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Hemisphere. In Latin America, the mistakes of nearly a decade of inattention are now apparent.
And finally, Mr. Secretary, I do hope that we can complete work on the State Department authorization bill consistent with the budget that our President put forward yesterday, a bill containing reform of the Foreign Service, revamping of United States broadcasting programming, while continuing to enhance security at all of our overseas facilities.
Again, we welcome you here. We always do. We always will.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Secretary, with your permission, I apologize for doing this. We will recess, take about probably 9 to 10 minutes to go over and vote and get back here and then we will be delighted and anxious to hear your statement.
Secretary PoWELL. Of course, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Recess for 10 minutes, or as much time as it takes us to get back from voting.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you for your patience, Mr. Secretary and everyone else. We welcome any statement you have to make. Please go forward.
STATEMENT OF HON. COLIN L. POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE, DEPARTMENT OF STATE, WASHINGTON, DC
Secretary POWELL. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I thank you for your cordial welcome. It is a great pleasure to be before the committee again and I do have a prepared statement which I have distributed to the members and the staff and I would like to offer for the record.
The CHAIRMAN. The entire statement will be placed in the record. Please proceed in any way you would like.
Secretary POWELL. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and Senator Helms, I thank you all for your gracious welcome. Sir, I know that you will be sprinting all the way through to the end of this, I have no doubt. But since this is probably my last opportunity to present a State Department budget to you as part of the President's budget, let me take this opportunity, sir, to thank you for all the support that you have provided to the Department, especially to our diplomats who are out there on the front line of offense, as I like to call it and also sir, if I can drift back to my earlier days, thank you for all the support you have provided to the men and women in uniform, our GIs who serve us so well. And Mr. Chairman, thank you for the personal support that you have given me going on some 15 years. I deeply appreciate it, sir. Thank you so much.
Mr. Chairman, I do have a statement that will go beyond just the crises of the day and try to lay out for you some of the opportunities that are out there. You captured it perfectly, Senator Biden, when you said there are seeds of opportunity. There are a lot of great things happening in the world right now. There are a lot of new opportunities that have been provided to us out of the crisis of the 11th of September, and other things that were going on before then that shows the impact that President Bush's leadership is having on the international environment. And as I go through
my presentation and talk about some of these opportunities, I will marry them up with the crises of the day as well.
I want to say a word, though, about something Senator Helms said. And that was the "axis of evil.” And it does have a familiar ring, Senator Helms. It occurred to me as well, the old "evil empire." The fact of the matter is Ronald Reagan was right and the fact of the matter is George Bush is right. And as I go through my presentation, I hope that I will be able to demonstrate why these nations that he identified, and there are others in this category, I would submit, are deserving of this kind of designation.
But, at the same time, it does not mean that we are ready to invade anyone or that we are not willing to engage in dialog. Quite the contrary. But because we are willing to engage in dialog, and we are quite willing to work with friends and allies around the world to deal with these kinds of regimes, there is no reason for us not to identify them for what they are, regimes that are inherently evil. There are people that aren't evil, but the governments that lead them are evil and clearly make this statement. And the more sure we are of our judgment, the better able we will be to lead the international coalition, lead nations who are like-minded in the pursuit of changes in the policies of these nations and it will make for a better and safer world for all of us. So I thank you for that comparison.
I might touch on something you mentioned also, Senator Helms, which is not in my prepared statement, or my reading statement, and that is the detainees at Guantanamo Bay and other detainees held in Afghanistan that may be headed toward Guantanamo Bay. You are quite right, all of us in the administration are united in the view that they are not deserving of prisoner of war status. There is a question that we are examining and it is a difficult question and that is the legal application of the Geneva Convention.
This is a new kind of conflict. It is a new world. But at the same time, we want to make sure that everybody understands that we are a nation of law, abiding by our international obligations. And so we are examining very carefully and have been for a number of days now the exact applicability or lack of applicability to the Geneva Convention to the detainees. This is a decision the President will be making in the very near future.
Whether he finds one way or the other on this issue, the reality is that they will be treated humanely in accordance with the precepts of the convention because that is the kind of people we are. We treat people well. We treat people humanely, and you can be sure that is what's happening with the detainees at Guantanamo and all others who are in the custody of the United States Armed Forces or other parts of the U.S. Government.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to begin my presentation by thanking you again for all of the support that this committee has provided to me and to the Department in my first year of stewardship. And let me begin once again by saying thank you for all the confirmations of appointees that you provided to me; 145 members of my team have passed through the committee's confirmation process: I thank you, especially, for passing out Ambassador Frank Ricciardone to go to the Philippines yesterday evening. That was a very important signal to us.
As many of you will recall, in my first budget testimony last March, I said that I was going to break the mold and instead of just talking about foreign affairs, I wanted to focus on the financial condition of this Department, as well as the morale of the Department and the responsibilities that I have as chief executive officer of the State Department as well as chief diplomat of the United States.
I did that last year and I did do it again this year because the resource challenges for the Department of State had become and still remains a serious impediment for the conduct of the Nation's foreign policy. You heard that testimony last year and you responded and we are very grateful. Because of your understanding and generosity, we have made significant progress. In the remainder of the fiscal year 2002, we will make even more progress in new hires for the Foreign Service. We have made great strides.
We have doubled the number of candidates for the Foreign Service written exam. I'm very proud of the fact that we are communicating the message out to the young people of America that serving your Nation in the Foreign Service is a noble calling and something that all young people should consider as a career choice.
Moreover, I am very pleased that among the new recruits that we have attracted to the Foreign Service exam process, 17 percent of them are minorities. In African-Americans alone, we tripled the number of applicants for taking the exam, and I am very proud about that.
We are doing the same with the Civil Service. We are looking at the Department as a team, not just Civil Service officers, Foreign Service nationals, but all part of one great team that is bound together by trust and commitment to the foreign policy of the administration, the foreign policy of the American people.
We also want to make it a friendlier place to get into. When I took over last year, it was taking 27 months from the date somebody took the Foreign Service exam to get into the Foreign Service. It is now down to less than 1 year. So we have made that kind of progress in 1 year and I hope to make even greater progress to get it down to just a matter of months.
We are also well underway in bringing state-of-the-art information technology to the Department. We have an aggressive deployment schedule for our OpenNet system, which is a way of getting the Internet down on every single desktop in the Department of State. I want everybody to have access to each other and to the Internet, some 30,000 State users worldwide.
And we are also deploying our classified connectivity program at the same time. We want to make sure that we are in the forefront of technology in order to do our job better. In right-sizing our facilities and shaping up and bringing smarter management practices to our overseas building program, we are moving forward briskly as well.
I heard from Congress that we had to do a better job on embassy construction, bringing more modern business practices into the construction and refurbishing of our embassies. And you all know that General Chuck Williams, who I brought on board to do this, is hard at work and is doing a terrific job in making sure that we have a master plan. We do have a master plan that takes us all the way
through 2007 and I am very pleased with the progress that we are making.
I am also very pleased to report that I think the morale of the Department is on the upswing. We have focused on families. We have focused on security. We have focused on putting people back into the ranks. For a couple of years in the 1990's, we did not even recruit people for the Foreign Service. You cannot do that. You put an air bubble in the system. But now as a result of your generosity and as a result of the request that I hope you will respond to that I am making this year for more people for the Foreign Service, another 400 positions, I think that will help to improve morale.
The people in the Foreign Service now know that everybody cares about them. The administration, the Department, and the Congress.
Just as an aside, Senator Biden, I know you and some of your colleagues were in Kabul. I hope you had a chance when you were around our embassy, which is now reopened, to talk to some of those Foreign Service Nationals, an often misunderstood part of our family team. These are those wonderful foreigners who work in our embassies.
