USIS Washington 
File

06 March 1998

TEXT: DEFENSE SECRETARY COHEN ON IRAQ, BOSNIA SUPPLEMENTAL

(Says Iraq's commitment must be tested and verified)  (2100)

 

Washington -- Defense Secretary Cohen told members of the Senate
Appropriations Committee March 6 that the U.N. Special Commission
(UNSCOM) "must robustly test and verify" Iraq's latest memorandum of
understanding.


In the meantime, U.S. military forces in the Gulf will remain "at high
states of preparedness while we see if Iraq lives up to its
commitments."


If Iraq fails to cooperate and "we need to take action, we are in a
stronger position internationally than ever before," he said.


The United States is determined to secure Iraq's full compliance with
its commitment to destroy its weapons of mass destruction "by whatever
means necessary," Cohen told the committee.


Regarding Bosnia, the secretary said even though NATO has not
finalized the precise follow-on force structure needed for that
country, the United States is expected to contribute approximately
6,900 troops there after June 1998 and maintain about 3,100 support
personnel in Croatia, Hungary and Italy.


Following is the text of Cohen's remarks as prepared for delivery:



(begin text)



Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, thank you for scheduling so
promptly a hearing on President Clinton's request for emergency
supplemental appropriations for fiscal year (FY) 1998 and for a budget
amendment for FY 1999. This statement will highlight the content of
our funding requests, the President's proposals regarding financing of
these appropriations, and the importance of timely action on our FY
1998 package.


The President's funding request for the Department of Defense (DOD)
has three major components:


Bosnia. To support the vital U.S. role in maintaining a peaceful
environment in Bosnia, the FY 1998 Supplemental requests $487 million
related to the planned extension of operations beyond June 1998. The
FY 1999 amendment seeks $1.839 billion ($1,839 million) to continue
Bosnia operations through the next fiscal year. Although NATO has not
yet finalized the exact structure required for the follow-on-force in
Bosnia, our cost estimates assume that the United States will
contribute approximately 6,900 troops to the operation in Bosnia while
maintaining about 3,100 support personnel in Croatia, Hungary, and
Italy. This reduced force will allow for the continuation of currently
assigned missions with the support of other NATO countries while
providing for adequate force protection.


We have learned in this turbulent century that America's security and
Europe's stability are intimately linked. The Bosnia war saw the worst
fighting and the most profound humanitarian disaster on that continent
since the end of World War Two. Implementation of the Dayton Peace
Accords is changing the conditions that made Bosnia a fuse in a
regional powder keg. American leadership remains essential to sustain
the current rate of progress.


U.S. and NATO operations in Bosnia have already achieved remarkable
success. A stable military environment has been created, over 300,000
soldiers have returned to civilian life, and 6,900 weapons have been
destroyed. Public security is improving through restructuring,
retraining, and reintegrating local police. Democratic elections have
been held at all levels of government, and hard-line nationalists are
increasingly marginalized. Independent media and political pluralism
are expanding. Over 400,000 refugees and displaced persons have
returned home. One third of the publicly-indicted war criminals have
been taken into custody. Economically, substantial progress has been
made in the Bosnian Federation, whose economy grew 30 percent in 1996
and 35 percent in 1997. Political progress in the Serb portion of
Bosnia has been notable, with a pro-Dayton government gaining power
and which is helping to create conditions necessary for economic
progress there, as well.


Continued U.S. participation in support of the Dayton Peace Accords is
crucial because America has important national interests in ensuring
that war does not resume in Bosnia, from which it could spread to
elsewhere in the region. Stability in Europe and an international
environment favorable to our future requires, as much as ever,
resolute American leadership.


Southwest Asia (SWA). In response to Saddam Hussein's unwillingness to
permit unrestricted access to UNSCOM inspection teams, the United
States has deployed additional forces that are prepared to take
appropriate action against Iraq, should the President determine that
to be necessary. The fundamental U.S. goal has been to assure that
UNSCOM has unconditional and unfettered access to all suspect sites,
as called for by U.N. Security Council resolutions. Diplomacy, backed
by the threat of force, has moved us forward toward achieving that
goal.


Iraq precipitated a crisis by trying to avoid its obligations under
U.N. Security Council resolutions. It tried to dictate to the
international community where UNSCOM could hold inspections, the
manner in which inspections could be conducted, and the length of time
they would continue. Iraq's effort failed.


Last week, Iraq made a written commitment to provide immediate,
unrestricted, unconditional access for the UNSCOM inspectors to all
suspect sites. If fully implemented, this commitment will allow UNSCOM
to fulfill its mission of finding and destroying Iraq's chemical,
biological, and nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver these
weapons and instituting a system of long-term monitoring to make sure
Iraq does not build more. This commitment applies to all sites
anywhere in the country -- not only to the eight so-called
"presidential sites," but also to all sensitive sites, which up to now
Iraq had tried to claim were off limits to UNSCOM. Any and all of
these sites are subject to repeat visits. There are no deadlines for
UNSCOM to complete its work. In short, for the first time, Iran
explicitly has committed to open every site throughout the country to
the weapons inspectors.


The Secretary General has provided assurances that UNSCOM Chairman
Butler remains in charge of UNSCOM and all weapons inspections. The
Special Team for the "presidential sites" will be part of UNSCOM, will
report to Chairman Butler, and will operate under procedures developed
by UNSCOM and the Secretary General, not Iraq. The Secretary General
has made this clear to the Iraqis, as well. There are issues that
still need clarification, notably with respect to the inspection
procedures for the "presidential sites." The U.S. has made clear that
it expects all aspects of this agreement to reinforce the fundamental
requirement that UNSCOM be permitted to carry out its inspections in a
rigorous and professional manner.


Earlier this week the U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a new
resolution that backs up this memorandum of understanding (MOU) with
Iraq by warning Baghdad that it will face the severest consequences if
it fails to fulfill its commitments.


The President has made clear that, in the days and weeks ahead, UNSCOM
must robustly test and verify this commitment. If Iraq implements the
agreement, the weapons inspectors will for the rust time have
unrestricted, unconditional access to all suspect sites in Iraq, with
no limits on the number of visits or deadlines to complete their work.
If Iraq does not cooperate and we need to take action, we are in a
stronger position internationally than ever before.


The U.S. will keep military forces in the Gulf at high states of
preparedness while we see if Iraq lives up to its commitments. The
U.S. remains resolved to secure by whatever means necessary Iraq's
full compliance with its commitment to destroy its weapons of mass
destruction.


For the purposes of the FY 1998 Supplemental, we are requesting $1.361
billion ($1,361 million) to cover the added costs associated with
sustaining our enhanced level of forces in the SWA region this fiscal
year. These costs do not include any estimate for increased OPTEMPO
(Operations Tempo) levels that would occur during an actual campaign
of armed hostilities, nor the related costs for expended munitions and
cruise missiles, nor the costs for attrition losses.


No additional SWA funds have been requested for FY 1999. However, if
these higher forces levels are needed beyond next September, the
administration will need to seek added FY 1999 funding.


Natural Disasters. To recover from damage to U.S. military facilities
and assets due to natural disasters, $123 million in emergency FY 1998
supplemental appropriations is requested. This would provide $121
million for damage in Guam from Typhoon Paka and $2 million for damage
in the U.S. from ice storms. Most of these currently identified costs
are for repair of facilities and replacement of damaged equipment, but
some military construction and family housing expenditures are needed
as well. An additional $50 million for the Department is also
requested, to be made available contingent upon the Administration's
submission of a later request.


Financing Requested Appropriations



Regarding the financing of this additional funding, President Clinton
is requesting that DOD's FY 1998 unfunded requirements be met by
non-offset emergency supplemental appropriations. Similarly, the
President is proposing a non-offset emergency FY 1999 budget amendment
to fund the unanticipated costs of extending the U.S. mission in
Bosnia through the fiscal year. The administration included an
allowance in the President's FY 1999 budget of $3.2 billion ($3,200
million) to cover the costs of contingencies like Bosnia, SWA, and
natural disasters.


The administration's plan to finance these unanticipated contingency
operations is the only way to ensure support for our forces deployed
to Bosnia and Southwest Asia and avoid damage to military readiness.
Thus, I strongly urge the Congress to support the administration's
request. If FY 1998 supplemental appropriations were required to be
offset from funds currently available to the Department of Defense,
the damage would be broad and deep. Non-deployed units would likely be
forced to drastically curtail training. Troop inductions and civilian
personnel hiring would be curtailed or halted. Research and production
programs would be reduced substantially, driving up costs and delaying
needed modernization. Civilian personnel might have to be furloughed.
Requiring DOD budget cuts this far into the fiscal year would multiply
the severity of the actions that would have to be taken to fulfill
America's commitments in Bosnia and SWA.


The President's FY 1998 budget request and subsequent appropriations
enacted by Congress did not accommodate nor anticipate these DOD
funding requirements. The decision to maintain a significant presence
in Bosnia and to confront Iraqi efforts to build and maintain a
stockpile of weapons of mass destruction emerged after FY 1998
appropriations were completed. Moreover, the Defense topline set in
the bipartisan budget agreement did not anticipate these added costs.
The Department used the Quadrennial Defense Review to carefully
construct a balanced Defense program that sustains the necessary high
levels of readiness, but still funds modernization at levels that will
ensure that future readiness is also protected. To now unravel this
program by requiring funding offsets will undermine this balance and
hurt readiness both now and in the future.


Timely Approval of FY 1998 Supplemental Appropriations



I cannot stress enough the need for House and Senate action on our
requested FY 1998 non-offset emergency supplemental appropriations by
early April. Without timely action, the significant costs of
continuing our presence in Bosnia and responding to the crisis in
Southwest Asia will begin to hurt force readiness. The risk to
readiness will be especially acute because so many of our forces are
deployed in major operations.


Beginning in April, the Military Services must decide on the funding
to allocate to their programs for the remainder of the fiscal year.
Without assurances on supplemental funding, major expenditures could
be curtailed or deferred. The Services could begin curtailing
deferrable activities -- consisting primarily of training, depot
maintenance, and maintenance of real property. (Fixed costs such as
salaries, utilities, and base support contracts are difficult to
curtail in the short term.) Were that to happen, important training
opportunities would be lost, and the readiness of our nondeployed
forces reduced. While depot maintenance and real property maintenance
programs are deferrable, late funding of them potentially disrupts
activities and can result in the idling of certain functions, thus
creating a logjam of backlogged work that cannot be accomplished
expeditiously or efficiently.


Closing



In closing, let me join with the President to urge Congress to
consider this FY 1998 Emergency Supplemental as part of a
comprehensive package together with requests for supplemental
appropriations included in the FY 1999 Budget, including additional
funding for veterans compensation and pensions; requests transmitted
on February 2, 1998 for the Department of State to pay U.S. arrears to
the United Nations and other international organizations and for the
International Monetary Fund; and requests for other important needs
that were transmitted on February 20, 1998.


(end text)