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Gordon Adams Testifies Before House Appropriations Subcommittee March 10, 2009

Posted by Molly in Briefing.
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Stimson Center Distinguished Fellow Gordon Adams testified on Thursday, March 5 before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Projects on the growing role of the Defense Department in implementing security and foreign assistance programs.  Read his testimony here.

Excerpts from Adams’ testimony after the break.  See additional coverage on Devex: Defense and Development: Untangle, Yes – but How?

Read Adams’ full testimony here.

After decades of advising foreign governments and militaries to restrict their uniformed forces to their proper role in providing military security for the nation, we are on the verge of sending a signal to the world that it is appropriate for our military to expand their missions into roles and responsibilities that properly belong in the civilian sector.

The trend I am discussing has come about in part because of the expansion of our military missions into new countries and new responsibilities. It also reflects a fundamental weakness in our civilian institutions. During the past 30 years, our civilian diplomatic and foreign assistance institutions of statecraft – primarily the State Department and USAID – have lost a good deal of their capacity.

To the degree that we further empower military institutions for planning security assistance and nation-building programs, we further dis-empower our civilian agencies to carry out such programs. Although civilian staffing and budgets have grown over the past eight years, much of that increase has gone to the Millennium Challenge Corporation, HIV-AIDS and infectious disease programs, and Diplomatic Security. Staff and funding for core foreign assistance, development, and new post-conflict responsibilities have not grown. Leaving these missions to the military reinforces the notion that the civilian agencies are not adequate to the task, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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