State Department Needs Iraq Funding, Gates Says

WASHINGTON, Feb. 17, 2011 — The Unit­ed States’ is at risk of los­ing its gains in Iraq if Con­gress does­n’t ful­ly fund the State Department’s mis­sion there, Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates said here today.
“If the State Depart­ment does­n’t get the mon­ey they’ve request­ed for Iraq, then we real­ly are in the soup on this,” Gates told the Sen­ate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee dur­ing a hear­ing about the Defense Department’s fis­cal 2012 bud­get request.

The mil­i­tary is draw­ing down its mis­sion in Iraq and is sched­uled to turn over lead­er­ship for the U.S. role there to the State Depart­ment in Octo­ber, with a mil­i­tary with­draw­al slat­ed by the end of the year.

While tes­ti­fy­ing about the DOD bud­get, Gates was asked about the tran­si­tion in Iraq. The Unit­ed States has spent bil­lions of dol­lars and lost near­ly 4,000 Amer­i­cans in Iraq since U.S. oper­a­tions began there in 2003, Gates not­ed.

“Here we are at the end game and it reminds me of the final scene in Char­lie Wilson’s War,” the sec­re­tary said, ref­er­enc­ing the motion pic­ture about the late congressman’s efforts to main­tain sup­port in Afghanistan after the Unit­ed States helped defeat the Sovi­et Union there. “We spent $1 bil­lion to dri­ve the Sovi­ets out, but we could­n’t get $1 mil­lion to build schools.” When the Unit­ed States went away, the Tal­iban took over.

If the State Depart­ment does­n’t have “a pres­ence through­out Iraq, then much of what we’ve done to get Iraq where they are is at risk,” the sec­re­tary said.

Already the tran­si­tion process in Iraq is being ham­pered by Con­gress’ fail­ure to pass the fis­cal 2011 Defense and State depart­ment bud­gets, Gates said, leav­ing the depart­ments to exist on con­tin­u­ing res­o­lu­tion mon­ey.

“On a con­tin­u­ing res­o­lu­tion, the State Depart­ment can’t spend mon­ey to get ready right now,” he said. “There are facil­i­ties to be built, peo­ple to be hired… They can’t do any of that, and so we’re going to run out of time.”

Gates said a new State Depart­ment office in Bagh­dad is slat­ed to have 157 per­son­nel to advise, assist and devel­op Iraqi forces and over­see $13 bil­lion in U.S. mil­i­tary equip­ment sales to Iraq.

“I think you’ll find extra­or­di­nary sup­port all across the Depart­ment of Defense” for State’s fund­ing request, he said.

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

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

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

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →