At a Senate hearing on the foreign aid budget on Tuesday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice underscored the importance of “…deny[ing] terrorists access to the world’s most dangerous weapons, including conventional weapons like MANPADS,” and pointed to funding increases in the President’s FY07 budget for State Department programs that “help countries counter the proliferation of dangerous weapons and materials.” While it is true that the FY07 budget request does increase funding for combating the spread of WMD, programs aimed at reducing the threat from surplus and poorly secured conventional weapons – the weapons of choice for many terrorists – actually take a (slight) hit in the President’s budget. The $8.6 million request for the State Department’s small arms/light weapons destruction fund in FY07 is $60,000 less than the program’s budget for FY06.
Below is an excerpt from Secretary Rice’s testimony, and a link to the full transcript.
Essential to winning the war on terrorism is denying our enemies the weapons of mass destruction that they seek. We must develop new tools for counter-proliferation to confront and dismantle the networks involving rogue states, outlaw scientists, and black market middlemen who make proliferation possible. We are building on the achievements of the Proliferation Security Initiative, the G-8 Global Partnership, and UN Security Council Resolution 1540. We are working to stop Iran and North Korea from succeeding in their quest for weapons of mass destruction, and we continue to do everything in our power to deny terrorists access to the world’s most dangerous weapons, including conventional weapons like MANPADS. The FY 2007 budget proposes to increase funding for the State Department’s efforts to help countries counter the proliferation of dangerous weapons and materials.