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Remarks Introducing Nominee for Secretary of State, Senator John Kerry at His Senate Foreign Relations Committee Confirmation Hearing

Testimony

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Hart Office Building
Washington, DC
January 24, 2013

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It’s very good to be back and to have this opportunity to join with Senator Warren and Senator McCain in introducing President Obama’s nominee to be the next Secretary of State. I was very honored when John asked me to take part in this because John is the right choice to carry forward the Obama Administration’s foreign policy, and I urge his speedy confirmation.As we’ve heard from both the Chairman and the Ranking Member and just now Senator Warren, he will bring a record of leadership and service that is exemplary. He has a view of the world that he has acted on, first as that young returning veteran from Vietnam who appeared before this committee, through the time that he served with such distinction as its chairman. He’s been a valued partner to this Administration and to me personally. He has fought for our diplomats and development experts. He understands the value of investing in America’s global leadership. And as we work to implement the Accountability Review Board’s recommendations, he is committed to doing whatever it takes to prevent another attack and protect our people and posts around the world.

Now, working together, we’ve achieved a great deal. But the State Department and USAID have a lot of unfinished business, from Afghanistan to nonproliferation to climate change to so much. We need to sustain our renewed engagement in the Asia Pacific, continue ramping up economics as a tool for advancing American interests and jobs, pressing forward with unleashing the potential of the world’s women and girls, keep championing the kind of smart power that looks to innovation and partnerships with governments and people alike to promote peace and stability.

John has built strong relationships with leaders in governments here and around the world, and he has experience in representing our country in fragile and unpredictable circumstances. He was in Pakistan and Afghanistan a few years ago, and we were consulting over the phone. He played an instrumental role in working with President Karzai at that time to accept the results of the election and to move forward. I had to call Harry Reid and ask Harry not to schedule any votes so that John could continue to stay there to see that mission through. But that’s what he does. He is a determined and effective representative of the United States, has been as a senator, will be as Secretary.

Let me close by saying that leading our diplomats and development experts is a great honor. And every day, as I testified yesterday, I’ve seen firsthand their skill, their bravery, their unwavering commitment to our country. I’ve been proud to call them colleagues and to serve as Secretary of State. And I’m very pleased that John will be given the chance, subject to confirmation, to continue the work of a lifetime on behalf of our country.

Thank you.

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Full testimony.

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Testimony

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Opening Remarks Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Washington, DC
January 23, 2013

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member, members of the committee, both older and new. I’m very grateful for this opportunity and I thank you very much for your patience to give me the chance to come and address these issues with you.

As both the Chairman and the Ranking Member have said, the terrorist attacks in Benghazi on September 11th, 2012 that claimed the lives of four brave Americans – Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty – are part of a broader strategic challenge to the United States and our partners in North Africa. Today, I want briefly to offer some context for this challenge, share what we’ve learned, how we are protecting our people, and where we can work together to not only honor our fallen colleagues, but continue to champion America’s interests and values.

Any clear-eyed examination of this matter must begin with this sobering fact: Since 1988, there have been 19 Accountability Review Boards investigating attacks on American diplomats and their facilities. Benghazi joins a long list of tragedies for our Department, for other agencies, and for America: hostages taken in Tehran in 1979, our Embassy and Marine barracks bombed in Beirut in 1983, Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996, our embassies in East Africa in 1998, consulate staff murdered in Jeddah in 2004, the Khost attack in 2009, and too many others. Since 1977, 65 American diplomatic personnel have been killed by terrorists.

Now of course, the list of attacks foiled, crises averted, and lives saved is even longer. We should never forget that our security professionals get it right more than 99 percent of the time, against difficult odds all over the world. That’s why, like my predecessors, I literally trust them with my life.

Let’s also remember that administrations of both parties, in partnership with Congress, have made concerted and good faith efforts to learn from these attacks and deaths to implement recommendations from the review boards, to seek the necessary resources, and to do better in protecting our people from what has become constantly evolving threats. That is the least that the men and women who serve our country deserve. It’s what, again, we are doing now with your help. As Secretary, I have no higher priority and no greater responsibility.

As I have said many times, I take responsibility, and nobody is more committed to getting this right. I am determined to leave the State Department and our country safer, stronger, and more secure.

Now, taking responsibility meant moving quickly in those first uncertain hours and days to respond to the immediate crisis, but also to further protect our people and posts in high-threat areas across the region and the world. It meant launching an independent investigation to determine exactly what happened in Benghazi and to recommend steps for improvement. And it meant intensifying our efforts to combat terrorism and figure out effective ways to support the emerging democracies in North Africa and beyond.

Let me share some of the lessons we’ve learned, the steps we’ve taken, and the work we continue to do.

First, let’s start on the night of September 11th itself and those difficult early days. I directed our response from the State Department, stayed in close contact with officials from across our government and the Libyan Government. So I saw firsthand what Ambassador Pickering and former Chairman Mike Mullen called timely and exceptional coordination; no delays in decision making, no denials of support from Washington or from our military. And I want to echo the Review Board’s praise for the valor and courage of our people on the ground, especially the security professionals in Benghazi and Tripoli. The board said the response saved American lives in real time, and it did.

The very next morning, I told the American people that heavily armed militants assaulted our compound, and I vowed to bring them to justice. And I stood with President Obama in the Rose Garden as he spoke of an act of terror.

It’s also important to recall that in that same period, we were seeing violent attacks on our embassies in Cairo, Sana’a, Tunis, Khartoum, as well as large protests outside many other posts where thousands of our diplomats serve. So I immediately ordered a review of our security posture around the world, with particular scrutiny for high-threat posts. I asked the Department of Defense to join Interagency Security Assessment Teams and to dispatch hundreds of additional Marine Security Guards. I named the first Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for High Threat Posts so missions in dangerous places get the attention they need. And we reached out to Congress to help address physical vulnerabilities, including risk from fire, and to hire additional Diplomatic Security personnel.

Second, even as we took these steps, I hurried to appoint the Accountability Review Board led by Ambassador Pickering and Admiral Mullen so we could more fully understand from objective, independent examination what went wrong and how to fix it.

I have accepted every one of their recommendations. I asked the Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources to lead a task force to ensure that all 29 of them are implemented quickly and completely, as well as pursuing additional steps above and beyond the recommendations.

I also pledged in my letter to you last month that implementation would begin, and it has. Our task force started by translating the recommendations into 64 specific action items. They were assigned to bureaus and offices with clear timelines for completion. Eighty-five percent are now on track to be completed by the end of March; a number are already completed. And we will use this opportunity to take a top-to-bottom look and rethink how we make decisions on where, when and whether people operate in high-threat areas, and then how we respond to threats and crises.

We are initiating an annual High Threat Post Review chaired by the Secretary of State, and ongoing reviews by the Deputy Secretaries, to ensure that pivotal questions about security do reach the highest levels. We will regularize protocols for sharing information with Congress. These are designed to increase the safety of our diplomats and development experts and reduce the chances of another Benghazi happening again.

We’ve also been moving forward on a third front: addressing the broader strategic challenge in North Africa and the wider region, because, after all, Benghazi did not happen in a vacuum. The Arab revolutions have scrambled power dynamics and shattered security forces across the region. Instability in Mali has created an expanding safe haven for terrorists who look to extend their influence and plot further attacks of the kind we saw just last week in Algeria.

And let me offer our deepest condolences to the families of the Americans and all the people from many nations who were killed and injured in that recent hostage crisis. We are in close touch with the Government of Algeria. We stand ready to provide assistance. We are seeking to gain a fuller understanding of what took place so we can work together with Algerians and others to prevent such terrorist attacks in the future.

Concerns about terrorism and instability in North Africa are of course not new. They have been a top priority for the entire Administration’s national security team. But we have been facing a rapidly changing threat environment, and we have had to keep working at ways to increase pressure on al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and the other terrorist groups in the region.

In the first hours and days, I conferred with leaders – the President of Libya, Foreign Ministers of Tunisia and Morocco – and then I had a series of meetings at the United Nations General Assembly where there was a special meeting focused on Mali and the Sahel. In October, I flew to Algeria to discuss the fight against AQIM. In November, I sent Deputy Secretary Bill Burns to follow up in Algiers. And then in December, in my stead, he co-chaired an organization we started to respond to some of these threats: the Global Counterterrorism Forum, which was meeting in Abu Dhabi, as well as a meeting in Tunis of leaders working to build new democracies and reform security services.

We have focused on targeting al-Qaida’s syndicate of terror – closing safe havens, cutting off finances, countering extremist ideology, slowing the flow of new recruits. And we continue to hunt the terrorists responsible for the attacks in Benghazi and are determined to bring them to justice. We are using our diplomatic and economic tools to support these emerging democracies and to strengthen security forces and help provide a path away from extremism.

But let me underscore the importance of the United States continuing to lead in the Middle East, in North Africa, and around the world. We’ve come a long way in the past four years, and we cannot afford to retreat now. When America is absent, especially from unstable environments, there are consequences. Extremism takes root; our interests suffer; our security at home is threatened.

That’s why I sent Chris Stevens to Benghazi in the first place. Nobody knew the dangers better than Chris, first during the revolution, then during the transition. A weak Libyan Government, marauding militias, terrorist groups; a bomb exploded in the parking lot of his hotel, but he did not waver. Because he understood it was critical for America to be represented there at that time.

Our men and women who serve overseas understand that we accept a level of risk to protect the country we love. And they represent the best traditions of a bold and generous nation. They cannot work in bunkers and do their jobs. So it is our responsibility to make sure they have the resources they need, and to do everything we can to reduce the risks.

For me, this is not just a matter of policy. It’s personal. I stood next to President Obama as the Marines carried those flag-draped caskets off the plane at Andrews. I put my arms around the mothers and fathers, the sisters and brothers, the sons and daughters, and the wives left alone to raise their children.

It has been one of the great honors of my life to lead the men and women of the State Department and USAID. Nearly 70,000 serving here in Washington; more than 270 posts around the world. They get up and go to work every day, often in difficult and dangerous circumstances, because they believe, as we believe, the United States is the most extraordinary force for peace and progress the world has ever known.

And when we suffer tragedies overseas, as we have, the number of Americans applying to the Foreign Service actually increases. That tells us everything we need to know about what kind of patriots I’m talking about. They do ask what they can do for their country, and America is stronger for it.

So today, after four years in this job, traveling nearly a million miles, visiting 112 countries, my faith in our country and our future is stronger than ever. Every time that blue and white airplane carrying the words “United States of America” touches down in some far-off capital, I feel again the honor it is to represent the world’s indispensible nation. And I am confident that, with your help, we will keep the United States safe, strong, and exceptional.

So I want to thank this committee for your partnership and your support of diplomats and development experts. You know the importance of the work they do day in and day out. You know that America’s values and vital national security interests are at stake. And I appreciate what Ranking Member Corker just said: It is absolutely critical that this committee and the State Department, with your new Secretary and former Chairman, work together to really understand and address the resources, support, and changes that are needed to face what are increasingly complex threats.

I know you share my sense of responsibility and urgency, and while we all may not agree on everything, let’s stay focused on what really matters: protecting our people and the country we love. And thank you for the support you personally have given to me over the last four years.

I now would be happy to answer your questions.

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Public Schedule for January 23, 2013

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
January 23, 2013

DEPARTMENT OF STATE
PUBLIC SCHEDULE

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 23, 2013

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

9:00 a.m. Secretary Clinton testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Capitol Hill.
(MEDIA DETERMINED BY SFRC)

2:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on Capitol Hill.
(MEDIA DETERMINED BY HFAC)

4:30 p.m. Secretary Clinton attends a meeting at the White House.
(MEDIA DETERMINED BY WHITE HOUSE)

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The Law of the Sea Convention (Treaty Doc. 103-39): The U.S. National Security and Strategic Imperatives for Ratification

Testimony

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Washington, DC
May 23, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON:Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Senator Lugar. After both of your opening comments, I think you’ve made the case both eloquently and persuasively for anyone who is willing to look at the facts. I am well aware that this treaty does have determined opposition, limited but nevertheless quite vociferous. And it’s unfortunate because it’s opposition based in ideology and mythology, not in facts, evidence, or the consequences of our continuing failure to accede to the treaty. So I think you’ll hear, from both Secretary Panetta and General Dempsey as well as myself, further statements and information that really reinforces the very strong points that both of you have made.We believe that it is imperative to act now. No country is better served by this convention than the United States. As the world’s foremost maritime power, we benefit from the convention’s favorable freedom of navigation provisions. As the country with the world’s second longest coastline, we benefit from its provisions on offshore natural resources. As a country with an exceptionally large area of seafloor, we benefit from the ability to extend our continental shelf, and the oil and gas rights on that shelf. As a global trading power, we benefit from the mobility that the convention accords to all commercial ships. And as the only country under this treaty that was given a permanent seat on the group that will make decisions about deep seabed mining, we will be in a unique position to promote our interests.

Now, the many benefits of this convention have attracted a wide-ranging coalition of supporters. Obviously, as we heard from both Senator Kerry and Senator Lugar, Republican and Democratic presidents have supported U.S. accession; military leaders who see the benefits for our national security; American businesses, including, strongly, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, see the economic benefits. It has the support of every affected industry, including shipping, fisheries, telecommunications and energy, environmental groups as well. We have a coalition of environmental, conservation, business, industry, and security groups all in support of this convention.

And I would ask that my longer written statement along with the letters that I have received in support of the treaty be entered into the record.

CHAIRMAN KERRY: Without objection.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Now, one could argue, that 20 years ago, 10 years ago, maybe even five years ago, joining the convention was important but not urgent. That is no longer the case today. Four new developments make our participation a matter of utmost security and economic urgency.

First, for years, American oil and gas companies were not technologically ready to take advantage of the convention’s provisions regarding the extended U.S. continental shelf. Now they are. The convention allows countries to claim sovereignty over their continental shelf far out into the ocean, beyond 200 nautical miles from shore. The relevant area for the United States is probably more than 1.5 times the size of Texas. In fact, we believe it could be considerably larger.

U.S. oil and gas companies are now ready, willing, and able to explore this area. But they have made it clear to us that they need the maximum level of international legal certainty before they will or could make the substantial investments, and, we believe, create many jobs in doing so needed to extract these far-offshore resources. If we were a party to the convention, we would gain international recognition of our sovereign rights, including by using the convention’s procedures, and therefore be able to give our oil and gas companies this legal certainty. Staying outside the convention, we simply cannot.

The second development concerns deep seabed mining, which takes place in that part of the ocean floor that is beyond any country’s jurisdiction. Now for years, technological challenges meant that deep seabed mining was only theoretical; today’s advances make it very real. But it’s also very expensive, and before any company will explore a mine site, it will naturally insist on having a secure title to the site and the minerals that it will recover. The convention offers the only effective mechanism for gaining this title. But only a party to the convention can use this mechanism on behalf of its companies.

So as long as the United States is outside the convention, our companies are left with two bad choices – either take their deep sea mining business to another country or give up on the idea. Meanwhile, as you heard from Senator Kerry and Senator Lugar, China, Russia, and many other countries are already securing their licenses under the convention to begin mining for valuable metals and rare earth elements. And as you know, rare earth elements are essential for manufacturing high-tech products like cell phones and flat screen televisions. They are currently in tight supply and produced almost exclusively by China. So while we are challenging China’s export restrictions on these critical materials, we also need American companies to develop other sources. But as it stands today, they will only do that if they have the secure rights that can only be provided under this convention. If we expect to be able to manage our own energy future and our need for rare earth minerals, we must be a party to the Law of the Sea Convention.

The third development that is now urgent is the emerging opportunities in the Arctic. As the area gets warmer, it is opening up to new activities such as fishing, oil and gas exploration, shipping, and tourism. This convention provides the international framework to deal with these new opportunities. We are the only Arctic nation outside the convention. Russia and the other Arctic states are advancing their continental shelf claims in the Arctic while we are on the outside looking in. As a party to the convention, we would have a much stronger basis to assert our interests throughout the entire Arctic region.

The fourth development is that the convention’s bodies are now up and running. The body that makes recommendations regarding countries’ continental shelves beyond 200 nautical miles is actively considering submissions from over 40 countries without the participation of a U.S. commissioner. The body addressing deep seabed mining is now drawing up the rules to govern the extraction of minerals of great interest to the United States and American industry. It simply should not be acceptable to us that the United States will be absent from either of those discussions.

Our negotiators obtained a permanent U.S. seat on the key decision-making body for deep seabed mining. I know of no other international body that accords one country and one country alone – us – a permanent seat on its decision making body. But until we join, that reserved seat remains empty.

So those are the stakes for our economy. And you will hear from Secretary Panetta and General Dempsey that our security interests are intrinsically linked to freedom of navigation. We have much more to gain from legal certainty and public order in the world’s oceans than any other country. U.S. Armed Forces rely on the navigational rights and freedoms reflected in the convention for worldwide access to get to combat areas, sustain our forces during conflict, and return home safely all without permission from other countries.

Now as a non-party to the convention, we rely – we have to rely – on what is called customary international law as a legal basis for invoking and enforcing these norms. But in no other situation at which – in which our security interests are at stake do we consider customary international law good enough to protect rights that are vital to the operation of the United States military. So far we’ve been fortunate, but our navigational rights and our ability to challenge other countries’ behavior should stand on the firmest and most persuasive legal footing available, including in critical areas such as the South China Sea.

I’m sure you have followed the claims countries are making in the South China Sea. Although we do not have territory there, we have vital interests, particularly freedom of navigation. And I can report from the diplomatic trenches that as a party to the convention, we would have greater credibility in invoking the convention’s rules and a greater ability to enforce them.

Now, I know a number of you have heard arguments opposing the convention. And let me just address those head-on. Critics claim we would surrender U.S. sovereignty under this treaty. But in fact, it’s exactly the opposite. We would secure sovereign rights over vast new areas and resources, including our 200-mile exclusive economic zone and vast continental shelf areas extending off our coasts and at least 600 miles off Alaska. I know that some are concerned that the treaty’s provisions for binding dispute settlement would impinge on our sovereignty. We are no stranger to similar provisions, including in the World Trade Organization which has allowed us to bring trade cases; many of them currently pending against abusers around the world. As with the WTO, the U.S. has much more to gain than lose from this proposition by being able to hold others accountable under clear and transparent rules.

Some critics invoke the concern we would be submitting to mandatory technology transfer and cite President Reagan’s other initial objections to the treaty. Those concerns might have been relevant decades ago, but today they are not. In 1994, negotiators made modifications specifically to address each of President Reagan’s objections, including mandatory technology transfer, which is why President Reagan’s own Secretary of State, George Shultz, has since written we should join the convention in light of those modifications having been made.

Now some continue to assert we do not need to join the convention for U.S. companies to drill beyond 200 miles or to engage in deep seabed mining. That’s not what the companies say. So I find it quite ironic, in fact somewhat bewildering that a group, an organization, an individual would make a claim that is refuted by every major company in every major sector of the economy who stands to benefit from this treaty. Under current circumstances, they are very clear. They will not take on the cost and risk these activities under uncertain legal frameworks. They need the indisputable, internationally recognized rights available under the treaty. So please, listen to these companies, not to those who have other reasons or claims that are not based on the facts. These companies are refuting the critics who say, “Go ahead, you’ll be fine.” But they’re not the ones – the critics – being asked to invest tens of millions of dollars without the legal certainty that comes with joining the convention.

Now some mischaracterize the payments for the benefit of resource rights beyond 200 miles as quote “a UN tax” – and this is my personal favorite of the arguments against the treaty – that will be used to support state sponsors of terrorism. Honestly, I don’t know where these people make these things up, but anyway the convention does not contain or authorize any such taxes. Any royalty fee does not go to the United Nations; it goes into a fund for distribution to parties of the convention. And we, were we actually in the convention, would have a permanent veto power over how the funds are distributed. And we could prevent them from going anywhere we did not want them to go. I just want to underscore – this is simple arithmetic. If we don’t join the convention, our companies will miss out on opportunities to explore vast areas of continental shelf and deep seabed. If we do join the convention, we unlock economic opportunities worth potentially hundreds of billions of dollars, for a small percentage royalty a few years down the line.

I’ve also heard we should not join this convention because quote “it’s a UN treaty.” And of course that means the black helicopters are on their way. Well, the fact that a treaty was negotiated under the auspices of the United Nations, which is after all a convenient gathering place for the countries of the world, has not stopped us from joining agreements that are in our interests. We are a party to dozens of agreements negotiated under the UN auspices on everything from counter-terrorism and law enforcement to health, commerce, and aviation. And we often pay fees under those treaties recognizing the benefits we get dwarf those minimal fees.

And on the national security front, some argue we would be handing power over the U.S. Navy to an international body. Patently untrue, obviously absolutely contrary to any history or law governing our navy. None of us would be sitting here if there were even a chance that you could make the most absurd argument that could possibly lead to that conclusion. Disputes concerning U.S. military activities are clearly excluded from dispute settlement under the convention.

And neither is it true that the convention would prohibit intelligence activities. The intelligence community has once again in 2012, as it did in 2007, as it did in 2003, confirmed that is absolutely not true.

So whatever arguments may have existed for delaying U.S. accession no longer exist and truly cannot be even taken with a straight face. The benefits of joining have always been significant, but today the costs of not joining are increasing. So much is at stake, and I therefore urge the Committee to listen to the experts, listen to our businesses, listen to the Chamber of Commerce, listen to our military, and please give advice and consent to this treaty before the end of this year. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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Here are a few photos of SOS Clinton with SOD Gates and Chairman Mullen.

Totally Keatsian observations: She is really rocking the pink this Spring, is she not? She looks smashing today, and was making eyes at Senator Lugar who was eating her up like a strawberry ice cream cone.














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Afghanistan: Assessing The Road Ahead

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Opening Remarks Before the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Washington, DC
December 3, 2009

(9:30 a.m. EST)

Thank you very much, Chairman Kerry and Ranking Member Lugar, and to all the members of this Committee. It is an honor for me to be here to testify before you, and also to continue the dialogue. Both the Chairman and the Ranking Member’s statements, as would be expected, were extraordinarily thoughtful, raised a lot of the hard questions that we’re grappling with, and posed the challenges that we have to meet, both the Administration and the Congress together. And I want to thank the Committee for the constructive role that it has played in helping us to address the difficult issues raised in the region of the world that we are focused on today.

When President Obama addressed the cadets at West Point, he set forth both the rationale and the difficult choices that his policy represents. At the end of a very long and thoughtful process that consisted of 10 meetings with the President and his national security team and probably three times that many among the rest of us without the President, the President concluded that among a range of very difficult decisions, this is the best way to protect our nation now and in the future.

The extremists who have taken root in the border area of Pakistan and Afghanistan have attacked us before, they’ve attacked our allies, they are now attempting to destabilize, if not overthrow the Pakistani Government and take back enough control, if not the entire country of Afghanistan. We believe that if we allow Afghanistan to become a failed state, if we allow the extremists to have the same safe havens that they used before 2001, they will have a greater capacity to regroup and attack again, and also to continue to provide the leadership, the operational and logistical support that they currently provide to global extremism. We believe they could drag an entire region into chaos, and we know that based on the reports from our military and civilian leadership, the situation in Afghanistan is serious and worsening.

Now, I know we don’t want to go back in history and anchor our decision totally on what happened on September 11th, 2001. But I think it does have to be part of the national debate. The damage done with those attacks against our economic and military power centers was also an attack on my constituents, because at that time, I had the honor of serving as senator from New York. I witnessed the tragic consequences to the lives of thousands of innocent families, the damage done to the economy, and the damage to our sense of security. So I feel a personal responsibility to help protect our nation from such violence, and I entered into the very intense consultations we’ve been engaged in with that as my overriding goal, but without any preconceived notion of exactly the best way to meet that goal.

The case for action against al-Qaida and its allies has always been clear. But the United States’ course of action over the last eight years has not. The fog of another war obscured our focus. And while our attention was focused elsewhere, the Taliban regained momentum in Afghanistan and the extremist threat grew in Pakistan – a country, as you know well, with 175 million people, a nuclear arsenal, and more than its share of challenges. So it was against this backdrop that the President called for this careful, thorough review of our strategy.

Our objectives are clear. We will work with the Afghan and Pakistani governments to eliminate safe havens for those plotting against us, our allies, and our interests. We will work to find reliable partners in the region to help us stabilize it, which we think is fundamental to our national security. We will develop a long-term, sustainable relationship with Afghanistan and Pakistan so that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past, primarily our abandonment of that region. The duration of our military presence will be limited, but our civilian commitment must continue even as our troops begin coming home.

Now, accomplishing this mission and ensuring the safety of the American people is not easy. It does mean sending more civilians, troops, and assistance to Afghanistan and significantly expanding our civilian efforts in Pakistan, which we have begun to do under the leadership of the Chairman, the Ranking Member, and this Committee. We will be asking the young men and women who not only serve in the military, but are part of our civilian service team, to be taking great risks and facing extraordinary sacrifices. I want to assure the Committee that we will do everything we can to ensure that their sacrifices make our nation safer.

Now, the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan is serious, but it is not, in my view, as negative as frequently portrayed in public. The beginning of President Karzai’s second term has opened a new window of opportunity. We obviously have real concerns about the influence of corrupt officials in the Afghan Government, and we will redouble our efforts to pursue them. But in his inauguration speech last month, I witnessed President Karzai call for a new compact with the Afghan people and the international community. He pledged to combat corruption, improve governance, and deliver. His words were long in coming, but they were certainly welcome. They now must be matched with action.

The Afghan people, the United States, and the international community must hold the Afghan Government accountable. We will help by working with our Afghan partners to strengthen institutions at every level. The President has outlined a timeframe for transition to Afghan responsibility. As he said in his speech, the additional American and international troops will allow us to accelerate our handing over of responsibility to Afghan forces as we begin to transfer our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011.

Just as we have done in Iraq, we will execute this transition responsibly, taking into account conditions on the ground. This is not a cliff; this is a transition. The timeframe for the transition provides a sense of urgency in working with the Afghan Government. But it should be clear to everyone that unlike the past, the United States and our allies will have an enduring commitment to Afghanistan. Our resolve in this fight is reflected in the commitment of troops since the President took office, and in the significant civilian commitment that will continue long after our combat forces begin to leave.

Our civilian effort is already bearing fruit. Civilian experts and advisors are helping to craft policy inside government ministries. We are engaged in a process of certifying those ministries that we feel confident in providing funding for, and we will not provide it if we cannot certify them. When our Marines went into Nawa this July, we had civilians on the ground with them to coordinate assistance the very next day. As our operations progress, our civ-mil coordination is growing even stronger. We are on the track to triple the number of civilian positions in Afghanistan to 974 by early next year. When we started, there were about 320. They had six-month rotations. Our checking of their duty roster showed that a lot of them didn’t spend more than 30 to 60 days inside of Afghanistan even though they had been assigned there. We have totally revamped how we are providing civilian assistance. And we believe that we are beginning to make a difference.

Each of these civilians leverage not only, on average, 10 partners from locally employed staff to experts with U.S.-funded NGOs, but what we’re finding most interestingly is they leverage expertise within the United States military. When you put an agricultural expert in – embedded in a battalion, and along with the commanding officer of that battalion, they go looking for soldiers with ranching and farming experience, we have a real force multiplier.

And when I was Kabul two weeks ago meeting with our civ-mil teams, those are exactly the kind of stories that I was told. And the military who are responsible for the clearing phase of our military operations told me repeatedly how important the civilian presence was. As one said to me, I’m happy to supply whatever support these valuable civilians need, and we need more of them. This strategy will make that possible.

Not only do we believe we have the right people to achieve our objectives, we believe we have a sound strategy. We’ll be delivering high-impact economic assistance and bolstering Afghanistan’s agricultural sector, the traditional core of the Afghan economy. A number of my former colleagues have talked with me in the last months about the importance of agriculture and how they tried for eight years to help create jobs, reduce the funding that the Taliban receives from poppy cultivation; in effect, draw insurgents off the battlefield by moving them from poppies to pomegranates. Well, we have taken that advice seriously.

We also will support an Afghan-led effort to open the door to those Taliban who are willing to renounce al-Qaida, abandon violence, and wish to reintegrate into Afghan society. We understand that some of those who fight with the insurgency do not do so out of ideology, theology or conviction, but frankly, due to coercion and money. The average Taliban fighter is – our information – receives two to three times the monthly salary than the average Afghan soldier or police officer.

Our regional diplomacy complements this political approach by seeking to mitigate external interference in Afghanistan and working to shift the calculus of neighboring countries, and that, of course, leads me to Pakistan. A strong, stable, democratic Pakistan must be a key partner for the United States and an ally in the fight against violent extremism. We’ve seen progress over this past year as people in Pakistan increasingly come to the view that we do share a common enemy. I heard that repeatedly during my recent visit. But we have a long way to go. We will significantly expand support intended to help develop the potential of Pakistan and its people, demonstrating a long-term commitment.

I spent three days in Pakistan last month and most commonly I heard over and over again, you left us before, will you do it again? You walked away. You left us holding the problem that you helped to create. We want to send a clear message, as the Kerry-Lugar-Berman legislation does, that we intend to be committed over the long term.

We will not be facing these challenges alone. We have 42 other troop contributing countries. Our NATO-ISAF allies have already made significant contributions. After this hearing, I will leave for Brussels to begin the process of securing additional Afghan commitments. Ambassador Holbrooke is already there consulting with our allies. We’ve had a very encouraging response in the conversations we’ve had thus far. And we’re looking beyond NATO to build the strongest, broadest possible global coalition. Japan just announced a $5 billion commitment to Afghanistan. We think other governments are beginning to recognize that this is a common fight against a common enemy.

So let me conclude where I began: We face a range of difficult choices, but the President’s plan represents the best way we know to protect our nation today and in the future. The task we face is as complex as any national security challenge in our lifetimes. We will not succeed if people view this effort as the responsibility of a single party, a single agency within our government, or a single country. We owe it to our troops and our civilians who will face these dangers to come together as Americans and come together with our allies and the international partners to help accomplish this mission.

I look forward, as always, to continuing to work with you to achieve that goal. Thank you.

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Seems I cannot VodPod these Brightcove videos piggyback fashion two in one post. Pretty much the same speech – but a head-on view of our girl. You cannot OD on Hillary.

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more about “Hill on the Hill Today Part II“, posted with vodpod

FY 2010 Budget for the Department of State

Testimony

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
Washington, DC
May 20, 2009

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Senator Gregg, Senator Specter, Senator Bond. I’m very pleased to be here with you and to have this opportunity to discuss in some detail both the threats and the opportunities facing our country.
When I appeared before the Senate Appropriations Committee a few weeks ago with Secretary Gates, we both emphasized the need for a comprehensive approach to the challenges we face. We know we are confronting instability in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and the Middle East; we have transnational threats like terrorism, nuclear proliferation, climate change; and we have urgent development needs ranging from extreme poverty to pandemic disease, all of which have a direct impact on our own security and prosperity.
Now, these are tough challenges, and we would be foolish to minimize the magnitude of the task ahead. But we also have new opportunities. By using all the tools of American power – the talent of our people, well-reasoned policies, strategic partnerships, and the strength of our principles – we can make great strides against the problems we’ve faced for generations, and address the new threats of the 21st century. This comprehensive approach to solving global problems and seizing opportunities is at the heart of smart power. And the President’s 2010 budget is a blueprint for how we intend to put smart power into action.
The President’s Fiscal Year 2010 budget request for the State Department and USAID is $48.6 billion, a 7 percent increase over Fiscal Year 2009 funding levels. We know this request comes at a time when other agencies are experiencing cutbacks and the American people are experiencing economic recession. But it is an indication of the critical role the State Department and USAID must play to help advance our nation’s interests, safeguard our security, and make us a positive force for progress worldwide.
Our success requires a robust State Department and USAID working side-by-side with a strong military. To exercise our global leadership effectively, we do need to harness all three Ds – diplomacy, development, and defense.
And this budget supports the State Department and USAID in three critical ways: First, it allows us to invest in our people; second, implement sound policies; and third, strengthen our partnerships. We know it represents a major investment. And we pledge to uphold principles of good stewardship and accountability.
Let me begin with people. The men and women of the State Department and USAID may have the world in their hands, but too many are trying to balance all the balls they have in the air. Many key positions at posts overseas are vacant for the simple reason we don’t have enough personnel. In Beijing, 18 percent of our Embassy positions are open. In Mumbai, 20 percent. In Jeddah, 29 percent. And we face similar staffing shortages here at the Department in Washington as well as USAID.
We need good people and we need enough of them. That’s why the President’s 2010 budget includes $283 million to facilitate the hiring of over 740 new Foreign Service personnel. This is part of a broader effort to expand the Foreign Service by 25 percent.
The staffing situation at USAID is even more severe. In 1990, USAID employed nearly 3,500 direct hire personnel to administer an annual assistance budget of $5 billion. Today, the agency’s staff has shrunk by roughly a third, but they are tasked with overseeing $13.2 billion. To provide the oversight that taxpayers deserve and to stay on target of doubling our foreign assistance by 2015, we simply need more people, good people, to do the jobs we’re asking them to do.
We need personnel with the right skills to respond to the complex emergencies of the 21st century. And that’s why we’re requesting $323 million for the Civilian Stabilization Initiative, and that includes expansion of the Civilian Response Corps. This group of professionals will help the United States stabilize and reconstruct societies in transition from conflict and civil strife.
Now, with the right people in the right numbers, we’ll be able to implement the policies that we think are right for our country, and we’re focusing on three priorities: first, urgent challenges and regions of concern, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, Iraq and Iran, and the Middle East; second, transnational challenges, such as the one that Senator Gregg just referred to, and development assistance.
Now, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, our efforts center on the President’s goal to dismantle, disrupt, and defeat al-Qaida. And we know this requires a balanced approach that takes more than military might alone. So we’re expanding civilian efforts and we’re ensuring that our strategy is fully integrated and adequately resourced.
We’re helping Afghans revitalize their country’s agricultural sector. In study after study, what we have found is that agriculture is still the mainstay for a country that is largely rural. It was once a major source of jobs, and in fact, of export revenue. Afghanistan was considered the garden of Central Asia. Unfortunately, that has been devastated by years of war and civil strife. We’re supporting the Pakistani military as they take on the extremists who confront their country’s stability. We’re making long-term investments in Pakistan’s people and the democratically elected government through targeted humanitarian assistance. And in both of these countries, we are holding these governments and ourselves accountable for progress toward defined objectives.

Finally, we’re seeking resources to deploy a new strategic communication strategy. I would love to get into more detail with you on this, but just suffice it to say, we are being out-communicated by the Taliban and al-Qaida. That is absolutely unacceptable. It is not only true in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but as Senator Bond, who is focused on Southeast Asia knows, it’s there as well. We have to do a better job of getting the story of the values, ideals, the results of democracy out to people who are now being fed a steady diet of the worse kind of disinformation. And even more than that, seeing the media used by these extremists to threaten and intimidate every single night, just as it used to be used in Iraq until we put a stop to it.

As we move forward with the responsible redeployment of our combat forces from Iraq, this budget provides the tools we need to facilitate the transition to a stable, sovereign, and self-reliant Iraq. I was recently in Iraq and we are very focused on implementing the strategic framework that went along with the Status of Forces Agreement so that we do what we can to help increase the capacity of the Iraqi Government.
And as you know, we’re working with Israel and the Palestinian Authority to advance our goal of a two-state solution, a future in which Israel and its Arab neighbors can live in peace and security.
In addition to these urgent challenges – and there are others that I haven’t had time to mention –we face a new array of transnational threats, none more important than the one Senator Gregg highlighted, but we have others as well: energy security, climate change, disease. The United States is not immune from any of these transnational threats. And we’ve got to develop new forms of diplomatic engagement. We cannot send a special envoy to negotiate with a pandemic, or call a summit with carbon dioxide, or sever relations with the global financial crisis. But what we can do is use our ability to convene, to create pragmatic and principled partnerships. We’re working through the Major Economies Forum in preparation for the Climate Conference in Copenhagen. We’re deploying new approaches to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. We’re now a full partner in the P-5+1 talks. And as you know, the President and I have launched a six-year, $63 billion Global Health Initiative to help combat the spread of disease.
Development will play a critical role in what we try to do. And I think we have underplayed the importance of development in creating both goodwill among people and stronger partnerships with governments. We’re going to be asking for $525 million for maternal and child health, nearly 1 billion for education, 1.36 billion for addressing the root causes of food insecurity, and 4.1 billion for humanitarian assistance, including care for refugees, displaced persons, and emergency food aid. We really believe this will advance our values. And I know, Mr. Chairman, you agree with us on that.
Our smart power approach will rely on partnerships, and that begins with our own government. We are seeking an unprecedented level of cooperation between our agencies. Secretary Gates highlighted this cooperation when he testified before you last month. These partnerships are critical. If we’re going to be successful in addressing food security, then we’ve got to get everybody who deals with food aid and sustainable agriculture in the same room, around the same table, hammering out the American approach, not the State Department or the USAID or the USDA or some other approach. It’s got to be a team. And we’re trying to forge those teams. We think it will make us more efficient and cost-effective at the same time.
We’re also looking to revitalize our historic alliances in Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia, strengthen and deepen our bilateral ties with emerging regional leaders like Indonesia, Brazil, Turkey, Mexico, and India, and we are working to establish more constructive and candid relationships with China and Russia.
We’re asking for $4.1 billion for contributions to multilateral organizations and peacekeeping efforts. This is a good down payment for us, because for every peacekeeper that the United Nations puts in the field, like the ones I saw in Haiti a few weeks ago, it saves us money. We don’t have to intervene, or walk away, turn our back and live with the consequences.
We’re also expanding our partnerships beyond traditional government-to-government efforts. We’re working with women’s groups and civil society, human rights activists around the world, and we’re encouraging more people-to-people cooperation. I believe this may be one of the great new tools that we have in our diplomacy. Last week, I announced the creation of a Virtual Student Foreign Service that will bring together college students in the United States and our embassies abroad to work on digital and citizen diplomacy initiatives.
But finally, we must rely on sound principles to guide our actions, and we are committed to practicing what we preach. And that includes having an accountable government here at home.
We’re working to make the State Department more efficient, transparent, and effective. For the first time, we have filled the position of Deputy Secretary for Resources and Management. And we’re going to be reforming our processes in both the State Department and USAID.
Mr. Chairman, we’re pursuing these policies because we think it’s in America’s interests. No country benefits more than the United States when there is greater security, democracy, and opportunity in the world. And no country carries a heavier burden when things go badly. Every year we spend hundreds of billions of dollars dealing with the consequences of war, disease, violent ideologies, and vile dictatorships.
Since last testifying before this Committee, I’ve traveled around the globe, covering many miles and many continents. And I can assure you there is a genuine eagerness to partner with the United States again in finding solutions. Our investment in diplomacy and development is a fraction, a tiny fraction of our total national security budget. But I really believe our country will make very few investments that do more, dollar-for-dollar, to create the kind of world we want for our children. By relying on the right people, the right policies, strong partnerships, and sound principles, we can have a century of progress and prosperity led by the United States of America.
And Mr. Chairman, thank you for this opportunity to present the President’s budget request. And I look forward to answering your questions.
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