Prepared Statement by Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research J. Stapleton Roy Before the Senate Intelligence Committee Hearing: Annual Assessment of Security Threats to the United States

February 2, 2000

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear
  • Missile
  • Military

Chairman Shelby, Senator Bryan, Members of the Committee, I appreciate this opportunity to present the views of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) on current and projected threats to our nation.

Thanks to our military readiness, our intelligence capabilities, and the effectiveness of our diplomacy, threats to our national existence from nuclear or large-scale conventional attack remain low.

The threats we face today are less direct and more diffuse. Efforts by countries to acquire nuclear weapons and ballistic missile capabilities remain of high concern. International terrorists--Usama bin Ladin's organization is the most prominent threaten Americans at home and around the globe. Narcotraffickers and international criminals endanger our way of life and corrupt governments and societies everywhere. Globalization has brought manifold benefits, but it has created new vulnerabilities. "Soft" threats, such as the spread of epidemic disease, environmental degradation, or conflict over water rights, pose new challenges that we are only beginning to understand.

In addition, the United States must pay special attention to the activities and intentions of states with global reach (Russia and China) and to countries whose behavior poses actual or potential threats to American interests. The latter group includes North Korea, Iran, and Iraq.

The Nuclear Threat

Only Russia has the unqualified capacity to destroy the United States. Indeed, for the foreseeable future, Russia's ability to threaten U.S. territory and overseas interests is greater than all other potential adversaries combined. China is the only other country that is not an ally of the United States that currently has the capacity to strike the U.S. homeland with nuclear weapons. Moreover, the aggregate nuclear-armed ICBM threat against the United States is declining dramatically as a result of Russian military choices related to START I and START II and the significantly reduced size of the Russian economy.

This situation could change for the worse if Moscow (and secondarily, Beijing) concluded that the United States was pursuing interests in fundamental conflict with their own. Such perceptions could trigger decisions that would significantly increase the quantitative threat to the United States. Instead of reducing their nuclear warheads to some 1,500, the Russians could halt their decline at or above 2,000 warheads. The Chinese could triple their nuclear deterrent by the end of the decade to more than 100 ICBM warheads by MIRVing existing ICBMs. Should either (or both) put their strategic forces on a higher state of alert, their serious early warning deficiencies would increase the danger of accidental launch.

The growing availability of technical information about nuclear weapons and the increase in well-financed non-state terrorist organizations make the prospect of a suitcase : or cargo ship bomb a significant second order concern. The difficulty of acquiring sufficient fissile material would be the most important technical factor limiting the ability of such a group to detonate a nuclear device in an American city.

North Korea, with its nascent space launch vehicle/ICBM program and presumed nuclear potential, is preeminent among emerging Third World nuclear threats. Given the credibility of U.S. retaliatory capabilities in the face of any nuclear attack on the American homeland, we would assign the North Korean threat to a tertiary level. A multifaceted diplomatic effort is under way to eliminate this threat. So far, this effort has yielded a freeze on activity at declared North Korean nuclear facilities and a moratorium on further space or missile launches.

Missiles and Missile Proliferation

Ballistic missiles are a special concern, particularly when possessed by countries with nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons, because of their ability to strike rapidly and penetrate defenses. An increasing number of countries are developing capabilities to produce ballistic missiles and/or space launch vehicles; these include potential adversaries like North Korea and Iran, and regional rivals like India and Pakistan. These capabilities have been increased by technology transfers from other countries principally Russia, China, North Korea, and advanced European nations. This will allow for extended range and improved accuracy of older-generation missiles. Ballistic missiles are unlikely to be used against U.S. territory, but they are a growing threat to U.S. allies and to U.S. forces deployed abroad.

The Conventional Military Threat

The threat of a large-scale conventional military attack against the United States or its allies will remain low for the immediate future. Since the demise of the Warsaw Pact, there has existed no hostile military alliance capable of challenging the United States or NATO, and none is on the horizon.

Regional tensions and potential conflicts threaten U.S. interests abroad. Progress toward Middle East peace has reduced the chances of another major war there, but it may have increased the determination of regional terrorist groups to derail the peace process. Iraq threatens regional security by confronting coalition forces and retaining weapons of mass destruction (WMD) ambitions. Saddam Hussein could precipitate major crises at any time.

Trends are visible that could increase the conventional military threat. U.S. military dominance and economic, cultural, and technological preeminence have sparked resentment by potential rivals who do not share U.S. values and are concerned that the United States will use its global leverage in ways inimical to their interests. This has prompted them to seek ways to constrain Washington. These countries are not likely to enter formal defensive alliances, but if they perceive U.S. policies as hostile to their national interests, they may be increasingly inclined to cooperate militarily, particularly in the sale of weapons and technologies that might otherwise have been kept off the market.

Technology Diffusion

Accelerating technological progress in an increasingly global economy has facilitated the spread of advanced military technologies once restricted to a few industrialized nations. Chemical and biological weapons will pose a growing threat to U.S. interests at home and abroad, as the means to produce them become more accessible and affordable. Such weapons are attractive to countries seeking a cheap deterrent and to terrorist groups looking for means of inflicting mass casualties. They pose a potential military threat to U.S. forces abroad and to our homeland.

The critical importance of communications and computer networks to the military and to almost every sector of the civilian economy has increased U.S. vulnerability to a hostile disruption of its information infrastructure. Russia, China, and Cuba have active government IW programs, and a number of other countries are interested in the concept.

Terrorism, Narcotics, and International Organized Crime

Terrorism. The United States remains the number one target of international terrorism. As in previous years, close to one-third of all incidents worldwide in the first nine months of 1999 about 90 were directed against Americans. About 60 of these took place in Latin America and Western Europe, including the murder of three NGO workers in Colombia.

Increasingly, where attacks occur does not fully reflect the origin of the threat. The far-flung reach of Usama bin Ladin (U-BL) from his base in Afghanistan is reflected in a continuous flurry of threats by his organization on almost every continent. Although we cannot attribute any of last year's anti-U.S, attacks to him, his transnational network and the devastating example of his 1998 attacks on our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania make him the primary threat to U.S. interests at home and abroad. Members of his network and other like-minded radical Islamic Mujahedin are active globally. Bin Ladin funds training camps and participates in a worldwide terrorist network. But he is not responsible for every Mujahedin attack. The UBL network is analogous to a large corporation with UBL as a CEO who provides guidance, funding, and logistical support.

His supporters, like regional directors or affiliates, are not micromanaged, and may be left to follow separate agendas.

A number of terrorists, including bin Ladin, have evinced interest in acquiring weapons of mass destruction. So far, Aum Shinriyko, the group responsible for the 1995 subway gas attack in Tokyo, is the only group to use such a weapon on a large scale.

State sponsorship of terrorism has declined but not disappeared. Libya last year surrendered two suspects in the Pan Am 103 case for trial.

North Korea recently stated that it "would not allow terrorism or any support to it." Syria completed a first round of formal peace talks with Israel earlier this month. Cuba no longer actively supports armed struggle but continues to harbor terrorists. Iraq also harbors terrorists and may be rebuilding its intelligence networks to support terrorism. Sudan has been a safe haven and logistical hub for numerous international terrorist groups; the recent political shake-up in Khartoum has yet to result in a noticeable difference. Despite President Khatami's attempts to distance Tehran from terrorism, Iran continues to support the use of violence to derail the peace process.

There have been counterterrorism successes over the past year. Jordanian and Canadian authorities averted possible attacks. The leader of the PKK, a Kurdish terrorist group, was captured, tried, and convicted. Jordan expelled the political leadership of the terrorist group Hamas, and Japan passed laws stringently regulating Aum Shinriyko. Seven countries signed the international convention on financing terrorism on the first day it was open for accession.

Narcotics. The expanding reach of international drug trafficking organizations poses a significant security threat to the United States, their primary market. Abroad, criminal drag gangs suborn foreign officials at all levels, threatening the rule of law.

Despite antinarcotics successes, notably in Bolivia and Peru, illicit drags from Latin America constitute the primary drug threat to the United States. An apparent improvement in Colombian cocaine-processing efficiency means that traffickers can direct even more of the drug to U.S. markets. Drugs fund insurgent groups warring against the Colombian Government. Bribery at all levels of officialdom in Mexico and, to a lesser extent, the Caribbean ensures that drugs reach their target.

Colombia and Mexico have the largest share of the U.S. heroin market, but opium poppy cultivation in Asia is increasing, particularly in Burma and Afghanistan. Indications are that Burma, after two years of drought reduced opium poppy cultivation, will return to its traditionally high cultivation level. In Afghanistan, production of opium and heroin is a major source of revenue for the ruling Taleban and a political instrument of bin Ladin to "corrupt" the West.

Crime. At home and abroad, the activities of international criminals threaten Americans, their businesses, and their financial institutions. Organized crime has capitalized on economic liberalization and technological advances to penetrate the world's financial, banking, and payment systems. It has become increasingly sophisticated in high-tech computer crime, complex financial fraud, and theft of intellectual property. The cost to U.S. citizens, businesses, and government programs is in the billions of dollars annually.

International criminal gangs trade in materials for WMD, sensitive American technology, and banned or dangerous substances. They also traffic in women and children, and in illegal visas and immigration. Organized crime groups exploit systemic weaknesses in fledgling democracies and economies in transition.

Economic Threats

The international economic outlook is more positive than at any time since the start of the Asian economic crisis in mid-1997. World economic output is forecast to rise from 2.5 percent last year to 3.0 percent this year. Despite the impressive rebound from the economic turmoil of 1997-98, significant vulnerabilities in the Asian emerging economies could affect U.S. economic and strategic interests. The recovery of confidence in the currencies and financial markets of Southeast Asia and South Korea remains fragile, and their banking systems are in need of further restructuring. Overall, the danger of a second Asian financial crisis has substantially diminished. The more cautious and sophisticated approach of foreign investors, the increase in transparency of financial information, and the region's dramatic reduction in reliance on short-term debt have all decreased Asia's susceptibility to a financial panic triggered by the economic problems of one country.

Despite export recovery and high and growing foreign exchange reserves, China is one of Asia's soft spots. Growth this year could falter under the weight of deflation. China's banks are burdened with bad debt. Fresh bankruptcies could require urgent recapitalization, and fiscal resources already are stretched thin. Chinese policymakers are concerned about rising unemployment and want to stimulate economic growth, but they have fewer and fewer options other than painful economic reform.

Latin America should recover from last year's recession and achieve.3.7% overall growth. Mexico, Brazil, Chile, and Peru have made difficult policy adjustments that leave them better positioned to weather external developments. Latin American governments generally remain publicly committed to fiscal austerity, trade liberalization, and low inflation. However, income inequality and the failure of market-oriented policies to dent high poverty levels could decrease stability in countries where recovery lags.

Economic espionage against the United States is a backhanded tribute to our economic prowess. In particular industries and for particular companies, especially in vital high-tech sectors, economic espionage can threaten profits and fruits of innovation.Threats to Human Rights, Democracy, and Humanitarian Interventions

The national security of the United States is tied to political stability, peace, and democratic governance in other regions. When human rights are systematically abused, when internal conflicts threaten to spill over into neighboring countries, and when democratic principles are undermined by coups and/or corruption, like-minded governments look to the United States to provide leadership, in conjunction with their own efforts, to address these threats. Most current complex emergencies are caused by violent ethnic tensions and religious intolerance, often fueled by malevolent political leaders and militias, that generate large numbers of displaced persons and atrocity victims. The US Government has led international efforts to mitigate such destabilizing humanitarian crises through providing generous refugee assistance, supporting international tribunals that prosecute war criminals, and preventing those security threats from erupting or re-erupting through support for free and fair elections and for human rights monitoring.

"Soft Threats"

The United States faces a broad array of long-term threats to our national well-being.

Some of these take the form of episodic natural disasters--floods in Venezuela, earthquakes in Turkey and Taiwan. While the greatest loss of life from natural disasters will continue to be in crowded poor regions, overseas Americans are often affected, as are governments with which we work to achieve common goals. Reducing the suffering inflicted by such crises will depend on improving the use of early- warning information systems and providing prompt humanitarian assistance.

Environmental threats range from toxic spills to global climate change. Environmental contamination can cause severe local problems. Global warming would result in broader and unpredictable weather fluctuations, altered agricultural production, and rising sea levels. Each of these regional problems would affect national economic production, food exports and imports, and even international relations as natural resource balances shift within and among countries. A related threat may come from increasingly resilient bacteria and viruses, which can take advantage of global linkages, poor sanitation, and urban congestion to spread quickly across continents.

Populations in poor regions continue to grow, even as birthrates decline. This demographic lag ensures that over the next few decades in many poor countries a growing cohort of young people will be stymied by the lack of economic opportunities, inadequate health care and schools, and crowded living conditions. They may be inclined to act violently against their governments or be swayed by extremists touting anti-Western nostrums. The safety of both overseas and domestic Americans could be harmed by a growing population with dim prospects directing anger at those perceived to have too much.

Countries With Global Reach

Russia. Russia's ability to project power beyond its borders and to challenge U.S. interests directly is much diminished. Russia is focused on its own internal problems and aware of its weaknesses and limitations. Nevertheless, Russia remains a nuclear power with the capability to destroy the United States. It retains the ability to influence foreign and security policy developments in Europe and, to a lesser extent, around the globe. Its interests sometimes coincide with those of the United States and our allies, and sometimes not. Regional instability in the former Soviet Union, in particular in the Caucasus or Central Asia, could impinge on U.S. interests, especially if such instability were to spiral out of control or tempt external intervention.

The Russian political scene was dramatically altered by the Duma elections in December and Yeltsin's surprise resignation, but the consequences for Russia's development as a state remain uncertain. Vladimir Putin, who at 47 represents a younger generation, is riding a wave of popularity based, in part, on his vigorous prosecution of the war in Chechnya. Putin, the odds-on favorite to win the presidency, almost certainly will be a more engaged and predictable leader. He has spoken of the need for a democratic, market-oriented approach, including political pluralism and freedom of speech and of conscience, that would revitalize the Russian economy. He has called for reform and pledged to fight crime and corruption. But Putin has a security- services background, makes no secret of his belief in a strong state that plays a guiding role in the economy, and is enmeshed in a system dominated by a narrow stratum of political and financial elites. For Putin to undertake systematic and thoroughgoing reform, he would have to move against some of the very people on whom his power depends.

It is too early to predict how recent leadership changes will affect Russia's foreign and security policies. Both Putin and Foreign Minister Ivanov have promised broad continuity. Russia's need for integration into international economic and financial institutions and access to key markets makes a wholesale return to the ideological confrontation and policy collisions of the Cold War unlikely. But Russia will persist in efforts to counter what it perceives as U.S. dominance by using the diplomatic tools at its disposal.

China. China's commitment to a multipolar world in which it would have major global influence means that its interests occasionally lead to rivalry with the United States, sometimes in concert with Russia or France. China's increasingly capable military forces and economic base, and its network of supporters, especially among the developing countries, will better enable the PRC to forestall or limit unwelcome U.S. unilateral and allied actions. This also can translate into opposition to U.S.-led initiatives at the UN.

The most serious potential threat to the United States would be Chinese military action, possibly in response to a perceived U.S. challenge to vital PRC interests. Actions that might trigger such a response include implementation of a robust theater missile defense system that nullified Chinese deterrence or included Taiwan (directly or indirectly) and thus increased prospects for indefinite Taiwan separation or de jure independence. China's refusal to rule out use of force and determination to forestall further steps toward Taiwan separateness or explicit independence, and in the long term to achieve reunification, jeopardizes peace and security in the Taiwan Strait.

Chinese proliferation behavior is a continuing concern, particularly when it contributes to changes in the balance and threatens U.S. interests in other geographic regions. China has assisted the missile and nuclear programs of Pakistan, Iran, and others. China has made progress in adopting international control norms in the nuclear area, but Beijing does not accept all elements oft he Missile Technology Control Regime.

The risk of instability within China sparked by social discontent over unemployment, official corruption or malfeasance, religious persecution, violation of human rights, lack of democratic choices, ethnic discrimination, and other factors remains real. Should social order decline significantly, U.S. economic interests in China (trade and investments) would suffer, and the expected increased outflow of Chinese migrants to the region and to the United States would have a problematic---but not genuinely threatening--impact on U.S. interests. Should regime failure occur and result in ineffective government in China, the United States would face serious new uncertainties in East Asia.

Other Countries and Regions of Concern

North Korea. The DPRK's ability to sustain a conflict has continued to decrease in the past year. Nevertheless, the North's military still has the capability to inflict heavy damage and casualties in the opening phases of a war. The political situation in the North appears stable, with Kim Jong-II firmly in charge. There is evidence that in some areas the economic situation is less dire; rather than straggling simply to keep its head above water, the regime has been able to turn its attention to such long-term concerns as restoring infrastructure. There are signs that the regime is examining a range of relatively pragmatic, though still seemingly ad hoc, solutions to the DPRK's economic problems. Diplomatically, the North has begun a broad push to improve relations with developed countries, which it hopes can provide economic assistance. Pyongyang continues to refuse to deal officially with Seoul, but unofficial contacts in such fields as the economy, culture, and sports--were carried out on a fairly large scale last year.

An area of top concern is the North's development of long-range ballistic missiles and its ongoing efforts to sell missile technology to countries in the Middle East and South Asia. North Korea last fall announced it would not launch a satellite or a long-range missile during high-level U.S.-DPRK talks. But on the question of missile sales, the North has said only that it would be willing to halt sales under the right circumstances, a formulation that will require clarification.

Iran. In addition to posing a threat in the areas of WMD and terrorism, Iran is perhaps the only major power in the Middle East consistently opposed to the Middle East Peace Process. Deep-seated hostility to the MEPP within conservative circles of the Tehran regime plays a major role in the government's apparent willingness to support terrorist groups and their attacks against Israel or other parties involved in the process. Although we believe Iranian factions and leaders are not unanimous in their support for the use of terrorism to effect political ends, so far this disunity has not resulted in a discernible change of behavior.

How best to deal with the challenges posed by Iran is a continuing source of disagreement with other important countries, including some of our closest allies. Tehran is well aware of these differences and attempts to exploit them to erode the effectiveness of U.S. sanctions.

Iraq. Baghdad's denunciation of UNSCR 1284 and continued public refusal to allow weapons inspections to resume indicates Iraq's intention to ensure that any future UN inspection presence in Iraq is weak. Over the past year, Iraq's military has escalated its challenges to coalition aircraft in the no-fly zones.

The regime has looked for new ways to circumvent UN sanctions, while using proceeds from illegal smuggling to enhance its military capabilities and enrich Saddam's family and inner circle. Iraqi media and official rhetoric menacing Kuwait and other Iraqi neighbors underscore the regime's continued threat to the region.

Baghdad consistently denounces the MEPP, and appears committed to a position of stalwart opposition to regional peace. Press reports indicate that the regime seeks to eliminate opposition figures inside and outside the country, and to target U.S. facilities such as the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty offices in Prague. The regime hosts several Palestinian rejectionist groups and the Mujahedin-e Khalq, a terrorist organization.

Europe. Peace and stability in southeastern Europe remain the paramount "threat" on the continent. The threat from Serbia stems from the undemocratic nature of the regime. Serbia's autocrat, Milosevic, still holds the critical levers of power and refuses to meet legitimate demands for democracy. The possibility of further violence from the Milosevic regime, directed at Montenegro or elsewhere, is undiminished. Milosevic poses a continuing challenge to NATO and to the peace and security of the region.

Kosovar-Serbian recriminations and retaliatory attacks will continue, and Serbian-Montenegrin tensions will mount as Podgorica and President Djukanovic seek to carve out an increasingly independent status. Crime and corruption, homegrown and involving Russian and other groups, will continue to plague parts of Europe---especially Albania, Bosnia, and other Balkan areas.

More broadly, West European leaders are concerned over potential disruption of existing arms control regimes and deterrence strategies from U.S. development of National Missile Defense and the ascent of Vladimir Putin in Russia. European economies, though improving, remain captive to high unemployment, labor unrest, pressures to enlarge the European Union, and a single currency (the euro) with only a one-year track record.

South Asia. The volatile South Asian region could quickly become embroiled in serious conflict, probably over the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir. Last May, India discovered an incursion from Pakistan into the Kargil sector of Indian Kashmir. In December, Kashmiri militants hijacked an Indian Airlines aircraft on a flight from Kathmandu to New Delhi. Tension over Kashmir is endemic in the Indo-Pakistani relationship and can evolve quickly into a full-blown crisis threatening a wider, and ultimately much more destructive, war between India and Pakistan that could result in the use of nuclear weapons.

