House Appropriators Examine State Department’s Security Assistance Funding

April 16, 2010 By Matt Corso

The President’s FY11 Budget request seeks to make a change in how the U.S. provides security assistance, with oversight of a key program moving from the Defense Department to the State Department.  On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations focused on the Administration’s request for security assistance. Testifying before the Subcommittee from the State Department were David Johnson, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International and Law Enforcement Affairs (testimony); Andrew J. Shapiro, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (testimony); and Daniel Benjamin, Coordinator for Counterterrorism (testimony). 

The President’s FY11 Budget request includes $7.2 billion for security assistance, which includes funding for five accounts: Foreign Military Financing (FMF), International Military Education and Training (IMET), Nonproliferation, Anti-Terrorism, Deming and Related Programs (NADR), Non-UN Peacekeeping Operations, and the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund (PCCF). 

In her opening statement, Chairwoman Lowey said she was pleased the budget request will “reestablish the lines of responsibility at the State Department” over programs such as the PCCF, which has been led by the Pentagon to date. Assistant Secretary Shapiro echoed the Chairwoman’s remarks, saying, “A strong partnership between the State Department and the Department of Defense is critical to addressing the serious international challenges that the United States faces today.” He  iterated that the State Department was working very closely with the Defense Department to transition the PCCF to State. 

Members of the subcommittee in attendance asked questions focused on improving efforts to stop arms smuggling from Egypt into Israel and concerns about recent reports of Syrian arms shipments into Lebanon. Rep. Kirk voiced strong opposition to the Administration’s request for $212 million for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), stating that he believes the agency has been a failure in its efforts to prevent arms smuggling into the region. Rep. McCollum voiced concerns about the imposition of sharia law in parts of Afghanistan and the negative impact this could have on women and girls.