SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you. Chairman Risch, thank you. Senator Menendez, Ranking Member, thank you, sir.
In my testimony yesterday to the Appropriations Committee, I took a few moments to describe the administration’s greatest foreign policy challenges, what we’ve done to solve them, how we’ve benefited the American people by doing so. And I want to spend a few minutes talking about that same set of issues here with you all this morning.
When we took office, we inherited the most complex set of threats that the United States of America has faced since World War II.
We faced a China that was turning toward authoritarianism, turning away from market liberalization, and turning the screws on its minority populations in a truly Orwellian fashion.
We faced an Iranian regime that, flush with cash from the nuclear deal, set about seeding terror from Yemen to Syria to Lebanon and beyond.
We faced a Russia that felt no compunction about invading Ukraine, seizing Crimea, meddling in our elections, and breaking arms-control treaties.
We faced a North Korea that continued to pursue its nuclear and missile proliferation threats to our nation.
And we faced a terror threat that was more deadly and stretched across a far wider geography.
What did we do?
First, the Trump administration recognized and faced reality. We know we can’t make sound policy based on wishful thinking. We can’t lead from behind.
We leveled with the American people and our friends and partners about the threats that we face, individually and collectively. This honesty produced growing bipartisan consensus on Capitol Hill about the need to confront Chinese aggression.
It produced a unanimous consensus inside of NATO that arms-control agreements like the INF Treaty are worthless if only one party adheres to their terms. It produced international support for the brave people of Venezuela.
Basing policy on reality, we recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. We recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. It’s why the State Department designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terror organization on Monday. It’s just a simple recognition of reality.
Second, we used creative diplomacy to build coalitions to confront our enemies. We know we can’t – nor should we – do everything ourselves.
We convinced our NATO allies to spend more on their own defense. We rallied the Defeat ISIS coalition to dismantle the caliphate in Iraq and Syria. We convened over 60 countries in Warsaw to discuss common threats and shared opportunities in the Middle East – and that included both Arab and Israeli leaders talking to each other. We’re getting our Middle East Strategic Alliance off the ground. And we have built out an Indo-Pacific strategy to do a true pivot to Asia.
We’ve supported our hemispheric partners in the OAS and the Lima Group as they work to support the Venezuelan people. And we’ve forged a global coalition at the United Nations to impose the toughest-ever sanctions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
So what’d we get? Third, what are the outcomes? This administration promised to dismantle the caliphate and we’ve done it. We promised to confront China for its unfair trade practices and call them out on human rights violations. We’ve done that, too. We promised to exit the Iran nuclear deal to exert pressure on Tehran to change its murderous ways. Still more work to do.
We’re working every day to protect our citizens at home and abroad, advance American prosperity and values, and support our allies and partners overseas.
Finally, one point. Each of you, too, in your opening remarks alluded – so when I became the Secretary of State, I promised I would put diplomacy at the forefront of defending U.S. national security to give State its swagger back. I think we’ve made a lot of progress.
Here’s what we’ve done. It’s been 11 months and a couple weeks now.
I lifted the hiring freeze, both on our team and employee family members. This was a no-brainer, taking 2,000 talented people and putting them back in the workforce.
We reinstituted promotion rates for the Foreign Service. We’ll have more Foreign Service officers by the end of this calendar year than ever in the history of the United States of America. The notion that we’ve been hollowed out is simply not factually based. New Foreign Service Officer and Foreign Service Specialist classes are being admitted.
Fifty-five senior leaders have been confirmed by the Senate. I appreciate that.
I hold small group events, both when I’m traveling at embassies, I do in Washington and other places where State Department has officials. We call them “Meet with Mike,” where I hear directly from our team. And more importantly, I get to hear the things that we’re doing well and the things that they wish we were doing still better. I’ve learned a great deal from these professionals.
Back in the States, I’ve traveled a bit, traveling around the country, talking about the importance of diplomacy in America and, frankly, doing some recruiting work as well to make sure we have America’s finest joining our team.
At my recommendation, President Trump and the Senate recognized four individuals with the rank of career ambassador: David Hale, Phil Goldberg, Michele Sison, Dan Smith, who leads our Foreign Service Institute. The rest of our team knows that they can look up to these true diplomatic professionals.
I have a lot more to say, but I’ll end there. I look forward to discussing the administration’s foreign policy and the $40 billion budget request for the State Department and USAID for Fiscal Year 2020.
Thank you. I look forward to your questions.