Possession of nuclear weapons by these two adversaries will be a part of the landscape for the foreseeable future. Indeed, such weapons will become more entrenched in these countries as they develop military doctrine and command and control procedures for their potential use. Both India and Pakistan have made it clear that they will continue to develop their nuclear weapons and missiles capable of delivering them. We expect to see more ballistic missile tests in the region; there may be another round of nuclear tests. Pakistan and India might well themselves become sources of technology for yet other countries bent on acquiring nuclear and missile capabilities.

Latin America. A decade into the democracy and market revolution, the vast majority of Latin Americans have experienced little or no improvement in living conditions. Recent economic troubles have fueled unemployment, crime, and poverty, undermining the commitment of many Latin Americans to free-market economic liberalization. While Latin Americans are committed in principle to democracy, many question how successful democracy has been in their own countries because of slow progress in alleviating wide social inequities and in curbing corruption. These concerns have raised fears among some observers that disillusioned Latin Americans will turn to authoritarian governments to improve their economic situations and reduce crime.

That said, Latin American democracies have proved resilient in the face of economic crises, and all ideological alternatives to democratic government remain discredited. Although Ecuador's fragile democratic institutions are under tremendous pressure because of its ongoing economic and political crises, recent developments in that country show that Latin American militaries are fully aware that overt intervention risks international opprobrium and sanctions, and they will therefore favor solutions that maintain at least a semblance of constitutional continuity. Another concern is that legitimately elected leaders could assume authoritarian powers with popular support. Peruvian President Fujimori provided a model with his "self- coup" in 1992, and Venezuela under President Chavez bears careful watching. In none of the other major countries of Latin America Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico is democracy threatened in the short or medium term.

In Cuba, an aging Fidel Castro refuses to make concessions toward a more open political system, and Cuba's overall human rights record remains the worst in the hemisphere. There is little sign of significant economic reform. The flow of refugees seeking relief from repressive conditions continues. With no real provision for succession beyond more of the same, with Raul Castro at the helm the departure of Fidel could usher in a period of greater instability under a less charismatic leader, possibly leading to further mass migration and internal violence.

Africa. African political and economic crises frequently threaten U.S. efforts to promote democratization, human rights, the rule of law, and economic development. Crime and terrorism thrive in some of Africa's unstable and impoverished nations. Appeals for the United States to assist humanitarian relief programs and peacekeeping operations are strong and growing.

In Angola, the government continues to straggle against UNITA. Renewed fighting, now reaching to the border with Namibia, increasingly entangles Angola's neighbors in this decades-long civil war.

A peace agreement for the Democratic Republic of the Congo was signed in Lusaka in August 1999, but implementation has been slow. Continuing cease-fire violations, the involvement of neighboring countries, and the injection of arms and other assistance from outside the region make this conflict potentially the most destabilizing in Africa.

Further east, Burundi faces heightened ethnic tensions. Nelson Mandela chairs a peace process, but the high degree of distrust among the many factions makes his task difficult. Renewed genocide in Burundi and neighboring Rwanda remains a possibility.

Sudan, after 16 years of civil war that has generated an estimated 4 million internally displaced persons and 360,000 refugees, is experiencing renewed tensions within its governing political elite. It remains a haven for terrorists.

Ethiopia and Eritrea continue to rearm and prepare to resume their conflict over a disputed border. A renewal of this conflict has the potential to be, by far, the most lethal in Africa.

In West Africa, Sierra Leone struggles to make a peace process work with UN support. Its neighbors worry that renewed civil war could adversely affect their stability. The recent coup in Cote d'Ivoire illustrates the fragility of democracy and the threat inherent in corruption and the exclusion of regional, tribal, and religious groups from the political process. Good governance alone might not be enough to prevent conflict. Current levels of economic expansion may be insufficient to cope with growing populations and a sharp decline in foreign assistance. Poorly implemented reforms could unleash such simmering problems as interethnic violence.

In closing, it is worth mentioning that an additional threat to U.S. interests would be a failure to commit the necessary resources to address the range of threats noted above. From the perspective of INR, we cannot defend against these many threats to U.S. interests by force alone, or by acting alone. We need the help of others. The ability of the United States to carry out a strong, effective diplomacy on behalf of its interests is an important part of our national security strategy. In this respect, shortchanging America's foreign assistance programs, or America's diplomatic presence overseas (260 missions, representing 30 federal agencies), would represent a long-term threat to our national interest. What is unique about this particular threat is that it is one exclusively within the power of the United States to address and resolve.