U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations

By Gates, Robert M. | U.S. Department of Defense Speeches, February 27, 2007 | Go to article overview

U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations


Gates, Robert M., U.S. Department of Defense Speeches


Testimony as Submitted For Delivery By Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, Washington, DC, Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Mr. Chairman, Senator Cochran, Members of the Committee:

I appreciate the opportunity to join Secretary Rice in discussing the President's Supplemental Appropriation Request to fund the costs of operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the wider Global War on Terror.

From the start, I would like to express my strong support for the programs funded in the State Department's request. The kinds of challenges our country faces in Iraq and Afghanistan cannot be overcome without the important non-military efforts outlined by Secretary Rice.

The 2007 Supplemental Request of $93.4 billion for the Department of Defense is in addition to the $70 billion that has already been appropriated for war-related costs in this fiscal year. If these additional funds are delayed, the military will be forced to engage in costly and counterproductive reprogramming actions starting this spring to make up the shortfall. Timely enactment of this Supplemental Request is critical to ensuring our troops in the field have the resources they need.

While our country is properly focused on the serious situation in Iraq, it is critical that the gains made in Afghanistan these past few years not be allowed to slip away. This was at the top of my agenda at the NATO ministerial earlier this month in Seville.

I believe that it is important to consider the defense budget requests--both for the base budget and the war-related requests--submitted to the Congress this year in some historical context, as there has been, understandably, sticker shock at their combined price tags--more than $700 billion total.

Please consider that, at about 4 percent of America's Gross Domestic Product, the amount of money the United States is projected to spend on defense this year is actually a smaller percentage of GDP than when I left government 14 years ago following the end of the Cold War--and a significantly smaller percentage than during previous times of war, such as Vietnam and Korea.

Since 1993, with a defense budget that is a smaller relative share of our national wealth, the world has gotten more complicated, and arguably more dangerous. In addition to fighting the Global War on Terror, we also face:

* The danger posed by Iran's and North Korea's nuclear ambitions, and the threat they pose not only to their neighbors, but globally, because of their record of proliferation;

* The uncertain paths of China and Russia, which are both pursuing sophisticated military modernization programs; and

* A range of other potential flashpoints, challenges and threats.

In this strategic environment, the resources we devote to defense at this critical time should be at the level to adequately meet those challenges.

Fiscal Year 2007 Supplemental Request

The FY 2007 Supplemental Request includes $39.3 billion to provide the incremental pay, supplies, transportation, maintenance and logistical support to conduct military operations. The additional U.S. ground and naval forces being sent to the Iraq theater are projected to cost $5.6 billion. This total includes funding for personnel costs, supplies, spare parts, contractor support, and transportation. The FY 2008 GWOT Request complies with Congress's direction to include the costs of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan in the annual Defense Department budget.

Reconstitution

The request includes $13.9 billion to reconstitute our nation's armed forces--in particular, to refit the ground forces, the Army and Marine Corps, who have borne the brunt of combat in both human and material terms. These funds will go to repair or replace equipment that has been destroyed, damaged, or stressed in the current conflict.

All Army units deployed, or about to deploy, for missions overseas are fully trained and equipped, often with additional gear for their particular mission. …

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