By MARCUS WEISGERBER
12 Aug 2011
he U.S. is more likely to increase foreign assistance to nations such as Yemen and Somalia in the future rather than deploying troops, according to President George W. Bush's top national security adviser.
"I think we're going to use a different model in places like Yemen and Somalia, and it's going to be about training and equipping and supporting local forces," Stephen Hadley said during an Aug. 12 panel discussion at the Brookings Institution in Washington.
U.S. assistance could come through sharing intelligence, the use of unmanned and manned aircraft, or special forces.
"I think that's the model of how we're going to wage the war on terror over the next 10 years," he said.
Hadley's comments come as funding for the U.S. Defense Department and foreign assistance programs run by the State Department are in the crosshairs of lawmakers tasked with cutting federal spending to reduce the federal debt.
An agreement reached by Congress and signed by the president earlier this month to increase the country's debt ceiling calls for $350 billion in national security spending cuts over the next decade. A 12-member congressional super committee - equally split between Democrats and Republicans - must now make recommendations for $1.2 trillion in additional cuts by November. If the panel cannot agree, automatic, across-the-board cuts divided between DoD and other government agencies would go into effect.
The initial round of cuts has grouped a lot of different departments, such as DoD, the State Department and Department of Homeland Security, under the national security umbrella. Hadley said grouping these State and DoD efforts is appropriate, but that it opens both up to cuts.
"I would hope that, in some instances, we may cut defense and we may actually add some money on the nondefense national security side," Hadley said.
Funding for security initiatives in Yemen and Somalia - which serve training grounds for terrorists - is critical, according to Hadley.
"[A]s we face other challenges in places like Somalia and Yemen … a lot of that nondefense national security spending becomes even more important," he said. "It's also a lot cheaper to do things through that sector than it is deploying American combat troops."