Dec 19 2012
Update on the Evolving Security Situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Implications for U.S. National Security
Chairman Buck McKeon
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The House Armed Services Committee held a hearing for an Update on the Evolving Security Situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Implications for U.S. National Security. Chairman Howard P. "Buck" McKeon made the following opening statement:
"The House Armed Services Committee meets today to receive testimony on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
"I would like to start by thanking my colleague and the committee’s ranking member, Mr. Smith, for suggesting that we hold this hearing on the DRC. I believe that it will help the committee to understand the complexity of some of issues within Central Africa.
"The situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to evolve and is driven by a complex interplay of regional power dynamics as well as an intricate web of economic and social issues. What is clear is that the situation in the DRC is tragic for the innocent people caught in the conflict – innocent people who are simply trying to raise their families and live their lives.
"As I have followed the media coverage of the situation in the DRC, I cannot help but reflect on the millions of innocent people around the world who are caught in fundamentally unjust and socially complex situations. These situations can make anyone’s heart break and naturally leads one to consider the simple question: what can be done?
"Of course, the question – and likewise the answer – becomes more complex as we contemplate what can be done within the context of U.S. national security interests, constrained budgets, on-going commitments in Afghanistan and around the globe, and potential future contingencies that the military has to be prepared to execute. Given the looming threat of sequestration, or further cuts to the military, I believe most of us on this Committee have become ever more focused on ensuring our military’s missions are both essential and appropriately tailored.
"That said, there may also be options outside of the DoD to address the situation in the DRC. I understand that in the recent past, the Department of State conducted important diplomatic efforts such as the 'Tripartite Plus', which furthered stability in Central Africa – and within the DRC in particular. Although the Administration is no longer pursuing this particular effort, perhaps there are other, similar opportunities – given how the situation has negatively evolved in the DRC. Moreover, it seems the U.S. could pursue deeper diplomatic engagement with regional partners and our allies to leverage their knowledge, expertise, and resources to address this issue.
"Indeed, the world remains a complex and dangerous place. We cannot neglect to consider the linkages between instability in Central Africa and the global terrorist threat. But from Afghanistan, to Syria, to Iran, to North Korea; we also must recognize the existence of non-state actors and regimes that directly threaten the United States and our allies. Therefore, we must ensure that our military is sufficiently resourced and that our national leaders prioritize our defense resources towards efforts that are appropriate for the U.S. military and our vital national security interests.
"I look forward to learning more about the situation on the ground as well as what the U.S. government is doing to address the situation in the DRC."