[House Hearing, 112 Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
PRESERVING PROGRESS: TRANSITIONING
AUTHORITY AND IMPLEMENTING THE STRATEGIC
FRAMEWORK IN IRAQ, PART 1
THE MIDDLE EAST AND SOUTH ASIA
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED TWELFTH CONGRESS
JUNE 1, 2011
Serial No. 112-29
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COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida, Chairman
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
DAN BURTON, Indiana GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York
ELTON GALLEGLY, California ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American
DANA ROHRABACHER, California Samoa
DONALD A. MANZULLO, Illinois DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California BRAD SHERMAN, California
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York
RON PAUL, Texas GREGORY W. MEEKS, New York
MIKE PENCE, Indiana RUSS CARNAHAN, Missouri
JOE WILSON, South Carolina ALBIO SIRES, New Jersey
CONNIE MACK, Florida GERALD E. CONNOLLY, Virginia
JEFF FORTENBERRY, Nebraska THEODORE E. DEUTCH, Florida
MICHAEL T. McCAUL, Texas DENNIS CARDOZA, California
TED POE, Texas BEN CHANDLER, Kentucky
GUS M. BILIRAKIS, Florida BRIAN HIGGINS, New York
JEAN SCHMIDT, Ohio ALLYSON SCHWARTZ, Pennsylvania
BILL JOHNSON, Ohio CHRISTOPHER S. MURPHY, Connecticut
DAVID RIVERA, Florida FREDERICA WILSON, Florida
MIKE KELLY, Pennsylvania KAREN BASS, California
TIM GRIFFIN, Arkansas WILLIAM KEATING, Massachusetts
TOM MARINO, Pennsylvania DAVID CICILLINE, Rhode Island
JEFF DUNCAN, South Carolina
ANN MARIE BUERKLE, New York
RENEE ELLMERS, North Carolina
Yleem D.S. Poblete, Staff Director
Richard J. Kessler, Democratic Staff Director
Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio, Chairman
MIKE PENCE, Indiana GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York
JOE WILSON, South Carolina GERALD E. CONNOLLY, Virginia
JEFF FORTENBERRY, Nebraska THEODORE E. DEUTCH, Florida
ANN MARIE BUERKLE, New York DENNIS CARDOZA, California
RENEE ELLMERS, North Carolina BEN CHANDLER, Kentucky
DANA ROHRABACHER, California BRIAN HIGGINS, New York
DONALD A. MANZULLO, Illinois ALLYSON SCHWARTZ, Pennsylvania
CONNIE MACK, Florida CHRISTOPHER S. MURPHY, Connecticut
MICHAEL T. McCAUL, Texas WILLIAM KEATING, Massachusetts
GUS M. BILIRAKIS, Florida
TOM MARINO, Pennsylvania
C O N T E N T S
Ms. Patricia M. Haslach, Iraq Transition Coordinator, U.S.
Department of State............................................ 5
Colin Kahl, Ph.D., Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Middle
East, U.S. Department of Defense............................... 7
Mr. Christopher Crowley, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator
for the Middle East Bureau, U.S. Agency for International
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
Ms. Patricia M. Haslach, Colin Kahl, Ph.D., and Mr. Christopher
Crowley: Prepared statement.................................... 11
Hearing notice................................................... 28
Hearing minutes.................................................. 29
PRESERVING PROGRESS: TRANSITIONING AUTHORITY AND IMPLEMENTING THE
STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK IN IRAQ, PART 1
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 1, 2011
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on the Middle East
and South Asia,
Committee on Foreign Affairs,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:30 p.m., in
room 2172 Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Steve Chabot
(chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. Chabot. Good afternoon, the Subcommittee on the Middle
East and South Asia will come to order.
I want to warn folks that we are probably going to be
interrupted by votes here in a relatively short period of time,
at which time we will probably be over there for \1/2\ hour to
perhaps 40 minutes. But we will come back as quickly as we can.
Other members will be coming in, so that they can avoid my
opening statement probably, but they will get here.
I want to welcome all of my colleagues to this hearing of
the subcommittee. This hearing was called to assess the Obama
administration's Iraq policy as we approach the official
transition from Department of Defense to the Department of
June 1 will mark approximately 6 months until all U.S.
troops--combat or otherwise--are scheduled to leave Iraq. As of
January 1, 2012, it will fall to the State Department to
oversee Iraq's continued progress in the implementation of the
goals outlined in the Strategic Framework Agreement.
Having just returned from Iraq a little over a week ago, I
appreciate how critical the work our military and our State
Department does as we continue to carry out the mission there.
In conjunction with the Iraqi partners on the ground, they have
helped set Iraq on the course to become a stable, secure, and
democratic country that respects human rights. But as we look
with favor upon these hard-won gains, we must remember that we
are not there yet.
Earlier today Baghdad suffered both a car bomb and a
roadside bomb, wounding 16 people so far. Iraq's recent
progress is, regrettably, as precarious as it is positive. It
is far too easy to look at where we are today and forget where
we were just several years ago. And although the
administration's plan to transition the mission is well
intentioned, I am concerned that it is neither well timed nor,
unfortunately, well reasoned in a number of areas.
Our brave men and women in uniform have fought tirelessly
for over 8 years to get us to where we are today. Thousands of
lives have been lost. Billions of dollars have been spent. The
worst possible outcome for us today would be to withdraw before
Iraq is ready to stand on its own. And there is reason to
question Iraq's readiness.
In January 2011, U.S. forces-Iraqi reported to the Special
Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction that,
``The U.S. faces the choice of making additional
investments to fill essential gaps in Iraqi security
forces, capabilities, or accept the risk that they will
fall short of being able to fully secure Iraq from
internal and external threats by the time U.S. forces
department, in accordance with the security
Echoing those concerns, Lieutenant General Babakir Zebari,
General Chief of Staff of the Iraqi army, acknowledged that the
Iraqi army still depends on U.S. forces for the protection of
its airspace and borders.
In 2010, as the U.S. was ending its combat mission, Zebari
stated that ``If I were asked about the withdrawal, I would say
to politicians, `The U.S. Army must stay until the Iraqi army
is fully ready in 2020.' ''
At its core, the discussion about transition breaks down to
two critical questions. Does the State Department have the
capability to succeed? And, if not, should the U.S. military
remain in Iraq in some meaningful capacity to help consolidate
gains? Many in both the U.S. and the Iraqi Government doubt
that the Iraqi security forces will be prepared to defend the
Iraqi state from internal and external threats by December
2011, just the end of this year.
And although it may be politically expedient, both in the
U.S. and in Iraq, to seek withdrawal by that date, it may not
be sound strategy. It is an undeniable fact that our military
forces continue to play a vital role on the ground in Iraq. By
continuing to serve as the guarantor of Iraq's security and
stability, we allow its democratic institutions to grow and to
And while there are many conflicts that draw our attention,
America and this Congress must remain dedicated to achieving
success in Iraq. It is in America's interest, and it is in
Iraq's interest, to see a democratic Iraq prosper and flourish.
That is our strategic objective, and we should do everything in
our power to ensure it happens, including, if need be, by
extending our military presence on the ground.
More and more, Iraqi political and military figures have
come out in support of extending the deadline to withdraw. But
as the check comes, no one wants to be left paying the bill.
The domestic political cost in Iraq of asking the U.S. to stay
has left Iraq's leadership pointing fingers and passing bucks,
and I saw that firsthand when I was in Iraq just last week.
This cannot be where it ends. Responsible leadership,
whether in the U.S. or in Iraq, cannot sacrifice hard-earned
strategic achievements for short-term political gains. We--
Iraqis and Americans--must not allow that to happen.
This hearing is meant to be an opportunity for members to
ask the administration what it seeks to achieve in Iraq and how
it plans to achieve it. However, our goal today should not
simply be to judge up or down the plans presented before us. It
should be to find that policy which will get us to where we
need to go.
The United States has spent nearly a decade securing and
helping to build the foundation of a prosperous and democratic
Iraq. A premature withdrawal risks squandering those gains. It
would be a failure of colossal proportions to seize defeat from
the jaws of victory, and yet that is precisely what I fear may
come to pass.
And I will now yield to the gentleman from New York, the
distinguished gentleman, Mr. Ackerman, former chair and now the
ranking members of the committee, for 5 minutes.
Mr. Ackerman. I thank the chairman. Today's hearing is,
indeed, a very important one. At a hearing on this same subject
last November, I suggested that most Americans and most Members
of Congress think that we are basically done in Iraq. Our
combat troops have left Iraq last year, and the rest of our
50,000 troops are coming home at the end of this year.
As a political matter, Iraq is yesterday's problem and
yesterday's news. The only problem with this view is that it is
completely at odds with both reality in Iraq and the
administration's plans for it.
As this committee heard last year from Assistant Secretary
of State Jeffrey Feldman, American assistance is intended to
``help Iraq meet its needs, stand up its economy, and cement
its democratic system over the next 5 to 7 years.'' I will
repeat what he said--5 to 7 years.
To do all of this assisting and stand upping and cementing,
the U.S. mission in Iraq will be spending billions of dollars,
operating five major diplomatic facilities, and employing as
many as 13,000 people who will be operating a fleet of military
vehicles and helicopters, and maybe engage in such diplomatic
operations as ``counter, rocket, artillery, and mortar
notification, and neutralization response.''
At that same hearing, Deputy Assistant Secretary Kahl
warned that ``We are now at a point where the strategic
dividends of our sacrifice are within reach, as long as we take
the proper steps to consolidate them.'' Meaning what? He said,
``The long-term strategic partnership with Iraq, based on our
mutual interest and mutual respect.''
Secretary Feldman emphasized essentially the same point,
noting that ``The strategic importance of this moment cannot be
overemphasized.'' I thought then that we had a major problem. I
am now convinced that we have a total disconnect.
While the administration is planning for an Iraq that is
going to be continuing its recovery and reconstruction with the
aid of a multi-billion dollar American presence, the public and
Congress aren't just moving swiftly to the exits on this, they
have actually left the building.
If there is one lesson the Obama administration can't seem
to learn is it has to be--that nothing explains itself, and
nothing sells itself. If the administration thought last year
that it was vital to our national security interest to spend
billions of dollars over the next 5 to 7 years to establish a
strategic partnership with Iraq, then a vastly more robust
effort to sell this policy to the Congress and the American
people was necessary.
With all due respect to our distinguished witnesses--and
they are, indeed, distinguished--this panel at this time will
simply not be enough.
Personally, I would prefer that we do not repeat our dismal
performance in Afghanistan, where after driving out the
Soviets, and then driving out the Taliban, we, as a nation,
abandoned our prior allies to their fates. It was short-sighted
and produced exactly the bad results that were anticipated at
Now it looks like we are going to make the very same
mistake in Iraq. All the blood, all the treasure, and all the
national trauma, and where are we? We are on our way, at the
very moment when a smaller, smarter investment would finally
give us some hope of salvaging some foreign policy benefit,
from the horribly misbegotten war in Iraq, but the
administration is going to have to sell a lot of members on an
outgoing effort that those members do not want, and they don't
believe we need, and that they have been counting the days
until it finished.
The collision of our expectations and the administration's
policy is not going to be pretty. And with that, Mr. Chairman,
I would yield back my time.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you. The gentleman yields back.
I think the two votes have started on the floor, although I
didn't hear bells go off. But we can probably get through the
introductions at least before we go over for votes. Two votes?
Two ballots, okay.
And we will begin with the Ambassador, Ambassador Patricia
M. Haslach. I have been told it rhymes with a very popular
insurance company commercial, but I am not going to do my
imitation, but that is the correct pronunciation? Excellent.
And she currently serves as the State Department's coordinator
for Iraq transition in the Office of the Deputy Secretary for
Management and Resources.
In this capacity, she is responsible for coordinating all
State Department-Washington aspects of the U.S. transition from
military to civilian operations in Iraq, working closely with
our Ambassador to Iraq, James Jeffrey, whom we spent
considerable time with when we were there, the U.S. military,
and other U.S. Government departments and agencies.
Ambassador Haslach has previously served as deputy
coordinator for diplomacy for the U.S. Global Hunger and Food
Security Initiative, assistant chief of mission for assistance
transition at the U.S. Embassy-Baghdad, director of the Office
of Afghanistan, Ambassador to the Asia Pacific Economic
Cooperation Forum, APEC, the U.S. Ambassador to the Lao
People's Democratic Republic.
Ambassador Haslach received her M.A. in International
Affairs from Columbia University, and her B.A. from Gonzaga
University, and we appreciate you being here this afternoon.
And I will introduce the other two witnesses. Secondly--I
have been informed that we actually have 5 minutes to go on the
vote, in which case we will save the introduction of the next
two witnesses until we come back.
So we are in recess here briefly, and we will be back as
soon as the votes are over. We are in recess.
Mr. Chabot. The committee will be back in order.
I am going to go on with the introductions now. I think
next we had Dr. Colin Kahl, who currently serves as the Deputy
Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East. Dr. Kahl is
on a 3-year public service leave from Georgetown University,
where is a professor in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign
Prior to joining the Defense Department, he was a senior
fellow at the Center for a New American Security, and served as
coordinator for the Obama campaign's Iraq Policy Expert Group.
In 2005/2006, he was a Council on Foreign Relations fellow,
working at the Department of Defense on counterinsurgency,
counterterrorism and stability operations.
He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia
University, and his B.A. in Political Science from the
University of Michigan.
And we welcome both of you here.
And last, but not least, is Christopher D. Crowley, who
currently serves as the Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator
for the Middle East, from 2007 to 2010. Prior to this
assignment, he was USAID mission director in Iraq. A career
minister in the Senior Foreign Service, Mr. Crowley joined
USAID in 1971 as an assistant area development advisor in
Vietnam. He has since served as director of USAID's regional
mission for Central Asia, director of the program office in
USAID-India, and deputy mission director in Egypt.
In 1994, following the Oslo Accords, Mr. Crowley became the
first mission director for the West Bank and Gaza. Mr. Crowley
holds a bachelor of science degree in Physical Sciences from
The Ohio State University, a master's degree in International
Relations from the University of Pennsylvania, and a master's
degree in public administration from The John F. Kennedy School
of Government at Harvard University.
And we welcome all three of you here this afternoon. And,
as you know, we operate under the 5-minute rule, so if you
could keep your remarks to that time. There is a lighting
device on the table that will warn you. When the red light
comes on, that is--your time has concluded. And then, we will
ask questions for the same period of time.
And without further ado, we will, again, welcome you, Ms.
STATEMENT OF MS. PATRICIA M. HASLACH, IRAQ TRANSITION
COORDINATOR, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Ambassador Haslach. Thank you, Chairman Chabot,
Representative Ackerman, and distinguished committee members.
Thank you for holding this hearing and inviting me to
appear before you today to discuss the issues facing Iraq, and
the challenges associated with the United States' transition
from a military-led to a civilian-led presence.
I would like to take this time to submit our joint written
testimony for the record.
We have significant national interests in Iraq that require
the continuation of strong U.S. support to ensure that we do
not lose the fragile progress that has been achieved through
tremendous sacrifice. We face a critical moment that will
determine whether we achieve our goal of a sovereign, stable,
and self-reliant Iraq.
We must recognize that the ripples of Iraq's success also
extend beyond Iraq and the United States. Iraq is poised to
become a political and economic leader in the Middle East
region. As the Middle East faces steep challenges and an
unknown future, Iraq must take center stage as a beacon of
democracy and an anchor of U.S. support for the region.
Countries in the region and around the world look to our
efforts in Iraq to assess the sincerity with which we approach
the Arab world, and the people of the Middle East and North
Africa look to Iraq as an example of what is possible in the
region--a democracy whose government is elected by the people
and whose purpose is to serve the people.
The transition that we are executing in Iraq is vital to
our national interest. To pursue and strengthen these
interests, we must strengthen our long-term partnership with
the Government of Iraq and the Iraqi people. The Strategic
Framework Agreement--an agreement signed between the United
States and Iraq--serves as the framework and road map in
building these bilateral ties.
In the Government of Iraq, we have found determined
partners who are committed to the shared vision. Prime Minister
Maliki and other Iraqi leaders consider the agreement to be the
foundation of U.S. and Iraqi relations. With the strong support
from the Iraqis, we look forward to building a long-term
partnership that will strengthen Iraq, secure the national
interests of both countries, and provide stability to the
The time is right for this transition. The security
situation, while still a concern, continues to improve,
providing an opening through which the people of Iraq can focus
not on fear of violence, but on the prospects of rebuilding a
strong economy and forming a government that is more efficient,
less corrupt, and committed to improving the nation. The people
of Iraq are eager to build a strong Iraq, and we must be there
to support them.
What the State Department and our partners around the
interagency are trying to accomplish with this transition is at
the forefront of diplomacy. Its success will not only determine
the fate of an emerging friend and ally, but will shape the
future of U.S. engagements in the Middle East and in conflict
and post-conflict areas around the world.
This transition is one of the most important international
endeavors that the United States is undertaking, and its
success or failure will have global implications. We cannot
We will do this always mindful of the costs it requires the
American people to bear. The United States has sacrificed much
to reach this critical moment. Now is not the time to hesitate
or to change course. We are in mid-stride and must maintain our
determination and momentum to secure our footing and our
The transition that we are implementing now began years
ago, and it is critical that we follow through. The strategy
that we will continue to pursue is the best balance between
what is necessary to achieve our interests and what we can
honestly call upon the American people to support.
It is because of the tremendous sacrifice that Americans
have made in Iraq that we must continue our critical missions
there. And through the historic Strategic Framework Agreement
made between the United States and Iraq, we find that our two
countries, who for years clashed as adversaries, now share a
common goal--a sovereign and prosperous Iraq that is a strong
ally of the United States, and is committed to and capable of
ensuring security, providing services, and addressing the will
of the Iraqi people. Now is the time to work together to
achieve that goal.
In closing, I would like to thank Dr. Kahl and Mr. Crowley
and their staffs, Ambassador Jeffrey and his Embassy, General
Austin and his troops, and the many offices and bureaus
throughout the Department of State, and other U.S. departments
and agencies, that are involved in this transition.
Planning and implementing this transition has required the
tireless efforts of our top men and women, many of them risking
their lives to ensure that everything we have been fighting and
working for over the last decade is not lost.
Thank you again for this opportunity to appear before you
today. I would be happy to answer any questions the committee
Mr. Chabot. Thank you, Madam Ambassador.
Dr. Kahl, you are recognized for 5 minutes.
STATEMENT OF COLIN KAHL, PH.D., DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR
THE MIDDLE EAST, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Mr. Kahl. Thank you. Chairman Chabot, Representative
Ackerman, and distinguished committee members, I appreciate the
opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the issues
and challenges associated with the United States transition
from a military- to a civilian-led effort in Iraq.
Ambassador Haslach has discussed the overall U.S. policy
with regard to transition, so I will focus on the security
situation in Iraq, which is enabling our responsible drawdown,
and then say a few words about our support--of the support from
the Defense Department providing to the State Department to
help set them up for success.
I know members have concerns about the readiness of the
Iraqi Government to provide security in Iraq as U.S. forces
draw down between now and December 2011 in compliance with the
U.S.-Iraq security agreement. Indeed, terrorist and militia
attacks continue to pose a threat.
In mid-May, for example, an attack consisting of three
coordinated car bombs in Kirkuk targeted Iraqi policemen and
killed over two dozen people. And, on May 22, al-Qaeda in Iraq
conducted a series of coordinated attacks in Baghdad that left
14 dead and dozens wounded.
Iraq still faces dangerous and determined enemies, but it
is important to emphasize that these enemies do not have the
support of the Iraqi people, and these attacks have not sparked
a return to widespread insurgency or communal civil war.
Moreover, despite these recent attacks, the underlying security
situation remains strong, with attack levels remaining near
their lowest levels of the entire war for the last 2 years.
This is particularly remarkable considering that the Iraqi
security forces have assumed primary responsibility for
security for the entire country, and our U.S. force numbers
have declined from roughly 144,000 when the Obama
administration came into office in January 2009 to roughly
Since January 1, 2009, the Iraqi security forces have been
in the lead on security operations--a role that they have more
capably embraced with each passing month. On September 1st of
last year, we made the transition from Operation Iraqi Freedom
to Operation New Dawn and drew down to below 50,000 U.S.
troops, fulfilling President Obama's commitment to end the
combat mission in Iraq and further cementing the Iraqis' lead
While the United States continues to provides vital support
to the Iraqi security forces, including training, equipping,
mentoring, advising, and providing certain critical technical
enablers, we need to be clear that the Iraqis are very much in
charge, and they simply no longer need such large numbers of
U.S. forces to help them keep the violence in check.
The Iraqi security forces have also remained professional,
despite the prolonged period of uncertainty associated with
Iraq's government formation negotiations. Indeed, it remains
unclear when the Iraqis will name a minister of defense or
minister of interior. General Austin and Ambassador Jeffrey
continue to engage Prime Minister Maliki and other Iraqi
leaders to emphasize the importance of reaching finality on
Beyond our continuing efforts to build the Iraqi security
forces and draw down our forces, the Department of Defense and
other agencies and offices have also undertaken unprecedented
levels of coordination and planning for the transition in Iraq.
DoD has an excellent working relationship with the State
Department, and we are working together at all levels to
achieve a successful transition.
As one would expect with a transition of this scope and
complexity, challenges exist, but rest assured that DoD is
doing everything it can to help the State Department achieve
success. To facilitate the whole of government coordination, in
November of last year DoD embedded a staff officer within the
transition team in State to serve as a liaison and work day-to-
DoD and State have also established an ad hoc senior
executive steering group for coordination and synchronization.
This group is co-chaired at the deputy assistant secretary
level and meets bi-weekly to review status and progress of the
eight subordinate functional areas--supply chain, equipment,
contracting, medical, facilities and construction, information
technology, security, and aviation.
Additionally, to expeditiously respond to requests for
equipment, a combined Office of Secretary of Defense/Joint
Staff equipping board was established in early January 2011.
The process consists of working-level representatives from all
the services, joint staff, and OSD, which feeds recommendations
for sourcing of equipment to the General Officer/Flag Officer
Board, chaired by the Joint Staff, JFOR, for approval.
Currently, in Iraq, a State and DoD team has been
established in each of the remaining locations to address
practical solutions to issues resulting from the downsizing of
the site footprint. The transition of these sites is not a
turn-key operation, and each presents unique challenges.
For example, each team needs to establish new perimeters
and move T-walls, resite and move containerized housing units,
reroute utilities, and, where needed, undertake general site
preparation. DoD will also provide State a number of specific
functions on a reimbursable basis. For example, Bobcat 4 will
be retained to provide general base operation and life support.
In conclusion, I want to emphasize that our continued
engagement with Iraq remains vital. We are now at the point
where the strategic dividends of our tremendous sacrifices and
huge investments in Iraq are within reach, as long as we take
the proper steps to consolidate them. A long-term strategic
partnership with Iraq, based on mutual interest and mutual
respect, continues to present many advantages to the United
Recent turmoil in the broader Middle East highlights the
importance of active U.S. engagement and shoring up our
relations with our key regional partners. DoD strongly believes
we must remain focused on Iraq in order to advance our broader
regional objectives of peace, prosperity, and security.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you very much.
Mr. Crowley, you are recognized for 5 minutes.
STATEMENT OF MR. CHRISTOPHER CROWLEY, SENIOR DEPUTY ASSISTANT
ADMINISTRATOR FOR THE MIDDLE EAST BUREAU, U.S. AGENCY FOR
Mr. Crowley. Thank you. Chairman Chabot, Ranking Member
Ackerman, honorable members of the committee, thank you for
holding this hearing and inviting me to appear before you today
to discuss the U.S. Agency for International Development's role
in the transition from a military-led to a civilian-led
USAID has played a major role in the U.S. Government's
civilian response to Iraqi economic and social needs since
2003, and will continue to do so. The situation in Iraq has
dramatically improved over the past few years, but Iraq is
still very much a post-conflict developing country facing
considerable development, human resource, and fiscal
The reduction in violence has created the breathing room
for Iraqis to begin building their democracy, restoring public
institutions, and creating conditions for private sector-led
growth. But continued support is required to further nurture
Iraq's fledgling democracy and improve its ability to manage
its own wealth.
USAID has been supporting overall USG efforts in Iraq since
2003. The primary objective then was to restore essential
infrastructure and services. Beginning in 2007, USAID shifted
much of its resources to a stabilization program, to complement
the military and civilian surge which began at that time. This
program focused on community stabilization and administering
quick response funds to the joint civilian-military provincial
USAID support is currently aligned with the Strategic
Framework Agreement, which outlines the political, economic,
and security cooperation between the United States and Iraq.
The agreement focuses on sustainable development programs in
several sectors and is characterized by increasing levels of
host country ownership of the costs of these programs.
Mr. Chairman, the key challenge ahead for the Iraqi
Government will be in security, essential services, economic
growth, and strengthening of institutions of democratic
governance. Now is the time for Iraq to transition from the
legacy of war and insurgency to one of economic opportunity and
USAID's democracy and governance programs will continue to
strengthen the capabilities of Iraqi governance at the
national, provincial, and local levels. And this includes
Iraq's gradual transition toward a more decentralized model of
decisionmaking and control of resources.
USAID will help Iraq expand its economic growth in non-oil
sectors, such as agriculture, financial sector development, and
small and medium enterprise. USAID will also support the health
sector in Iraq by focusing on strengthening Iraqi primary
We will continue to assist ethnic and religious minorities
and internally displaced persons. We will also support the
education sector in Iraq.
USAID is a strong and growing network of working
relationships with key leaders in the public and private
sectors throughout Iraq. Community action groups, provincial
counsels, farmer cooperatives, all of whom have been partners
or who have been trained in our programs, continue to work to
improve the lives of their families and communities.
USAID has been able to adapt to changing conditions in
Iraq, and fully expects to be able to adapt to circumstances as
the military withdraws. We will continue our programs through
our implementing partners, both American and Iraqi. This has
been a major strength of our programs, both in terms of our
ability to engage more directly with our beneficiaries, and as
a way to project our presence more widely into the country. In
this way, we are better able to monitor and evaluate the impact
of our programs.
Mr. Chairman, along with the Government of Iraq, partners
in the donor community, and the broader U.S. mission to Iraq,
USAID will continue the engagement and commitment necessary to
build on the gains that have already been achieved. USAID will
be assisting the Iraqis on further developing their own
abilities and resources to ensure a sovereign, stable, and
In closing, I would like to thank Ambassador Jeffrey,
Ambassador Haslach, and their staffs, General Austin and his
troops, and the many offices and bureaus throughout the
Department of State, and other U.S. departments and agencies,
that are involved in this transition. All have provided
tremendous support to USAID and its mission.
Thank you again for the opportunity to appear before you
today, and I will be happy to answer any questions the
committee may have and look forward to working with you and
your congressional colleagues.
[The prepared statement of Ambassador Haslach, Mr. Kahl,
and Mr. Crowley follows:]
Mr. Chabot. Thank you, Mr. Crowley. And we want to thank
all three of the witnesses for their testimony here this
And now the members here will have 5 minutes, and I will
recognize myself for that purpose now, to ask questions.
The administration has developed so-called minimum
essential capabilities--MEC--benchmarks, which refer to an end
state in which ``Iraqi security ministries, institutions, and
forces can provide internal security and possess maximum
foundational capabilities to defend against external threats.''
In its June 2010 report to Congress on Iraq, the Department
of Defense assessed that only the Iraqi navy is presently on
course to fully achieve its MEC goals prior to December 2011,
and Iraq will not be able to independently secure its airspace
before that date. Overall, the Department of Defense has
reported that the potential for the Iraqi security forces to
meet and maintain performance at minimum benchmark levels
``continues to be reliant on U.S. support.''
In March 2011, CENTCOM Commander, General James Mattis,
said in Senate testimony that ``There are going to be loose
ends unless the Iraqis ask to stay and work on these--ask us to
stay and work on these issues. And those loose ends would be
difficult for them to overcome on their own.''
And, Dr. Kahl, you mentioned one example of recent violent
occurrence, and it happened to be the one--we were in Baghdad
the first--this was the third time that I was in Iraq. I was
there before--after the fall of Saddam but before we caught
him. That was about 2003. I was back in around 2007, toward the
end of the surge, and then most recently, as I say, about 1-2
And the day we were in Baghdad was the day that the
occurrence happened up in Kirkuk, and we met with people who
had--the general whose staff had been--were some of the
victims. And, of course, that is evidence of the ongoing
threats to this country.
With that being the case, and everything we know at this
point, how realistic is it for us to be able, under the
existing plan, to pull that many troops out and basically
transition from Department of Defense to State? Is the State
Department up for that task? Is there any precedent for
anything on this scale? And, you know, what do you think the
committee should know about that?
Mr. Kahl. You know, it is our assessment that the Iraqi
security forces will be--have pretty good capabilities in terms
of internal defense. We have spent billions of dollars and many
years building up a very capable counterinsurgency force, as
well as a capable counterterrorism force.
In terms of internal defense, I think we see a few gaps
that are likely to exist beyond 2011. They will have some
challenges in intelligence. They will have some challenges in
logistics. The bigger gaps, as you mentioned, Chairman, is the
gap on external defense. Maritime they will be in pretty good
As you mentioned, they are going to have significant
challenges as it relates to what we call air sovereignty or air
defense, and that is going to be true for a number of years.
And then, they are also going to have some challenges as it
relates to combined arms--that is, the ability to use their
forces for conventional combat, to defend their borders against
It is important to note that, even in the absence of a
continued troop presence, there will be ways for us to continue
to get after these challenges, both through the Office of
Security Cooperation Iraq, which will facilitate our security
assistance and security cooperation programs, and through the
State Department's police development program. so we will be
able to continue to get after these.
Anything beyond the Office of Security Cooperation would
require, under the terms of the security agreement, for the
Iraqis to ask. And, as you know from your recent visit, they
haven't yet asked. But the administration has been clear that,
were they to ask, that we would be happy to start that
conversation with them.
Mr. Chabot. Let me get to a second question, if I can. And
I am going to address this to you, if I can, Madam Ambassador.
And then, if you want to follow up on anything there, you can.
I understand that the Special Inspector General for Iraq
Reconstruction has initiated an audit of the police development
program, and has requested an entrance conference to begin the
audit. They have been told that the Department has informally
taken the position that SIGIR does not have authority to audit
this program, even though it is funded by the International
Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement Fund, which fund SIGIR
has authority over under Public Law 108.106, as amended.
My view is that SIGIR has done important work on police
training, which is clearly part of Iraq's reconstruction, and
we will need to continue to look at this program going forward.
And I also, further, think it is inappropriate for the
Department to try to block SIGIR's access to information on how
preparations to carry out a prospective appropriation of more
than a billion dollars are proceeding.
Please let me know what you plan to do to facilitate
SIGIR's ability to continue to do its work.
Ambassador Haslach. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We have sought
to be consistently forthcoming with our responses to all of the
various requests for documents and information during the
planning effort, including those from SIGIR. In fact, I worked
very closely with SIGIR's employees when I was in Iraq.
We appreciate the efforts undertaken by SIGIR to perform
audits and investigations of reconstruction activities in Iraq,
and have provided them with requested materials that we feel
fall under its mandate. As the Department engages in the
significant transition from a military- to civilian-led mission
in our Iraq, our assistance is also transitioning from largely
reconstruction-based to technical assistance and capacity-
We do not read the responsibilities assigned to SIGIR in
its founding statute as extending to the State Department's
operations in support of our diplomatic platform in Iraq. Those
audit responsibilities fall, we feel, within the purview of
other oversight and audit entities such as the Government
Accounting Office, the survey and investigation staff of the
House Appropriations Committee, the Department of State Office
of Inspector General, and the Commission on Wartime
Mr. Chabot. Thank you. And just me conclude with a quick
statement, that we have spent billions of dollars over there,
and auditing those dollars and making sure that that is being
spent appropriately and not wasted or ripped off by some entity
is critical. So we would ask your cooperation in continuing
Thank you very much.
And I will now yield to the ranking member from New York,
Mr. Ackerman. Thank you very much. Thank you all for your
testimony. Is there somebody in the administration that is in
charge of selling this to the American people?
Ambassador Haslach. Well, in my building, it is the
Secretary of State.
Mr. Ackerman. I mean, somebody specifically who has the
responsibility of explaining to the American people why we are
doing this, that the American people think we have already
Mr. Kahl. You know, the only thing that I would add, I
mean, both our Secretaries are heavily involved. It is a top
priority for both Secretary Gates and Secretary Clinton. And,
of course, Vice President Biden was tasked by President Obama
right off the bat to lead our Government's efforts. But in
terms of a government spokesperson, I mean, I guess that is in
the eye of the beholder.
Mr. Ackerman. What you are both indicating is that there is
none. And I am suggesting that there is a key problem here,
because the American people thought they bought this, used it,
and finished with it, and they are done with it and don't have
to make any further investments.
And it seems to be not the case, and it--these kinds of
things are going to be very, very difficult to do in the
ensuing months, if not years, given all the givens, both
realities and the political terms that we have to come to and
deal with. And that is not necessarily a good thing.
This seems to be--Iraq seems to have been a marriage of
convenience, and everybody seems to agree that there should be
some kind of a divorce. But when? And everybody thought we were
waiting for the final papers to come through, and now we seem
to have some remorse about that. And maybe we are sticking
around for the sake of the children, and now they are all
saying we should leave, although they really mean we should
stay, but we ain't staying unless they ask us, and it seems
like a mess.
And I don't know how you explain that to the civilian
population that is going to be asked to pay for child support.
All right. I guess I will move on to something else. Is
there any war in this region, in the entire region, that we can
afford to ever finally leave?
Mr. Kahl. You know, I don't want to speak outside the lane
of--you know, my particular portfolio stretches from Egypt up
through Iraq and around down to Yemen.
Mr. Ackerman. Right. Can we afford to leave Egypt? Can we
afford to leave Libya? Can we afford to leave anywhere?
Mr. Kahl. I think that we have profound national interest
in this part of the world, countering weapons of mass
destruction, countering violent extremism, energy security, the
safety and security of Israel and our other strategic partners.
So I think we are heavily invested in this part of the world.
We have a sizeable presence in this part of the world. We are
likely to remain postured at a pretty high level, even as we
drawn down from Iraq.
So I don't know whether the question is ``ever,'' but we
Mr. Ackerman. Draw down means 5 to 7 years and billions of
dollars. You start multiplying that across a region where
everything is 5 to 7 years, that is going to shift the 5 to 7
years by the time we get to 6 years, and it is going to cost
more billions of dollars.
I am not advocating leaving this place yet, you know, but I
just want to know, because of the lack of an answer to my first
question, if there is nobody in charge of selling it, nobody is
going to buy it.
Mr. Kahl. Well, you know, I would say that we have made a
consistent case, as the administration--the President did so
again last week when he gave his big Middle East speech--of
emphasizing the importance of the long-term strategic
partnership with Iraq, and that it is especially important in
light of all the events with the Arab Spring.
So we have--I mean, Iraq has been so important to our
national interest for 20 years that we have either been at war
against Iraq or in Iraq for 20 years. So, clearly, we have made
Mr. Ackerman. What about a financial partnership? You are
talking about billions of dollars in supporting a partner that
is richer than we are in many ways. Well, not really, but they
seem to have some bucks. And they are going into financial
partnerships with other people, which means they are cheating
Ambassador Haslach. Well, Representative Ackerman, we have
no intention of leaving Iraq. I think it was pretty clear in
our opening statements--all three of us--and, in fact, we have
asked for assistance----
Mr. Ackerman. The American people think we have left. They
think we have made the political decision that we--here is the
problem. You have no intention of leaving, and everybody else
in the country, except those who are really finely tuned, which
is a very limited audience, thinks we have already done that.
And I would suggest that is a disaster of a short--an
intermediate-term problem, because it ain't going to be just
Iraq that is on the plate in this situation.
And somebody in the administration really has to start
thinking about that long term. Even if long term only means 5
to 7 years, how do you sell a billion dollar program to people
who think that they are done with the payments?
Ambassador Haslach. Representative Ackerman, if I may,
Deputy Secretary Nides will be chairing a roundtable discussion
on Friday with approximately 30 presidents and CEOs of major
U.S. companies to talk about the challenges and the
opportunities of investing in Iraq. He will also be meeting--
having a number of press interviews, along with Ambassador
Jeffrey, to be making the case that Iraq is worth all of the
effort and worth the long-term commitment that we have made.
Mr. Ackerman. Those people might have a financial incentive
to invest in Iraq, because it might be good for their 30 or
whatever companies. But the American people don't necessarily
own that portfolio and aren't going to see it that way, if I
could put on my public relations hat and try to understand
where the American people are going to be coming from.
And I will just say it again--if you ain't got no one to
sell it, you ain't got no one going to buy it. I taught English
better than that.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you, Mr. Ackerman.
And the gentleman from Virginia is recognized for 5
Mr. Connolly. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Welcome.
I wonder if you could comment--well, first of all, I should
ask, what is your understanding of how much CERP funding there
is in this fiscal year? For Iraq and/or for Afghanistan.
Mr. Kahl. I can't speak to Afghanistan, Congressman,
because it is not in my portfolio. I believe we have requested
$25 million for FY12.
Mr. Connolly. Mr. Crowley, are you familiar with the CERP
Mr. Crowley. Yes, sir, I am.
Mr. Connolly. Is it your understanding it is well in excess
of a billion dollars?
Mr. Crowley. Not in Iraq at the present time it isn't.
Mr. Connolly. Not in Iraq. I am just talking about CERP.
Mr. Crowley. No. I am not sure what the overall dimensions
of it are.
Mr. Connolly. You don't know what the number is.
Mr. Crowley. No, sir.
Mr. Connolly. If it were that order of magnitude, what are
the conditions on programming of that money? I mean, you work
for AID. AID has all kinds of constraints and regulations and
legal requirements. What are the comparable constraints on the
use of and reporting of and auditing of CERP funds?
Mr. Crowley. Well, I know how CERP funds were used in Iraq
during the period I was there. And, by and large, they were
used by the military units and the provincial reconstruction
teams to deal with rapid response capabilities to various
economic and other issues on the ground. These are more short-
term programs to respond to local situations.
USAID works in a longer term----
Mr. Connolly. Mr. Crowley, I am quite familiar with how
USAID works. But would it not be of concern to you--it
certainly is to me--that I agree with your--that was the
original intent. But when you have that kind of intent, that is
a relatively modest amount of money.
When you get to very significant sums of money, would it
not--I am asking you to put on your professional hat, not your
public policy hat--as a professional, would it not concern you
that now we have a different management challenge when the
magnitude isn't $25 million, its a billion plus.
Next door to Afghanistan--I know it is not your portfolio--
but would that be of concern to you as a professional at AID?
Mr. Crowley. Yes, sir, it would. And I would be building in
all kinds of safeguards and overlapping mechanisms in order to
make sure that that money is spent appropriately.
Mr. Connolly. I would, too.
Mr. Kahl, is it of any concern at all--I know it is not
your portfolio, as you have pointed out--but at the Pentagon,
any concern? Ever pick up anything by the water fountain?
Mr. Kahl. Congressman, I just am not going to speak to
Afghanistan. It is not in my portfolio. But I would be happy to
take your question.
Mr. Connolly. I am asking you to speak about whether you
have a concern, on behalf of the taxpayers of the United
States, that we have a program--irrespective of where it is--
that has now ballooned in terms of value? It is not a $25
million program, and there are only two countries we are really
talking about here.
And does it concern you at all, from a management point of
view--even in the theoretical realm, let us say, so you
comfortable in your silo--that it has so little supervision and
so little restraints in a way that would be comparable to how
we do constrain the programming of USAID money?
Mr. Kahl. I think I would disagree with your
characterization that there is little accountability or little
restraint. There is actually a great deal of coordination
between DoD, State, and USAID, and a great deal of reporting to
Congress on all of the projects that are built with CERP.
SIGIR, an organization we talked about earlier, has done
regular assessments of it.
I can't speak to the magnitude or the specific projects in
Afghanistan, because none of us work on Afghanistan. I would
encourage you to direct that to our colleagues who do, and we
would be happy to take that question back.
In Iraq, there was $100 million of CERP requested in FY11.
We actually didn't spend all of that money, and then, in FY12,
we requested $20 million. And this is basically simply to
finish off some projects in that last bit of calendar year 2011
that includes the first part of Fiscal Year 2012.
Mr. Connolly. Well, for the record, I thank you for the
advice. I, in fact, already took it, and I did talk to the head
of SIGIR. And he would not share your confidence, I think, in
the CERP program.
And, as a matter of fact, in Afghanistan, a number of
people have already been fingered for, frankly, because it is a
cash program, and the amounts are, relative to USAID amounts,
quite substantial, that we actually have some people who,
unfortunately, have yielded to temptation. And it has to do
with the lack of accounting and accountability.
At any rate, I commend it to you. And since you have
offered, thank you, I will take you up on it. Please do get
back to me, and this committee, in terms of what constraints
are in place and accountability mechanisms are in place in this
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chabot. The gentleman's time has expired.
We will go to a second round. If the gentleman has any more
questions, we will get to them in just a second.
Mr. Connolly. Oh, all right. What do you think about--no.
Mr. Chabot. I just have a couple extra myself, and then I
will get right back to you.
Just a couple of quick questions. I assume all of the panel
members would agree that it is not only in Iraq's best
interest, but also in America's best interest, that we see a
democratic--for the most part--Iraq prosper and flourish. I am
seeing nods of assent by everyone there.
And how is it in America's best interest? I mean, I know it
is an obvious question, but why is it in our best interest, at
this point and beyond, not taking into consideration the fact
that we have lost, you know, thousands of our men and women
there, which is clear, and a lot of treasure has been spent
there, or money.
But how is it in our long-term best interest that Iraq is
essentially a successful country in that important and
tumultuous part of the world? And I see two of you chomping at
Ambassador Haslach. Well, we have a recent example of when
Iraq was just the opposite of that, so I think it is pretty
clear it is in our interest that we have a stable and
democratic government in Iraq, especially in that region
surrounded by some less stable and less democratic governments.
Mr. Chabot. Yes, I know. That is the obvious. But why is
it? Why, you know----
Ambassador Haslach. Well, it is for our own security, but
it is also for the security of the region. And it also is for
the world's economic benefit and for the potential that Iraq,
you know, has to become what it once was before--a middle-
income country, a prosperous country, a stable country, a
partner of ours, a partner of other democracies in the world. I
think we have only to gain from Iraq being a democracy.
Frankly, we have a lot to lose if they were to revert back.
Mr. Chabot. Okay. Dr. Kahl.
Mr. Kahl. I would agree with all of that. I would add that,
you know, Iraq historically has been a source of instability
and an aggressor state in this part of the world. And I think
it is our hope that a democratic Iraq will be a more moderate
actor that we can work with in the Middle East, which is, you
know, a region that is vital to our interest for all the
reasons that we talked about before.
I would also point out that, given the kind of mosaic of
sectarian and ethnic communities in Iraq, only a democratic
system can hold that country together--that is, can lead to the
types of political accommodations and mechanisms to combat
extremism that will keep Iraq stable over the long term.
I mean, Saddam was able to keep a lid on instability, but
Iraq wasn't stable. Iraq was a brutal dictatorship.
Iraq has gone now through a period of instability following
the 2003 invasion, but it has come out of that and is now on
the right trajectory. And, as President Obama said, we have an
interest in continuing that trajectory. And in the context of
the Arab Spring, it only magnifies all of those arguments.
Especially now that we are trying to stand up and consolidate
democracies in Egypt and in Tunisia and encourage reform in
other parts of the world, it is even more important to get Iraq
Mr. Chabot. Okay. And obviously, as I had stated in my
opening statement, the United States has spent nearly a decade
securing and helping to build the foundation of a prosperous
and democratic Iraq. And that it--a premature withdrawal could
risk squandering those gains, and that would be a failure of
colossal proportions. I assume all of the members of the panel
agree with that statement?
Ambassador, did you want to----
Ambassador Haslach. Yes. This goes back to your actual
first--your first question, too. I mean, we are not abandoning
Iraq, and we have asked for assistance to help to continue to
train their police forces. We have asked for assistance to
continue to train and equip the Iraq security forces, and, in
fact, we--in FY12, we have asked, under the Foreign Military
Financing Program, for a substantial amount of money, which we
feel is essential to help Iraq defend itself against the
external threats that you were asking about before.
So, I mean, our plan is actually to stay there and to help
them with this. USAID--we have already requested economic
support funds to help them on the capacity-building side,
fragile institutions, years of instability and repression. And
so we are not done, but we feel that we are well on the way to
a much better situation there.
Mr. Chabot. And I assume that the panel would agree that
Iran, at least in the least 30 years or so, has been, shall we
say, an unhelpful actor in that region. And if Iraq falls under
their influence, or they are not able to stand up to Iran, that
would be very unstable and would certainly hurt the U.S.
foreign security interests around the world. Is that correct?
Okay. And I think I am seeing affirmative. Dr. Kahl, did
you want to say something?
Mr. Kahl. Yes. I would only say that, you know, a strong
Iraq is likely to not be a puppet dangling at the end of Iran's
Mr. Chabot. Right.
