News / Middle East

US Administration Calls on Congress to Continue Foreign Military Aid

Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen (l) and Defense Secretary Robert Gates testify on Capitol Hill, February 16 2011
Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen (l) and Defense Secretary Robert Gates testify on Capitol Hill, February 16 2011
Al Pessin

Senior U.S. defense officials appealed to the Congress Wednesday not to cut military aid programs, saying they contribute to stability around the world, and that the Egyptian military demonstrated that during the recent crisis.  

Members of congress are in a budget-cutting mood, aiming to cut the huge government deficit.  And one of the largest potential targets is defense spending.  President Barack Obama has asked for $671 billion for defense next year, as usual by far the largest part of any president’s discretionary budget.

And within that amount, one of the most attractive targets for some members of Congress is aid to foreign militaries.  On Wednesday, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, urged the Armed Services Committee of the House of Representatives not to cut such programs, and said recent events in Egypt are evidence of their value.

“Foolhardy would it be for us to make hasty judgments about the benefits - tangible and intangible - that are about to be derived from forging strong military relationships overseas, such as the one we enjoy with Egypt," said Admiral Mullen. "Changes to those relationships - in either aid or assistance - ought to be considered only with an abundance of caution and a thorough appreciation for the long view, rather than in the flush of public passion and the urgency to save a buck.

Mullen said the $1.3 billion annual military aid package for Egypt helped make its army what he called a “capable, professional force,” which he said proved to have “incalculable value” in the crisis.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates also praised the Egyptian Army, and linked its performance to its long financial and training relationship with the U.S. military.

“If you ever wanted proof of the value of our military assistance to Egypt over the past 30 years, it has been in the behavior of the Egyptian Army over the past three weeks, and their professionalism in dealing with the kind of situation they had," said Secretary Gates.

U.S. officials have pointed out that past interruptions in U.S. military relations with other countries have often hurt the United States in the long term.  Indonesia is an example frequently cited, where the Congress cut military aid due to human rights violations, and ended up creating a generation of Indonesian military officers who had no relationship with their American counterparts.

More broadly, Secretary Gates warned against abandoning what he called U.S. “global security responsibilities” and said short-sighted thinking could “lead to costlier and more tragic consequences later.”  Gates said members of Congress too often think of the defense budget as “a math problem.”  Rather, he said, it should be viewed in the context of the missions the military has been given, and the threats it may have to respond to in the foreseeable future.  He said that at 19 per cent of the federal budget, defense’s share of spending is nearly as low as it has ever been.  

Admiral Mullen noted that although the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are expected to wind down during the next few years, saving money in the process, the demand for even higher-cost items for the Navy and Air Force may well go up as planners prepare for potential new conventional threats from rising states.  And Secretary Gates added there will also be the need for more spending for security in outer space and cyberspace, where both states and non-state entities pose potential threats.

You May Like

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid