Gates Calls Development Integral to Security

WASHINGTON — Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates was part of a high-pow­ered pan­el dis­cus­sion of the new U.S. glob­al devel­op­ment pol­i­cy here today.

“Devel­op­ment is a lot cheap­er than send­ing sol­diers,” Gates said dur­ing the discussion. 

Gates, Sec­re­tary of State Hillary Rod­ham Clin­ton, Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Tim Gei­th­n­er and Rajiv Shah, direc­tor of the U.S. Agency for Inter­na­tion­al Devel­op­ment, told a meet­ing of the U.S. Glob­al Lead­er­ship Coali­tion that focused devel­op­ment is an inte­gral part of Amer­i­can for­eign and secu­ri­ty policies. 

Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma laid out the pol­i­cy dur­ing his speech to the Unit­ed Nations last week. The idea is that the glob­al devel­op­ment pol­i­cy will be a pil­lar of Amer­i­can pow­er, along­side diplo­ma­cy and defense. The pol­i­cy seeks broad-based eco­nom­ic growth, pro­mo­tion of good gov­er­nance and it seeks the sta­bi­liza­tion of coun­tries emerg­ing from cri­sis or con­flict. At its heart, the pol­i­cy looks to alle­vi­ate pover­ty and advance basic human dignity. 

“We are mak­ing sure that devel­op­ment is an inte­gral part of America’s nation­al secu­ri­ty pol­i­cy and is part of an inte­grat­ed approach that includes devel­op­ment, diplo­ma­cy and defense,” Clin­ton said. 

There are short- and long-term objec­tives to the pol­i­cy, Gates said. In the short run, the Unit­ed States can­not suc­ceed in Iraq and Afghanistan with­out devel­op­ment. “In the fights that we’re in, the civil­ian com­po­nent is absolute­ly crit­i­cal to suc­cess,” he said. “What we’ve dis­cov­ered as we went along – and I think we came to it way late – was that the civil­ian side of the gov­ern­ment in the are­na of devel­op­ment was sig­nif­i­cant­ly under-resourced.” 

When he retired as direc­tor of Cen­tral Intel­li­gence in 1993, Gates said, the Agency for Inter­na­tion­al Devel­op­ment had 16,000 peo­ple. “They were deploy­able, they were expert, they expect­ed to live in harsh con­di­tions – often in frag­ile secu­ri­ty,” he said. “When I came back into gov­ern­ment (in 2006), AID had about 3,000 peo­ple and it was basi­cal­ly a con­tract­ing agency.” 

The U.S. gov­ern­ment needs an inher­ent devel­op­ment capa­bil­i­ty with com­mit­ted pro­fes­sion­als to car­ry out this work, Gates said. 

For the longer term, devel­op­ment poli­cies sup­port what in the mil­i­tary is known as ‘Phase 0,’ the way to pre­vent con­flict and the need to send in troops, Gates said. “The way you do that is through devel­op­ment. Devel­op­ment cre­ates sta­bil­i­ty, it con­tributes to bet­ter gov­er­nance,” he said. “If you are able to do those things, if you are able to do it in a focused and sus­tain­able way, then it may be unnec­es­sary to send soldiers.” 

Still, in some areas and for some crises, it may be nec­es­sary to send mil­i­tary per­son­nel to pro­vide secu­ri­ty, Gates said. “But devel­op­ment and secu­ri­ty are inex­tri­ca­bly linked – you can’t have devel­op­ment with­out secu­ri­ty and you can’t have secu­ri­ty with­out devel­op­ment,” he said. 

Gates out­lined three aspects of the pol­i­cy he thinks are most impor­tant: sus­tain­abil­i­ty; the need for U.S. gov­ern­ment and the coun­try being helped to make choic­es; and part­ner­ing with non-gov­ern­men­tal organizations. 

The mil­i­tary has car­ried the bur­den of devel­op­ment since 2001, but that bur­den is lift­ing, Gates said. “In the past year, the civil­ian rep­re­sen­ta­tion in Afghanistan has tripled,” he said. “We can con­tribute and we do some devel­op­ment work, but it’s not our core com­pe­ten­cy. The truth is, if you talk to a colonel who is a brigade com­man­der in Afghanistan and ask him about the con­tri­bu­tion that a sin­gle civil­ian pro­fes­sion­al lead­ing a (provin­cial recon­struc­tion team) brings, he will tell you they are a giant force multiplier.” 

Hav­ing that civil­ian exper­tise and the kind of peo­ple who look on this work “as a call­ing and a pro­fes­sion,” makes all the dif­fer­ence, Gates said. 

Clin­ton and Gates both crit­i­cized con­gres­sion­al action to strip devel­op­ment mon­ey from the State Depart­ment bud­get. Clin­ton joked that the Defense Depart­ment gets all the mon­ey it asks for, while State has to argue over what would be small change in Defense. Gates com­pared the strip­ping of the mon­ey to the scene in the movie Char­lie Wilson’s War when Con­gress, after spend­ing bil­lions to help the Afghan muja­hed­din toss the Sovi­ets out of Afghanistan, would­n’t spend a mil­lion dol­lars for schools. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →