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

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party 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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs