and we are trying the best we can to come up with an integrated civilian military strategy along the lines that many of you have referenced.
But I think it's important for the American people to be engaged, as well as the Congress. And this supplemental, of course, you know, begins that discussion and I think it could be quite helpful and productive.
SEN. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. INOUYE: Thank you.
SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D-LA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Madame Secretary and Secretary Gates, your partnership here is extremely powerful. And it is immensely encouraging to me, and to my constituents and to many of us about this new approach, this enlightened approach, and this hopefully successful approach that you all have outlined this morning.
Several of my questions have been asked. I want to associate myself with the Senator from Maryland and her questions about women and girls. I'm completely sure that you're the best person for that job, Madame Secretary.
But, let me ask this: The National Solidarity Program, from some experts, is one of the most successful and cost-effective aid programs, I understand. It operates in thousands of villages. It's been -- it's method of electing councils; mandating the inclusion of women; its literacy education; business training, I understand has been effective.
My question is, what is your view of this program? Is it as effective as I've been led to believe? Are there 20,000 shovel-ready projects ready to go? And, is it being funded, and, if not, what can we do to support it?
SEC. CLINTON: Senator, I am absolutely in agreement with the tone and substance of your question. The National Solidarity Program is an important tool. It has been very successful. I want to reiterate that the United States government funds the NFP through the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund. It's a facility managed by the World Bank. And from Fiscal Year '04 to '08, USAID has given $100 million to the NFP.
In this '09 supplemental we are requesting $85 million in additional funding for the Afghan Reconstruction Trust Fund, which we intend to target toward the NFP. I think there is more we could do. It's exactly the kind of program that, sort of, makes our case -- it's on the ground; it's Afghans in the lead, supported by technical assistance and expert liaisons; and it is, I think I was last told, 24,000 villages. So, we are very strongly in support of this.
SEN. LANDRIEU: Thank you.
And, Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member, I would just ask you all to make special note of this particular program. It's small, but has such potential to make a difference. And we'll be following up, as we go through this process.
My second question, Senator -- I mean, Secretary Clinton, is about USAID. I know we've had several, but it's a different twist to it. I understand -- and I'd like you to clarify for us, both of you, if this correct: I asked for review about the dangers facing Afghan workers in Afghanistan; the casualty rate for USAID employees and locally-engaged employees -- I understand is one in 10, as opposed to the casualties of our military, Secretary, one in 57.
Could both of you comment about what we're going to do to provide the security -- if this is correct, what are we going to do to provide the security that our AID workers need to obviously carry out this mission that both of you have thought so clearly about and articulated this morning?
SEC. CLINTON: Well, Senator, those are the best numbers that we have available. Obviously, any loss of life of any of our young men and women in uniform is a matter of grave concern to us. Many of the casualties on the civilian side, as you rightly point out, are non- U.S. contract employees, NGO employees, locally-engaged Afghans.
But, the numbers are quite disturbing. And it is a problem for us, and that's something that Secretary Gates and our respective teams are working on. How do we provide the security necessary? You know, if you look at Iraq, and the PRTs that have been embedded with our military, they've been very successful because they did have that security backup.
In Afghanistan we expect there will also be initially a lot of support from our military for our civilian workforce. But, we want to be effective, and we're going to go places that the military may not see as a high priority. And it is a -- it's a concern to me, personally, as I know it is to the rest of the government, and we're trying to figure out the best ways to provide that.
I mean, these are war zones. I mean, it's dangerous for our military or our civilian personnel. But, because our civilians are not armed, and are not equipped to defend themselves -- unless there's a military presence or a contractor providing that support, we have to be very careful about how we proceed.
SEN. LANDRIEU: Thank you.
SEN. INOUYE: Thank you.
SEN. COLLINS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Secretary Clinton, I want to follow up on Senator Mikulski's concerns about the treatment of women at a time when we're proposing to ramp-up our economic assistance to Afghanistan. The first time that I met Hamid Karzai was in 2003, and it was before he was president but he'd been brought back to Afghanistan. And I recall it so well because he seemed so committed to reopening schools for girls and pledged personally to me that better treatment of girls and women would be among his highest priorities.