Mr. Kahl. I think that a strong Iraq that has a strategic
partnership with us and has relations with all its neighbors,
which is what all of Iraq's leaders want, is going to be a--you
know, is going to want to maintain its sovereignty,
independence, and is going to be a fiercely nationalistic
place. And so I don't think the Iraqis want to be dominated by
Iran, which is the most important aspect.
Mr. Chabot. Without objection, I will grant myself 1
additional minute here to just make one final observation here
in the time that I have with that 1 minute. And that is that
one of the things that was a bit disturbing, although not
probably something you wouldn't expect, would be the fact that
the parliamentarians that we met with about whether or not
there needed to be U.S. involvement beyond the end of this
year, we are unwilling to make that commitment, although to a
person--every one of them indicated yes, but we really can't
say that publicly, because we run for office as well.
And they said that is for Maliki to say, and spokespeople
for Maliki indicated, well, the parliamentarians, you know,
those are the folks that you have to go to. So, and it is not
unlike what we see here in Washington on occasion when some of
the big issues--everybody points a finger at the other--maybe
it is the administration. Maybe it is Congress. Maybe it is
Democrats or Republicans, but this is an important key issue.
And the politicians in Iraq are going to have to step up to
the plate as well, because for the United States to pull out by
the end of this year, and turn over complete--the future of
that country before they are ready, could literally, you know,
have defeat out of the jaws of victory, and that is what we
don't want to see here, for the United States or for the Iraqis
I want to thank the panel. And, at this point, I will yield
to the gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Connolly, if he has any
additional questions he would like to ask.
Mr. Connolly. I do. I do, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.
Mr. Kahl, you indicated in my previous round of questioning
that your understanding of the CERP program in Iraq was that it
was $25 million?
Mr. Kahl. For the FY12, the request is for----
Mr. Connolly. For FY12.
Mr. Kahl. For FY12. And it was $100 million, my
understanding, for FY11, which we didn't spend all of that
Mr. Connolly. Perhaps your staff can confirm this, but am I
reading the SIGIR report right that since 2003 the total amount
of CERP funding in Iraq was $3.89 billion?
Mr. Kahl. Sir, I will have to get back to you on the exact
number. But we have spent a considerable amount of CERP money
in Iraq since 2003.
Mr. Connolly. Right. More than $25 million a year.
Mr. Kahl. Yes, Congressman. That is why I said $25 million
Mr. Connolly. Right. I understand. I am trying to get at
magnitude, Mr. Kahl. And is it your testimony that, if I
understood you correctly in your answer to my previous
question, that you are satisfied or you believe that we can be
satisfied that all of the right accounting and transparency is
in place, just as it is for USAID programming?
Mr. Kahl. What I would say is that, you know, CERP was an
innovation in Iraq largely to enable our counterinsurgency
operations. And that we learned along the way, frankly, and
that we are better now than we were at the beginning. So it
would not surprise me if, going back and looking at how the
program was executed at the very beginning, you found a lot
more problems with how it is executed now.
I would say that the program is more accountable, that
there is better coordination, and that that money is better
used now than was the case in 2004, for example. But are there
no challenges? Well, every program of this size will have
Mr. Connolly. No one has suggested that there were no
challenges, Mr. Kahl. The question was whether you felt that
there were adequate mechanisms of accountability and reporting
and transparency as there sort of are with USAID programs, such
that the Pentagon is satisfied.
Mr. Kahl. I feel that we are in a good place in executing
CERP programs in Iraq, which is the portfolio that I cover, and
I can't speak to Afghanistan.
Mr. Connolly. I understand. You have made that clear; you
can't speak about anything outside of your portfolio. However,
certainly, since the taxpayer pays for this, it is not an
unreasonable expectation that we might up here expect that what
you learned in your portfolio has applicability elsewhere.
Would that be a fair thing?
Mr. Kahl. It is absolutely true that the way the program is
being applied in Afghanistan learned from the lessons in Iraq.
But in terms of how it is being executed on the ground in
Afghanistan, I can't speak to that.
Mr. Connolly. All right. I look forward to having more
dialogue about this, because I think CERP has grown so big that
it presents very serious problems in terms of accountability
and transparency. And I would love to have you submit for the
record more detail about what the Pentagon learned in this time
As you said, we have improved and evolved. That is great.
But I want to know what that is, and I also want to know how--
what its applicability is to other places. Obviously, I have
Afghanistan in mind, but I won't burden you with Afghanistan.
Let me ask a totally separate question real quickly. One of
the things, in talking to reconstruction folks, that they
suggest is that it is time we have a permanent Office of
Stabilization and Reconstruction Operations, because we sort of
reinvent the wheel every time something comes up. And that if
we had an office centrally located with expertise, knowing the
ropes in the SOPs, and so forth, and the rolodex of vendors and
providers and nonprofits and everything else, that that would
make us, frankly, a lot more efficient and save taxpayer
Any comments on that suggestion or observation? Mr.
Mr. Crowley. Well, there is an office in the State
Department that has the purpose of doing exactly that, and I
think Ambassador Haslach would be better positioned to comment
on it. And USAID works closely with that office in situations
where these kinds of responses are required.
We also have our own Office of Transition Initiatives,
which is itself built around providing responses to these kinds
of situations, but it works hand in hand with SERS, which is
the State Department office that is tasked with that
Mr. Connolly. Mr. Chairman, I know we are running--would
you indulge just to allow Ms. Haslach to be able to respond?
Mr. Chabot. The gentleman is recognized for 1 additional
Mr. Connolly. I thank the chairman.
Ambassador Haslach. Mr. Crowley is right. There is an
office at the State Department that is tasked with exactly what
you are talking about. And, in fact, under the Quadrennial--the
QDDR, the Quadrennial Development and Diplomacy Review, in
fact, there are a number of suggestions on how that office can
be strengthened to fulfill the role you are recommending.
Mr. Connolly. Okay. Again, if you wanted to get back for
the record, anything, that would be great. Thank you so much.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your indulgence.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you. The gentleman yields back.
Would the gentleman from Pennsylvania--we are ready to wrap
up the hearing. So you are welcome to ask questions, if you
have some questions, Tom.
Mr. Marino. I apologize for being late, and I have no
Mr. Chabot. No problem. Okay. Well, thank you very much.
And if there is no further business to come before the
committee, we want to thank the panel for their testimony and
answering our questions here this afternoon. And without
objection, all members will have 5 minutes--or, excuse me, 5
days to submit questions or statements to the record.
And if there is no further business to come before the
committee, we are adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 4:28 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
Material Submitted for the Hearing RecordNotice deg.