In the case of Kabul, after we were driven out and had to leave, those Foreign Service Nationals stayed there and they took care of that building. It got banged up a little bit, but when we went back in a couple of months ago, it was pretty much intact. And one of the funny stories is that in the basement
The CHAIRMAN. Except for the plumbing.
Secretary POWELL. But in the basement of the building, we discovered that all of the automobiles that had been left there were there in perfect condition. All we had to do was charge the batteries and they all started. So through all that period of the Taliban, those cars were there. As our Chargé, Ron Crocker, said to me, we have the finest fleet of 1985 Volkswagen Passats in the world, and there they all were lined up ready for inspection.
The CHAIRMAN. By the way Ron and his wife and that staff not only do the normal duties, they sweep, they physically themselves clean, they wash the dishes. I mean, it is incredible what that job, what your team is doing there.
Secretary POWELL. The team is marvelous, and Mr. Chairman, you all travel a lot. It is reflective of the kind of people we have at all of our missions and stations overseas and that is why it is so important we let them know we believe in them and we trust them.
With regard to our budget last year, I told you that the out years were a source of concern to me and they still are. In fact, given the cost of the war on terrorism, the downturn of the economy and the accompanying shrinkage of revenues I am even more concerned this year than last, but I was confident last year that I could make the case for the State Department and I am confident that I can do it again this year.
We need to keep the momentum going. That is why for fiscal year 2003 you will get no break from me. I am going to focus on resources again this year because it is so critical that we continue to push the organization and conduct of America's foreign policy
into the 21st century. So let me deal with the resources requested using my CEO hat before turning to foreign policy.
The President's request for the Department of State and related agencies for 2003 is $8.1 billion in our operating accounts. These dollars will allow us to continue initiatives to recruit, hire, train and deploy the right work force. It will help us to continue to upgrade and enhance our worldwide security readiness, even more important in light of our success in disrupting and damaging the al-Qaeda terrorist network.
The budget request will include $553 million that builds on the funding provided from the emergency response fund of the increased hiring of security agents and for counterterrorism pro
The budget will also continue to upgrade the security of our overseas facilities. The request includes $1.3 billion to improve physical security, correct serious deficiencies that still exist and provide for security-driven construction of new facilities at high-risk posts around the world.
It will also allow us to continue our program to provide state-ofthe-art information technology to our people everywhere. And it will allow us to build an aggressive public diplomacy effort to eliminate support for terrorists and thus deny them safe haven.
We have got to do a better job with the message we do to the world. The budget includes $518 million for international broadcasting, of which $60 million will be dedicated to the war on terrorism. This funding will enable the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty to continue increased media broadcasts to Afghanistan and the surrounding countries and especially throughout the Middle East.
And let me say a little bit more about that. The terrorist attacks of September 11 underscored the urgency of implementing an effective public diplomacy campaign. Those who abet terror by spreading distortion and hate and inciting others take full advantage of the global news cycle. And we have to do the same thing.
Since September 11, there have been over 2000 media appearances by State Department officials. Our continuous presence in Arabic and regional media by officials with language and media skills has been unprecedented. Our international information Web site on terror is now on line in seven languages. Internet search engines show it is the hottest page on the topic. Our 25-page color publication, "The Network of Terrorism," is now available in 30 languages with different adaptations all around the world, including a full insert in the Arabic edition of Newsweek. "Right content, right format, right audience, right now" describes the philosophy we will be applying to our overseas public diplomacy efforts.
All of these State Department and related agencies programs and initiatives that I have just touched on the surface of are critical to conduct America's foreign policy. And some of you know my feelings, I am quite sure, about the importance or the success of any enterprise of having the right people in the right places. And if I had to put one of these priorities at the very pinnacle of our efforts, it once again would be recruiting.
So as I indicated earlier, we are going to sustain the strong recruiting program we began last year. We want to get to the point