Then you and I, on a subsequent trip to Afghanistan, met with a group of Afghan women and it looked like real progress was being made. But, now Afghanistan is going backwards in its treatment of women. We've seen President Karzai sign a highly repressive law that, among other provisions, actually legalizes marital rape. And it's troubling to me that the American taxpayers are being asked to ramp-up assistance to Afghanistan at a time when the treatment of girls and women is becoming more repressive.
So, my question for you is, are we conditioning this additional assistance on any standards for the treatment of girls and women?
SEC. CLINTON: Senator, we are making it very clear that, among our now more-limited priorities, the treatment of girls and women stays right at the core of what we're doing. And as we are meeting with the Afghan government and President Karzai next week in our second trilateral meeting with the Pakistani government, we will be raising these issues and demonstrating clearly to them how seriously we take this.
I have to say too that I was very disappointed by that law going through the parliament. I have spoken with a number of officials in the Afghanistan government and, you know, I think this is one of those where they viewed it as a request by a minority group. And we're in it with a straight face saying, well, no, we still support women, it's just that, you know, this is something that is demanded for this minority. And we made it very clear that that just was not acceptable, that we wanted clear, unequivocal commitments to the wellbeing of women and girls.
Now, in many ways, the situation has improved -- the number of schools that are operating. But, as we look at our objectives in some of the most difficult areas of the country, certainly the Taliban uses intimidation against girls going to school -- throwing acid in their face, burning their schools down, threatening their families if they send the girls to school. And we're going to make it clear that the United States, and our European allies, and others who are working with us in this are just not going to stand by and let that happen.
SEN. COLLINS: Good.
SEC. GATES: I would just add, Senator, that -- just to pick up on Secretary Clinton's last comment, this is an area where we actually have a lot of help from the Europeans. They are very conscious of not just the treatment of women and girls, but other kinds of repressive actions such as the treatment of -- the criminal treatment of children, and other things like that, where they react very strongly to that and they carry that message directly to President Karzai and other members of the Afghan government.
SEN. COLLINS: Thank you.
Thank you, both.
SEN. INOUYE: Thank you.
SEN. NELSON: Thank you Mr. Chairman.
And thank you both for being here today. I think we're all encouraged by the partnership that you've been able to put together between State and Defense, and we wish you well I in your endeavors to bring together the various activities, because they are interrelated.
And I'm encouraged as well that, Secretary Gates, you've made it clear from the very beginning that we will not win simply by military means alone. That's why it's so important you do this.
Before we get mired down in the new budget -- the new budget, we probably ought to step back for a moment and look at the mission that we really want to achieve in Afghanistan. And, as you know, I've been one who's pushed for benchmarks or measurements that we can measure what it is that -- what our success is in important areas that we might proceed.
I've been encouraged as well by a recognition that having the equivalent of benchmarks -- if not by that name, the equivalent of some metric to evaluate how we're, how we're doing in these critical areas where we have goals that are set. And I wonder if you might update us on what's going on there, because some of them are obviously going to be State goals and some are going to be Defense goals, and I wonder if you might.
I'll start with you, Secretary Gates, and then Secretary Clinton.
SEC. GATES: The benchmarks are still -- or I guess we'll call them measures of effectiveness -- are going to -- are, I think, well- advanced at this point but still haven't come to the principals' level for approval and forwarding to the president. But based on the preliminary looks that I've had, the measures fall into three categories: Security, development and governance. And they apply to both Afghanistan and Pakistan. And so those categories will be in each of the three.
And I think that one of the reasons that I have strongly supported this is that we need to be able -- we, before we can come up here, we need to be in a position to evaluate honestly, and without sort of rolling the goals in front of us, to see whether we're making progress six months from now on the issues that today we think are important. And I think that there's a real commitment on the part of the administration to do this. And I think the benchmarks are going to be pretty elaborate when they're completed.
SEN. NELSON: Secretary Clinton?
SEC. CLINTON: Senator, I remember sitting sometimes in this room, occasionally over in Hart, on the Senate Armed Services Committee and our constant effort to try to get some measures of performance, some metrics that we could judge. And it was a moving target, and it was very difficult. And you and others were real leaders in trying to achieve that.
Where to start this effort with such metrics -- I mean, exactly what Secretary Gates said, in the three big areas that have been broken down into much smaller bites. And we're going to be measuring from every perspective, whether it's diplomatic and development efforts, excuse me, or military efforts or intelligence efforts or agricultural development. We are going to have a list of such measurements.
So I hope that the Congress will give us a chance to put these in place and then be able to brief you on them and report to you on them, because I think that it will be a better approach if we can do this within the context of the different departments and not legislatively mandated at this point. But we really agree with you completely that this has to be part of our mission going forward to figure out how effective we're being. And they are pretty far advanced. And obviously we'll, you know, be sharing them with you and seeking ideas or suggestions as well.
SEN. NELSON: Will they be made public? Will the measurements be made public?
SEC. CLINTON: Well, some could not be, because they would be classified --
SEN. NELSON: No, no, I --
SEC. CLINTON: -- and military mission-related. But we haven't made a final decision. Certainly they will be shared with the Congress. Whether they can be in some form made public is a question that we will try to answer affirmatively, because it's part of what we're hoping to do, which is to enlist broad support for what we're attempting.
SEN. NELSON: It would help develop the support.
Appreciate it very much. Thank you both.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. INOUYE: Thank you.
SEN. MARK PRYOR (D-AR): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Your -- (inaudible) -- answers to that last question really music to my ears, because, like Secretary Clinton said, we pushed hard over the last several years to try to get some way to measure success or progress in Iraq, and it's very difficult. And it basically, you know, from my standpoint, never really happened.
Secretary Gates, let me ask you, if I may, to make sure I understand your previous answer, what you're saying is this is a pretty sharp departure from the previous administration, that you're trying to establish internally a real measurement of the effectiveness and of the progress that we're going to be making in Afghanistan. Is that fair to say?
SEC. GATES: Yes, sir. And I felt fairly strongly, having been through the experience with Iraq two years ago, I felt it was very important that the administration take the initiative on this and say, "We will hold ourselves accountable, and here are the things we will hold ourselves accountable to."
SEN. PRYOR: I think that's great. And as Secretary Clinton alluded to, if you could share that with the Congress, that would be most helpful. And whatever you can make public that would be appropriate, I think it would help the American people understand what we're doing there.
SEC. GATES: Well, as Secretary Clinton said, there's no question but what we'll share it with the Congress, and we'll make public as much of it as we can.
SEN. PRYOR: That'd be very much appreciated. And let me ask also, Secretary Gates, about the request for $400 million for the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund. As I understand it, we have been giving Pakistan money in years past, but there hasn't been a lot of accountability. And my belief is that they've been taking at least some of our money, maybe most or all of our money, and actually moving it over to the eastern side of their country, using it to beef up their defenses, et cetera, against India rather than helping in the international effort that we wanted them to help on in the other parts of their country.
What sort of accountability will you put on this money in Pakistan to make sure that it is spent in accordance with the United States' purpose?
SEC. GATES: Well, first of all, let me make clear the distinction between the coalition support funds that we have paid the Pakistanis over the past seven years and this PCCF. The coalition support funds are all reimbursements of the Pakistanis. They make a claim to us. It's reviewed by our defense office in the embassy in Islamabad. It's then reviewed by Central Command, and then it's reviewed by the comptroller at the Defense Department before the reimbursement is provided.
We have taken some steps after this became an issue last year. We tightened these procedures significantly in June of 2008 to ensure that these measures were being -- that the accountability issues were being applied consistently, that there was somebody clearly responsible, and that's the commander of Central Command, and then also to ensure that the Pakistanis -- that we provided some assistance to the Pakistanis so they could help meet our demands for accountability. There were just some capabilities, accountants and so on, that they didn't have.
With respect to the -- and so I think we're in a better place for that. And the reality is, because it's a reimbursement, they then can spend the money however they want, because it's a claim that they've filed with us.
On the PCCF, these are funds that we will be applying directly to border security, to training. The funds would be used, for example, to build the border coordination centers. They would be used for the training of the Frontier Corps. And so we know that the training camps are being built for the Frontier Corps.
So these are things -- the money that we will be allocating for this will be for things we can see and that we can document where that money has gone. So I think it's a very different kind of thing in the sense that it's not a reimbursement, but it is for training and equipping of the security forces and related counterinsurgency strategies.
And I know there's been some concern here on the Hill about whether this money ought to be in the State Department or it ought to be in the Defense Department. And what Secretary Clinton and I have agreed, and we would recommend very strongly to the Congress, is let's do it this way for the FY '09 supplemental. Let's see if there's a way that we can -- part of the problem is authorities and capacity in the State Department to be able to apply this money with the agility Secretary Clinton was talking about, like the CERP funds.
So then our proposal would be to see if we can work with the Congress to have a way that the money can be allocated, appropriated to the State Department in FY '10, but with the authority for an immediate pass-through to the Department of Defense to implement it. And then we would use FY '10 to build the capacity and get the Congress to approve the kinds of authorities that would give the State Department the capability to administer the money and manage the money beginning in FY '11.
SEN. PRYOR: Thank you. And again, that gives me a lot of comfort, and I appreciate that. It's great to see you both. Thank you.
SEN. INOUYE: Thank you.
SEN. GEORGE VOINOVICH (R-OH): First of all, I want to congratulate all of you on what I refer to as the Obama doctrine, and that is smart power. And it's nice to see the relationship the two of you have built. And I had a chance to talk to General Jones last week, and I'm very pleased with what you're doing.
One of the things that's coming up more and more often when I go back to Ohio, our people are asking me, "How can we continue to be Uncle Sugar to the world?" And the question they're asking is, have we set priorities in terms of where we're going to invest our time and material and our men and women? And what is the capacity to respond financially to these challenges that we have?
If you look at this supplemental, if it passes -- and it probably will -- this deficit for 2009 will be over $2 trillion, 14 percent of the GDP. Most people agree that in the next five years we'll double the debt, triple it in 10 years. We're really in a financial crisis today here in this country. People are out of work and they're wondering what's going on. How can we keep going?
And I would suggest to both of you, all of you that are in the non-entitlement programs, in the SILOs, to talk to the president and Peter Orszag about it's time for us to deal with entitlements and tax reform in this country. And if we don't do it, we're going to do away with our credibility in terms of the rest of the world and our credit will be zilch.
Now, that being said -- and I think it's really important that we get at this thing right now, because people around the world are worried about what we're doing and some of them can't even believe it -- and they're the same people that are asking us for help.
The question I have for Afghanistan is this: I remember in 2003 when I put my foot down and said we weren't going to have any more than a $350 billion tax reduction and the president of the United States and the vice president and everybody said, "Don't worry George. The spending in Iraq's going to be taken care of; you don't have to worry about." Well, it wasn't.
Now we're talking about Afghanistan. And what really worries more is do we have a comprehensive plan -- I'm talking about long range? How long's it going to take? How much money is it going to take? How many of our military are going to have to be there? What kind of infrastructure are we going to have to build?
In addition to that, what role are our NATO allies going to be playing? I talked with the Brits. They said, we're stretched; we can't do it. I've talked to the French -- we're stretched; we can't do it. Now, Afghanistan was supposed to be a test of NATO and we still have people over there with caveats.
I'd like to know: Has anybody really sat down and looked at where are we going, how long and talked to our allies about what their responsibility is going to be militarily, infrastructure-wise, humanitarian and all the other stuff that we talk about? Or is this going to fall back right in our laps for the most part like Iraq has?
SEC. GATES: Well, Senator, I think that we have looked at the longer-range strategy. I think we have set some clear priorities and clear goals that are more realistic. There is no question that this is a multiyear undertaking.
I would tell you that we all wish that our allies would do more, but the reality is they are doing a lot. They have 32,000 troops in there. They are taking serious casualties. The Canadians, the British, the Danes, the Australians, the Dutch are in the fight in a big way. Now so are the French. And the north and the west are mainly quiet, but the Germans have thousands of troops there in the north and the Italians in the west, along with the Spanish.
They are responsible for more than half of the provincial reconstruction teams. They run 53 of the operational mentoring and liaison teams and have promised to fund 103 by the end of 2011.
So do I wish they had more there? Sure. Do I wish they would donate more to the Afghan national -- the trust fund for the Afghan national army? Yes. But the fact is, they are participating and they are paying and they are paying with blood as well as treasure.
We will have to have -- I believe that an honest answer to your question is we will have to have troops in Afghanistan for some period of years. I think the exit strategy for all of us is a more effective Afghan government, but especially an effective Afghan national police and an effective Afghan national army -- partnering with us initially and then taking sole responsibility over time, as well as some measure of improved governance so that people who are sitting on the fence in Afghanistan come over on the government's side.
So this is hard. It's going to cost us more money, but the reality is I think most Americans understand that we were attacked out of this country in 2001 and that if we don't see this thing through, then the same people who attacked us in 2001 will reestablish a safe haven there where they have the capacity to plan sophisticated attacks against us.
SEN. INOUYE: Senator Tester.
SEN. JON TESTER (D-MT): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to thank both of you for being here. We're getting towards the end of a fairly long hearing, but I appreciate your answers and your matter-of-factness.
A couple of things: the yellow ribbon program. Secretary Gates, I appreciate you expanding that out. I think it's a great program and I think it's a program that'll serve our fighting men very, very well.
I want to say a little bit about agriculture very quick. Secretary Clinton, you talked about it a little bit. And I would just say this: I don't know that culture. You guys know that culture far better than I do. But I can tell you this: As a farmer, to go in and dose the crops with a herbicide or a pesticide and kill them -- that's a far bigger loss than money can pay for.
And so I hope that we're looking at the synergy between the farmer and the ground and all that. I agree they're raising a crop that they need to replace it with something that's a consumable that'll help their country, but if you want to make somebody really, really mad for a long, long time -- especially a farmer -- just go in and take out their livelihood.
A couple of things -- this kind of dovetails -- one of the things that makes people anxious, I think, about Afghanistan is we're still in Iraq. And we saw -- we had people, supposedly, that were helping us, our allies, and pretty soon it was a one-man band. And so the points that Senator Voinovich makes I think are solid -- how we keep our allies involved in a part of this equation, because quite honestly, the war on terror doesn't just apply to the U.S. It applies to everybody in the world.
What about nonmilitary costs? Are our allies stepping up to the plate in that realm? And either one of you can answer the question.
SEC. CLINTON: With respect to Iraq?
SEN. TESTER: With respect to Afghanistan's rebuilding.
SEC. CLINTON: Afghanistan? Yes. In fact, what Secretary Gates just recited in terms of the support that we are getting from our allies in Afghanistan, it's not just in military.
In fact, I think every country that has troops on the ground also has civilian help on the ground. And some troops that don't have troops on the ground have come forth with civilian help. So we are seeing that.
SEN. TESTER: Have those countries stepped up with monetary help also?
SEC. CLINTON: Yes, they have. And you know, as Secretary Gates says, not as much as we would want, but in some ways more than we expected.
SEN. TESTER: Is it about in the same proportion as the troops? You were saying 68,000 to 32,000 -- is it about in that same proportion as far as our effort compared to our allies' efforts?
SEC. CLINTON: You know, I don't know the answer to that, Senator. We'll find the answer to give that to you.
SEN. TESTER: I appreciate that.
We've got funding -- 800,000 (dollars) for Pakistan aid -- 800 million (dollars), I'm sorry 800 million (dollars) for U.N. peacekeeping, 200 million (dollars) for Georgia -- several of them.
Just curious why these aren't in the 2010 appropriations request and why are they here and not in that?
SEC. CLINTON: Well, I think on a number of those these are commitments that were made that need to be fulfilled before we would finish the deliberations on the 2010 budget.
What we've tried to do is be very careful about what we put in the supplemental, because as the chairman said at the very beginning: This is our last supplemental. We do not want to fund our government and these important projects by these supplementals, but there is a pipeline problem we're trying to cure by getting the money where it needs to be.
SEN. TESTER: So it's time sensitive. It wouldn't be there in time if it was in the 2010 budget?
SEC. CLINTON: Yes, sir.
SEN. TESTER: Okay, thank you.
Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you both.
SEN. INOUYE: Thank you.
SEN. SAM BROWNBACK (R-KS): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Secretaries, welcome here.
Glad to hear that your speech at K-State got sent around the world, Secretary Gates. If you ever want to get a message out to the far corners of the world, just come to Kansas State University. It'll get out and get expressed.
I wanted to let you know on the Guantanamo Bay detainees, this is a hot topic in my state with Fort Leavenworth there and it's a hot topic with your commander at that base whose primary mission is educational.
And we've got 90 countries represented there and we've had several Muslim countries already tell us if the detainees are moved to Fort Leavenworth, we're not sending army officers to be educated at Fort Leavenworth. Because they don't think they should be detained, period, let alone being at the same spot that they're going to put their future command officers.
So please, not at Leavenworth. I think you should look overall -- and I'm glad you're looking at Europe with that -- but it's a big topic in my state and I think it really hurts the command general staff college at Leavenworth. I would hope you would ask a number of Islamic countries, if you are even considering Leavenworth, the impact, because I really think it would have a negative one there.
SEC. GATES: I look forward to telling Secretary Sebelius that I, in fact, got her letter.
SEN. BROWNBACK: Good!
Second, on food aid: Secretary Clinton, I know you've been interested in this a long time. I have been and I'm very frustrated about AID and food aid generally.
Let me just -- and idea we've been kicking around for sometime that we're just not getting a bang for our buck on this, is looking at what the military does on a quadrennial review of food aid and just requiring this every four years so that you get some structure that more reflects the global situation.
We put a fair amount of money into this and I just don't think we get where we need to on it. And I would love to work with you on something like that.
SEC. CLINTON: Senator, I would really welcome that. And we will send someone to brief your staff and yourself, if you would be willing to do so, about the approach that we're taking.
You know, I believe strongly in the old adage, you know, better to teach someone to fish than to give them a fish. And I think what we're trying to do is to shift our focus back to where it was in the '60s and the '80s when the United States led a green revolution.
It's complicated. It has to be approached in a very thoughtful manner, but I think we have some good ideas and we would love to have you involved.
SEN. BROWNBACK: And I think we probably need to institutionalize some of that.
Also, I applaud your efforts on H1N1 and working with, particularly Mexico, to head it off and help them with vaccines. The child that died in Houston was from Mexico. My guess is trying to get some assistance and help.
Finally, on North Korea, I am just beside myself on what has happened. They've launched a multi-stage missile. In the paper today they're talking about detonating another nuclear weapon.
And then in this supplemental -- please. We're asking, or you're asking the Congress to put in nearly $100 million of economic support for North Korea. And I look at this and I think this is exactly the wrong message we should be sending.
President Obama, when he was candidate Obama, said that if North Korea doesn't perform, we should -- and he said, I'm quoting this directly from a June 26 last year speech. "We should move quickly to re-impose sanctions that have been waived, and consider new restrictions going forward."
My goodness. If they haven't done enough now to merit this situation: a double -- (word inaudible) -- missile, leaving the six- party talks, kidnapping two U.S. citizens, re-starting a nuclear facility. If they haven't done enough to merit putting the old sanctions back on and -- from what that alone -- trying to give them aid in this supplemental? I really think that's the wrong message for us to send.
SEC. CLINTON: Well, Senator, let me assure you that that money is in there in the event -- which at this point seems implausible, if not impossible -- the North Koreans return to the six-party talks and begin to disable their nuclear capacity again.
We have absolutely no interest and no willingness on the part of this administration to give them any economic aid at all, unless they --
SEN. : Including fuel oil?
SEC. CLINTON: Absolutely. That is my very strongly held belief.
I mean, they are digging themselves into a deeper and deeper hole with the international community. I think they were shocked that we were able to get the Chinese and Russians on to such a strong statement in the U.N., specifically saying that their missile launch contravened the Security Council Resolution 1718.
And then they were further shocked when we got the Chinese and the Russians to agree on tough sanctions on their -- some of their financial institutions
So we are very serious about trying to make it clear to the North Koreans that their recent behavior is absolutely unacceptable.
SEN. : Thank you.
SEN. INOUYE: Senator Lautenberg?
SEN. FRANK LAUTENBERG (D-NJ): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I thank each of you for the work that you're doing. And, Secretary Gates, the fact that you're carrying over and we're not discussing parties and things of that nature, and I commend you for that.
And Hillary Clinton, we miss you here. But we are so pleased that you're going on with the tasks that you are. You're firm without being a bully. You're intelligent without causing our allies or the ones that we need to develop friendships with feeling like that we're dismissing their needs.
And we're proud of each of you.
(We ?) ask a question here. Last year, I wrote a law to establish an inspector general position for Afghanistan reconstruction they're calling -- the nomenclature is SIGAR.
Congress has appropriated $16 million for that post, and I'm pleased the president has added additional funds in the supplemental so this office can hire more staff and get to work.
