House Armed Services Committee: Opening Statement of Chairman Ike Skelton – Hearing on Security and Stability in Pakistan: Developments in U.S. Policy and Funding

by: Jeffrey Bradford
April 29, 2010

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House Armed Services Committee: Opening Statement of Chairman Ike Skelton - Hearing on Security and Stability in Pakistan: Developments in U.S. Policy and Funding
Ike Skelton, Chairman
April 29, 2010

Washington, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) delivered the following opening statement during today’s hearing on Security and Stability in Pakistan: Developments in U.S. Policy and Funding.

“Good morning. Today we have with us the Honorable Michèle Flournoy, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy at the Department of Defense; Lieutenant General John Paxton, Director for Operations with the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and the Honorable Andrew Shapiro, Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs with the Department of State.

“Thank you all for being with us today to address developments in U.S. policy and funding involving Pakistan. Before we begin, let me remind Members that this is an open hearing that will address unclassified matters. The committee periodically holds classified briefings on Pakistan and will continue to do so, but today’s discussion should solely address unclassified matters.

“Pakistan’s continuing security challenges have serious implications for our national and homeland security; for our efforts in Afghanistan; and for security in the region. In fact, there is no security relationship in the world today more important than the relationship between the United States military and the military of Pakistan. This relationship has experienced its ups and downs over the years, but today it is solid, and it must remain so if we are to truly serve the interests of both nations.

“The relationship is founded on the fact that our national interests align in fundamental ways. It is also sustained, however, by the personal and professional relationships between the two nation’s officer corps. And not least, by the mutual support we provide each other in the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. This committee has authorized a large share of the funding for the support we provide to Pakistan, and we are deeply interested in the logistical and operational support they in turn provide to us. I will speak more in a moment about the importance of the funding requested for our support of Pakistan’s operations.

“I am pleased that the Obama Administration’s strategy for Pakistan is already showing signs of success. Success due, in large part, to the increase in Pakistani security operations which have cleared militants from significant parts of the country. I know I speak for all of my colleagues when I applaud the recent detention of senior Taliban leaders inside Pakistan and the increased cross-border collaboration between Pakistan and Afghanistan. There is growing support among the Pakistani population for our shared counterterrorism objectives.

“However, there is still a long way to go and hard work ahead. ‘Hold’ and ‘build’ capabilities are integral to counterinsurgency operations in Pakistan, but they are not yet developed. Pakistan must have the civilian capacity needed for long-term security and stability in the country. Moreover, there is a need for greater international contributions to the efforts involving Pakistan.

“The Administration’s recent report to Congress on metrics for Pakistan was a disappointment. While the Administration has developed good metrics, and we are assured that you are tracking them, very little of this information has actually been reported to Congress. I trust that this deficiency will be corrected quickly, and not repeated in the future. The committee has previously received excellent briefings from Admiral LeFever on developments in Pakistan, so we know the work that is being done, but this knowledge makes the inadequacies of the recent report that much more disappointing.

“The information we are missing is important because the Administration has requested significant resources from Congress and the American people to continue efforts to support Pakistan. The Administration’s fiscal year 2011 request includes an additional $1.6 billion for CSF and $1.2 billion for the State Department’s Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capabilities Fund. In addition to examining the justifications for these amounts, the committee remains interested in determining what the future is for CSF as we wind down Operation Iraqi Freedom and start to look toward a gradual transition in Operation Enduring Freedom. We must ensure that authorities and resources achieve their intended goals and objectives and that our relationship with Pakistan is sustained.

“Again, thank you all for being with us today. I look forward to your testimony. And I now turn to my friend, the Ranking Member, Buck McKeon, for any comments he may wish to make.”


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