The Cable

Special Budget Day Briefing Skipper

In which we scour the transcript of the State Department's daily presser so you don't have to. Here are the highlights of Monday's budget briefing by Deputy Secretary of State Jack Lew:

  • The State Department and USAID budget request of $52.8 billion for fiscal 2011 is $4.9 billion more than fiscal 2010 appropriated levels, but $3.6 billion of that is just for Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, Lew said. The $1.3 billion increase in the other accounts represents a 2.7 percent rise.
  • As the Defense Department withdraws from Iraq, State will have to pick up the slack, so the request asks for a $2 billion increase in the regular budget for Iraq and $2.5 billion more in Iraq money in the supplemental. "The programs in Iraq will improve police training, rule-of-law programs, and a transition from the current military footprint to a more normal diplomatic and development program," said Lew. Diplomatic outposts will be freestanding with no connection to military bases.
  • The budget requests $8.5 billion for Global Heath Initiative, $1.8 billion for multilateral programs, $646 million to help move toward the Copenhagen commitment on climate change in the State-USAID budget request, part of $1.4 billion requested for climate change government wide.
  • On Afghanistan, the administration is requesting $4.9 billion in the fiscal 2011 regular budget and $1.8 billion in the fiscal 2010 supplemental. So that would make for a total of about $5.3 billion for fiscal 2010 ($3.3 billion was already appropriated), meaning Afghanistan funding could actually go down a bit in 2011 compared to 2010. That's largely due to the fact that the surge is this summer, Lew said. "We're talking about a program where the timing of the expenditures from month to month doesn't match the fiscal year perfectly."
  • The administration is also looking to increase the number of civilians in Afghanistan higher than previous plans. There are about 900 U.S. government civilians there now, 200-300 more were planned, but "I suspect that the numbers will be several hundred more in 2010, and then, again, they'll increase in 2011," Lew said. State supports a program to reintegrate insurgents, but that money will come from the Pentagon budget.
  • On Pakistani assistance, the administration is requesting $3 billion in the fiscal 2011 budget, and $344 million in the fiscal 2010 supplemental. The fiscal 2010 funding so far has been $1.5 billion, so that account is definitely going up if Congress plays along. That's mostly due to the new PCCF funding, which is now to be housed at State.
  • No money in the request for Haiti disaster relief, but that's coming. "We're working through those issues now... and I think we'll have more to say about that shortly," Lew said. An amendment to the supplemental request, perhaps? The Cable heard the current estimate is about $900 million. There is a $379 million request for Haiti assistance, but that's not related to the earthquake.
  • Yemen assistance funding would go up in the fiscal 2011 budget request from $67 million to $106 million. "It would enhance Yemen's air force; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability; and increase the counterterrorism training for the security forces; and some funding for the Yemen coast guard and border guards and special ops forces," Lew said.

 

The Cable

State takes over Pakistan funding in new budget request

The State Department was awarded a big slice of the foreign military assistance pie in the President's new fiscal 2011 budget request, $1.2 billion for Pakistani military training that was previously in the hands of the Pentagon.

The Cable has reported extensively on the turf wars between State and Defense over authorities for a range of foreign assistance funding, money that should logically go through State but has been controlled by the Pentagon for a variety of reasons. The movement of the Pakistani Counterinsurgency Capability Funding from DOD to State represents a test of the State Department's ability to manage these types of new, large scale foreign military assistance programs.

Some senior lawmakers have wanted the PCCF money to be given to State for a while. Appropriators wanted to make the change in the fiscal 2009 supplemental bill, but relented after Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both testified that State wasn't ready to take on the mission at that time.

"I know there's been some concern here on the Hill about whether this money ought to be in the State Department or it ought to be in the Defense Department," Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the Senate Appropriations Committee last April, "Part of the problem is authorities and capacity in the State Department to be able to apply this money with the agility Secretary Clinton was talking about."

PCCF received $400 million in the first tranche of fiscal 2009 war funding. House Foreign Affairs chairman Howard Berman had directed in his bill that the money should go to State but he eventually relented after the administration made it clear that this wasn't wise.

This money is separate from the Kerry-Lugar Pakistan aid bill, which authorized $1.5 billion in varied assistance to Pakistan over 5 years.

As we reported earlier, the State Department did not receive the so-called "1206" money, which is also called "Global Train and Equip," but sources said that if State does well with the PCCF fund, 1206 will be back on the table for fiscal 2012.

As for the "1207" funds, that did transfer over to State. That $100 million will now be called the Complex Crises Fund, which is meant "to prevent or respond to emerging or unforeseen crises that address reconstruction, security, or stabilization needs."