What are the lessons that we've learned in Iraq that can help us prevent the abuses that were so obvious and abundant in Afghanistan? In --
SEC. CLINTON: If I could just take --
SEN. LAUTENBERG: In Iraq. I'm sorry.
SEC. CLINTON: Thank you, sir. Thank you for those kind comments, Senator. I really appreciate them.
What we are trying to do with our own internal measurement (of ?) performances, with more accountability.
And I have personally told the Afghanistan inspector general's office that we don't want them to wait and just give us a report that something's going wrong. We want them to be an early warning signal.
If they are doing investigations and they see something that is not appropriate, let us know. Don't let it go on.
And we're going to try to have a very clear set, both of measurements and of early warning signals so that we can get ahead of some of these problems that you have rightly pointed out.
SEN. LAUTENBERG: We have to do that, because it's very hard to close that barn door once the horse is gone and expect any kind of a result.
I asked this question about Iran. The -- and either one of you expressing an opinion would be of value.
The president stated any of -- any engagement of Iran would be limited and if there's no progress, the U.S. will pursue serious sanctions.
And while I hope those talks will be fruitful, I hope that we will be serious about imposing strong sanctions, including a loophole that has allowed subsidiaries of American companies to do business with Iran -- establishing sham locations in the Caribbean and then extending them so that we can do firsthand business.
Should we make sure that that door for American companies to be profiteering, as happened in Iraq while they're assaulting our people -- shouldn't we close that door once and for all?
Madame Secretary, what do you think?
SEC. CLINTON: Well, Senator, we are operating on two tracks. We do have a intensive consultation effort going on with friends and like-minded nations, not only in the region but elsewhere in the world, concerning the threats that Iran poses not only with its nuclear ambitions, but its interference with the internal affairs of many countries, its funding of terrorism, so much else that is deeply troubling.
And we believe that our outreach and our consultation lays the groundwork for tougher international sanctions.
But I agree with you that we ought to look to make sure that we have our own house in order as to any of the sanctions that we should be implementing going forward.
SEN. LAUTENBERG: And Secretary Gates -- and I promise you, Mr. Chairman, this is it.
Are we limited to two options to control what might be going on with Iran and the nuclear development? Is it sanctions or military engagement? Is that -- what else is left to us, other than that?
SEC. GATES: I think that -- you know, the one thing that's clear is that the Iranians hate being isolated.
All of the information we get indicates that however imperfect the U.N. resolutions against Iran are, the Iranians hate it when one of those resolutions passes, because it makes clear how isolated they are in the world.
My view is that it's a -- the only way to eliminate an Iranian determination to have nuclear weapons, in my opinion, is for that government to make that decision. Even a military attack will only buy us time and send the program deeper and more covert.
How do we get them to decide that it's not in their interest to pursue nuclear weapons?
It seems to me partly it's economic pressures; partly it's diplomatic isolation; partly it's seeing their neighbors beginning to band together to collaborate on air and missile defense that is aimed only Iran.
It's one of the reasons I think there is value in pursuing a partnership with the Russians on missile defense in Europe and in Russia itself.
And I think all of these things, combined with a diplomatic door that they can walk through if they choose to do so, so that they don't feel like they've been backed into a corner and have no choice but to go forward, plus trying to persuade them that their security interests are actually badly served by trying to have nuclear weapons -- that they will spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East and they will be less secure at the end than they are now.
So I think there are alternatives to the military. The military option, as I say, is, at the end of the day, still only a temporary option. And so I think it's --
The panoply of these things, put together in a coordinated policy and with the help of our allies and partners and, frankly, important countries like Russia and China, that I think offer the best chance.
And I would tell you we've got a better chance of making it work on $40 oil than we do on $140 oil.
SEN. LAUTENBERG: Well, Madame Secretary, you have an enormous job. (Scattered laughter.) And we just heard it from the secretary.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. INOUYE: Thank you.
Secretary Clinton and Secretary Gates, on behalf of the Committee I thank you for your attendance and your testimony today.
As you know, colleagues have submitted questions to you, and I hope that you can respond to them and return your answers by next Wednesday, to prepare ourselves for the markup.
With that, I thank you very much. The session is adjourned. (Sounds gavel.)