[The following are excerpts from a statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Washington, DC, July 31, 2008.]
Thank you for inviting me today to provide the Department of State's views of the roles of civil and military agencies in foreign assistance. I am pleased to appear alongside Under Secretary of Defense Edelman.
Since 2001, our two departments have been adapting and improving how we cooperate to meet the challenges facing our country in the twenty-first century. We now confront threats from international terrorism, trafficking in narcotics and persons, and global pandemics that thrive on the inability of failed and failing states to perform even basic sovereign responsibilities. This Administration has recognized that defeating those threats depends as much on strengthening states and societies as on destroying enemies. Accordingly, President Bush has designated the State Department as a national security agency and made diplomacy and development, as well as defense, pillars of our national security strategy.
This Administration has begun the long-term effort to equip the State Department and other civilian agencies with the resources and capabilities to fulfill their responsibilities for our national security. With Congress' support, we have made good progress. Increases to our foreign assistance budgets, new authorities, and new interagency coordination mechanisms have enhanced the State Department's ability to advance U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities. At the same time, as Secretary Rice and Secretary Gates have both publicly argued, much remains to be done to give civilian agencies additional capabilities to meet their responsibilities. It is in the national interest that our military have strong and capable civilian partners; and that is why the Administration has requested additional funds for critical programs in the 2009 President's Budget to continue this positive trend, which I will discuss below.
To meet the global challenges that our country faces, this Administration has sought significant innovations and increases in funding for foreign assistance. Over the past seven years, we have more than doubled Official Development Assistance [ODA] to support nations struggling to improve governance, expand opportunity, and fight disease. We are on track to double our annual assistance to sub-Saharan Africa to $8.7 billion in disbursements by 2010, in accordance with our commitment at the Group of Eight's 2005 summit in Gleneagles. The State/USAID [U.S. Agency for International Development] FY 2009 Foreign Assistance Request of $22.7 billion, a 10 percent increase from the FY 2008 request, will continue this effort, enabling our government to continue advancing important and interconnected priorities, including promoting long-term economic growth and development; reducing poverty; fighting disease; providing military assistance and training; promoting post-conflict reconstruction and recovery; delivering humanitarian response; and improving governance, transparency, and accountability.
More specifically, our core assistance programs aim to expand the community of well-governed states by helping recipient countries address short- and long-term political, economic, and security needs. To meet these challenges, our FY 2009 request for core assistance accounts is over $12 billion, a 9 percent increase from the FY 2008 request. That request supports critical investments in areas such as health, basic education, agriculture, environment, democratic governance, economic growth, micro-enterprise, and water resource management. Indeed, as Congress appropriates funds from the recently passed five-year, $48 billion reauthorization of the PEPFAR [President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief]--the largest campaign ever against a single disease--our assistance levels will rise even higher. In …