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

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs