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DOD, State Department officials present budgets to Senate

WASHINGTON -- Concepts of security are changing, and it is just as important to invest in diplomacy and development as it is to invest in service members and their equipment, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III told the Senate Budget Committee March 10.

Mr. Lynn and Deputy Secretary of State for Management Tom Nides testified together before the committee.

It marked the first time the two departments had testified about their budgets together, and it underscored the strong partnership that exists between them, Mr. Lynn said.

"We at DOD view the security assistance activity as a vital instrument that can prevent or attenuate instabilities that otherwise might draw the United States into conflicts," Mr. Lynn said. "If properly applied in a timely manner, security assistance is likely to be more decisive and less costly than direct military intervention after a problem has become a crisis. Our cooperation with the State Department is, therefore, an important component of our national defense."

Mr. Lynn called on the senators to fully fund the State Department's fiscal 2012 budget request of $59.5 billion. The request includes funding for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The two men testifying together mirrored what happens daily around the world, as Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines often work side-by-side with State Department and USAID personnel.

"We at the Department of Defense strongly believe that a full and robust funding of our foreign policy operations is an effective means of meeting our national security," Mr. Lynn said. "Indeed, if we promote security and responsible governance as crises are brewing, we will be able to avoid later in the crisis the deployment of U.S. military forces."

The Defense and State departments have complementary skills, Mr. Lynn said.

"We want to support the partnership," he said. "We believe the mix of competencies between the State Department, the Department of Defense, as well as USAID, is what is needed to address the kinds of security crises, the kinds of instabilities, the kinds of conflicts that spark up around the world, and to do those at the earliest possible warning."

The deputy defense secretary said that officials with the Defense and State departments and USAID are working together on counternarcotics programs and in training of Afghan law enforcement officers.

"We propose, with congressional concurrence, an Afghan infrastructure program that will meld the DOD responsibilities for counterinsurgency with (USAID) and State responsibilities for development (in a way) that is more integrated than in the past," Mr. Lynn said.

The plan, he said, integrates the long-term development efforts in Afghanistan with dealing with immediate threats by way of the military campaign in the country.

State and Defense officials work together in other areas of the world, Mr. Lynn said, noting DOD officials work with State officials on delivering security assistance wherever U.S. interests are at stake.

"We've developed over the past several years some joint authorities, some dual-key cooperative authorities, such as the Pakistan counterinsurgency capability fund," Mr. Lynn said.

The agencies work closely on authorities to train and equip partner nations in the counterterrorism fight, he said.

"This year, we're requesting funding for an Office of Security Cooperation in Iraq," Mr. Lynn said. "This would be a remaining DOD presence as we transition to a State Department lead in Iraq."

In Mexico, the two departments jointly address surveillance, interdiction, air and maritime operations and planning through a variety of initiatives, Mr. Lynn said.

The departments also work to train partner militaries in more than 100 countries through programs such as the International Military Education and Training program, and the newly proposed Global Peace Operations initiative.

"For fiscal 2012, we're also requesting a new, path-breaking program which would involve pooled funding, where State and DOD officials would contribute to a fund where we would seek to anticipate security issues wherever they are in Africa, Latin America (or) Asia, and to jointly target assistance for development funding for economic assistance and security assistance in an integrated way in an effort to anticipate growing crises and reduce them before they get started," Mr. Lynn said.

The deputy secretary also spoke strongly in favor of the State Department's plan to switch to receiving its funding via the Overseas Contingency Operations fund.