A Quaker Lobby in the Public Interest
FCNL's Questions for Secretary ClintonThe following questions were submitted by FCNL to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee prior to the committee's confirmation hearing for Secretary Clinton:
Militarization of Aid
In a recent Washington Post op-ed, Thomas Schweich, a former Bush Administration State Department official, warned of the increasing “militarization” of U.S. policy and assistance. As you know, the DoD was granted an enormous amount of authorities and funds for reconstruction, development and humanitarian assistance to meet the exigencies of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The DoD has also been provided a number of new authorities and funds to train and equip foreign militaries and security forces of their choosing.
As the DoD has expanded its influence into activities previously led or implemented by U.S. civilian foreign policy agencies, its share of foreign aid has dramatically increased. The Center for Global Development estimates that, at one point, the DoD controlled nearly 22% of U.S. Official development assistance (ODA). In Iraq and Afghanistan, the DoD has been in charge of between 21% and 75% of U.S. reconstruction, development and security assistance, according to a new Congressional Research Service (CRS) report.
I am concerned that the DoD’s expansion of influence into non war-fighting activities confuses roles and responsibilities of U.S. agencies and militarizes our engagement with the world.
As Secretary of State, how will you address this problem? Will you seek to reassert civilian control and State Department authority over foreign aid? What is your position on the 1206 train and equip authority, which enables the DoD to direct military and security assistance – traditionally the State Department’s responsibility?
U.S. Diplomatic Presence
The past five secretaries of state and many members of Congress from both sides of the aisle agree that increased investments in U.S. diplomatic capacities are urgently needed. Secretary of Defense Gates himself has become a champion for increased funding for our civilian agencies. While funds for the Department of State have been bolstered in recent years, the agency stills needs a radical boost in funds for personnel and operations.
A working group set up by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called for a 100% increase in deployable personnel over ten years to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Secretary Rice also launched the idea of Transformational Diplomacy, which, among other things, calls for a greater U.S. diplomatic presence to help mitigate conflict in global hot spots in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and Latin America. While there has been some progress on this initiative, more needs to be done to enhance the U.S. presence in places where conflict is likely or occurring.
What kind of boosts for U.S. diplomatic capacities, including the Foreign Service, would you seek to enact as Secretary of State? Where do you believe an increased U.S. diplomatic presence is most needed? Do you believe a significant increase to the State Department’s budget is warranted, and if so, what funding level do you imagine?
Building Civilian Capacity
In 2004, then Secretary of State Powell established the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) to “lead, coordinate and institutionalize U.S. government civilian capacity to prevent or prepare for post-conflict situations, and to help stabilize and reconstruct societies in transition from conflict or civil strife.” Last year, this office was formally authorized and for the first time, it is likely to receive significant funding when Congress votes on FY 09 appropriations bills in a couple weeks.
While S/CRS was initially created to manage civilian led post-conflict reconstruction efforts, its work is significant to preventing state collapse and helping avert deadly conflict before it erupts. In fact, it’s been estimated that half of all conflicts fall back into violence within five years after a peace agreement. Preventing the eruption or renewal of crises could reduce the burden on the military and U.N. peacekeeping interventions, potentially saving billions of dollars and millions of lives.
What is your opinion of S/CRS? Do you envision a greater role for this office and the State Department in providing assistance to build the capacity of weak states? Would you want to see a conflict response fund established, as has been proposed by others, that would provide flexible funding for use in post-conflict or conflict prevention initiatives?
The President-Elect’s choice for National Security Adviser, General James Jones, said recently “the military alone cannot bring success in Afghanistan.” “There critically needs to be a governing force in Afghanistan that fuses all elements of the effort…that civilian side is missing,” Jones said further.
This mirrors statements by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen. While the President-Elect has committed to a substantial troop surge in Afghanistan, he hasn’t yet outlined a new strategy for achieving peace in the country. Presumably that would be your job, if confirmed by the Senate, Madame Secretary. What is your vision for Afghanistan? Would you as the International Crisis Group and others have advocated, seek to abolish the “lead nation/key partner” approach and enhance the U.N. mission’s responsibility? What needs to be done with Afghanistan’s neighbors? How would you stem the flow of illicit narcotics while not undercutting livelihoods? Lastly, what needs to be done to improve national reconstruction and development in Afghanistan?