Ted Kaufman - United States Senator for Delaware

Kaufman Supports Wartime and Disaster Relief Supplemental Spending Bill

Senator voices support for counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq

May 27, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Ted Kaufman (D-DE), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, took to the Senate floor this week to voice his support for the Fiscal Year 2010 supplemental spending bill, highlighting provisions he considers critical to U.S. interests in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, as well as Haiti.  

“This bill reinforces our foreign policy goals and secures our interests at home and abroad. It also fully funds our Armed Forces that are deployed in harms way, and supports the civilian diplomatic and development initiatives that are necessary to our efforts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq,” said Kaufman, who made his third trip to all three countries in March.
 
Kaufman also applauded the inclusion of $3 million for the Voice of America’s (VOA) Creole-language broadcasting in Haiti.  “The VOA Creole broadcasts include public service announcements from U.S. Government agencies, which have been so valuable in previous crises and have helped Haitians find loved ones, shelter, medical assistance, and aid, in the aftermath of the earthquake.”

He also voted against an amendment proposed by Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) to impose a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan. Kaufman stated, "President Obama has announced that we will begin a conditions-based withdrawal from Afghanistan in July 2011. I believe forcing a timetable for an earlier withdrawal would undermine our chances for success. I am confident that we are making progress with the counterinsurgency strategy of shape, clear, hold, and build so we can transfer authority to the Afghans."

Full remarks, as prepared for delivery:

I rise today to voice my support for H.R. 4899, the FY 2010 Supplemental Appropriations Act. This bill is critical to our future success in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and also delivers much needed humanitarian aid to Haiti. Today, I would like to highlight how some of the provisions in this legislation support U.S. foreign policy goals, strengthen our military and civilian efforts, and defend against security threats around the world.
 
This bill does a great deal to support our ongoing counterinsurgency effort in Afghanistan.  As General McChrystal has said, counterinsurgency is not an “event”, but rather, a “process,” and this supplemental provides the essential resources needed at each stage of the process.
 
First, the military must “shape and clear” in a military operation.  The President made the bold decision in December that an additional 30,000 troops were needed in Afghanistan, and this bill fully funds the additional deployment.  As we saw earlier this year in Marjah and will witness this summer in Kandahar, the U.S. military is partnering with the Afghan Security Forces for the ”clear and hold” portion of counterinsurgency, and I am pleased this bill provides $2.6 billion to train and equip the Afghan Security Forces.  
 
Next we must “build,” which requires a unity of effort between the military and civilian agencies, and which is why this bill provides $1.48 billion to the State Department for continued reconstruction and law enforcement programs.  As I have stated before, our goal is to transfer authority to the Afghans. For this, we must continue to train and mentor the Afghan Army, police, and civil servants, so they may assume greater responsibility to provide security and effective governance themselves.
 
On a recent trip to Afghanistan in March, I saw first-hand the improvements that have been made with the Afghan National Army (ANA) training program.  Thanks to a recent pay raise for ANA recruits and intensified partnering with U.S. forces, we are on track to exceed the stated goal of 134,000 trained ANA by October. The additional resources in this bill will help ensure we stay on this positive trajectory for ANA training and mobilization.  
 
Unfortunately, the same progress has not been realized in training the Afghan National Police (ANP).  A lack of oversight, coupled with high rates of attrition, drug use, illiteracy, and widespread corruption have severely undermined our efforts to establish a credible police force.  I was appalled to learn that we have spent $6 billion on training the ANP in the past nine years with little to show for it.  I believe the administration is now fully aware of the problems that have become endemic to this program, and is focused on eliminating them in the months ahead.  Funding in this bill will support efforts to get police training back on track, which is one of the most critical elements of our strategy in the region.
 
This bill also does a great deal to reinforce our partnership with Pakistan.  After traveling three times in the past year to Pakistan, I cannot underscore enough the importance and strategic value of this partnership to our shared fight against violent extremism.  This resonates at home today in the wake of the failed Times Square bombing and Faisal Shahzad’s alleged ties to Pakistani extremists in Waziristan. In light of mutual security interests, we must continue to nurture our relationship with the Pakistani people and military, demonstrating our enduring long-term interest in the region.  
 
Last year, Congress validated that commitment in the form of a five-year, $7.5 billion economic aid package, otherwise known as the Kerry-Lugar bill, and in the past two years, we have invested over $1 billion in military aid in the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund. This bill reaffirms these commitments with $259 million to support ongoing programs to strengthen democratic governance, rule of law, and social and economic services to improve the lives of the people of Pakistan.  Of the total, $10 million would be provided for the Pakistani Civilian Assistance Program, $5 million for human rights programs, and $1.5 million to facilitate the implementation and oversight of USAID and Department of State programs.  
 
This bill also provides $50 million for the purchase of helicopters for Pakistan, which will be used to combat terrorist groups and other extremist organizations.  I am hopeful that this level of commitment will help persuade the Pakistanis to redouble their efforts to address security concerns along the border with Afghanistan.  I cannot emphasize enough the importance of Pakistan’s contribution to the security situation in the tribal areas, especially as it pertains to targeting the Afghan Taliban – not just the Pakistani Taliban – including the Haqqani Network and Quetta Shura.
 
This bill also helps ensure a stable and secure Iraq in preparation for the drawdown of U.S. forces and complete withdrawal of combat troops by September.  During my recent visit to the region, I was struck by the helicopter view of Baghdad at night.  The glimmering lights of the city and the traffic looked similar to any city in the U.S.  That sight illustrated the progress that has been made in Iraq and the enduring mutual commitment and partnership that has been created in recent years.  As a means of reinforcing this commitment and continued progress, this bill provides an additional $1 billion for the Iraqi Security Forces Fund.  It also provides $650 million in additional economic and security assistance for Iraq, which includes $450 million for the Iraqi police program.  
 
These measures support the security framework in Iraq, which will provide Iraq’s leaders with the stability they need to form a new government.  With the election recount recently completed, the groundwork has been laid for Iraqi elected officials to work toward a common goal of establishing a government representative of the people of Iraq. While a functioning government should not just be cobbled together in the interest of time, it is important to note that a prolonged delay could create a power vacuum that may exacerbate ongoing security concerns.  This bill reinforces and continues to build upon the security infrastructure that the Iraqis have created, and the goal of building and sustaining past success.
 
Finally, I am grateful that this bill includes $3 million for the Voice of America’s (VOA) Creole-language broadcasting in Haiti.  The VOA Creole broadcasts include public service announcements from U.S. Government agencies, which have been so valuable in previous crises and have helped Haitians find loved ones, shelter, medical assistance, and aid, in the aftermath of the earthquake.  Since then, it has provided a vital service in helping them to find essential resources and assistance.  VOA runs public safety and relief supply updates, as well as a call-in line to broadcast messages from families and friends of the injured and missing.  The additional resources in this bill will help to sustain these critical public services, and I commend the VOA for its commitment and its great contribution to disaster relief globally, and especially in Haiti.
 
This bill reinforces our foreign policy goals and secures our interests at home and abroad.  It also fully funds our Armed Forces that are deployed in harms way, and supports the civilian diplomatic and development initiatives that are necessary to our efforts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq.  I thank the Leadership for moving this bill forward, and call on my colleagues to join me in supporting the Supplemental.  Thank you.
  

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