Committee on Foreign Affairs

Ed Royce

Subcommittee Hearing: Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi: Our Marine in Mexican Custody

2014/10/01

Chairman Royce on the hearing:  “We should never forget the sacrifices men and women in uniform have made.  U.S. Marine Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi’s combat-related PTSD is a life-threatening condition he acquired in defense of his country while serving on the battlefields of Afghanistan, and he needs to return to the United States for specific and urgent treatment.    I have maintained my respect for Mexico’s laws and sovereignty throughout, but since visiting Sgt. Tahmooressi at his prison in Mexico, I have become more committed than ever to ensuring his immediate release on humanitarian grounds.  Sgt. Tahmooressi is an American hero, whose wrong turn at the Mexican border has had the devastating effect of delaying his much-needed PTSD treatment for too long.”  Chairman Salmon on the hearing:  “As Congress begins to contemplate once again committing our nation's servicemen and women to the fight against terrorism, it is incumbent on us to stand by our heroes when they return home.  As a direct result of his honorable service in Afghanistan, U.S. Marine Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi now suffers from combat related PTSD.  Tragically, instead of receiving the treatment he needs, he is being held in a Mexican prison.  As a Member of Congress it is my obligation and duty to protect heroes like Andrew who have suffered the ravages of war in service to our nation. I'm convening this hearing to honor his service and work to ensure his immediate release so that he can receive the treatment he needs.”

Witnesses:

Mrs. Jill Tahmooressi (Mother of Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi)

Lieutenant Commander Montel B. Williams, USN, Retired (Veterans Advocate)

 

***Any changes to witness list will be reflected above.

Read More

Chairman Royce Welcomes Afghanistan’s Unity Government

2014/09/21

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement on Afghanistan’s election results:

"Afghanistan will now transition from one elected leader to another.  The Afghan people can be proud of the role they played.  The election, especially the tabulation, has been rough, but there is cause for hope, if things change.  After nearly 13 years under the failed policies of the Karzai administration, Afghanistan desperately needs a fresh start with a new leader and innovative ideas.

"It is now time for all parties to set aside their differences, abide by their commitments to form a national-unity government, and embrace a set of common goals to achieve a stable Afghanistan.  Afghanistan otherwise will be a failed state, with disastrous consequences for Afghans, and greater dangers to U.S. national security.

"President-elect Ghani must confront many challenges, including rampant corruption, revenue shortfalls, and a very challenging security situation.  I look forward to working with him and Abdullah Abdullah to ensure that Afghanistan remains a key security partner of the United States."

###

Read More

Royce, McCaul, Duncan Request Review of State Department’s Plans to Construct New Security Training Center

2014/09/19

Proposal from DHS May Improve Diplomatic Security in a More Effective, Efficient, and Timely Manner

Washington, D.C. – This week, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency, called on Secretary of State John Kerry to put on hold the Department’s current plans to construct a costly new Foreign Affairs Security Training Center (FAST-C) while their requested Government Accountability Office (GAO) review is completed.

In order to ensure critically important improvements to embassy and diplomatic security are completed in the most effective, efficient, and timely manner, Royce, McCaul, and Duncan have requested a GAO review of the State Department’s pending proposal to construct the new FAST-C in Blackstone, Virginia and the Homeland Security Department’s proposal to expand its own Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia to meet the State Department’s needs.  The Homeland Security Department estimates that its proposal would save U.S. taxpayers nearly $1 billion over ten years.

While there is an urgent need to increase and improve diplomatic security training following the deadly terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, and the rising anti-American militancy in North Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and elsewhere, the State Department’s proposed brand new FASTC would not be completed for at least 5 years at a cost of $450-$900 million.  The GAO review will determine whether DHS’s FLETC is an already operating suitable alternative.      

In their letter to Secretary Kerry, Royce, McCaul, and Duncan wrote:  “By leveraging existing facilities to meet State’s training needs, FLETC estimates its proposal could save the U.S. government almost $1 billion over 10 years.  With such a substantial amount of projected cost savings, we believe it is critical that FLETC’s estimate receive thorough consideration and a full, independent analysis…. It is critical that an independent and unbiased analysis be conducted to determine which agency’s proposal offers the required training at the best value to the American taxpayer.”

The signed letter to Kerry is HERE.  The signed letter to U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro is HERE.

The text of the two letters follows:

The Honorable John F. Kerry Secretary of State U.S. Department of State 2201 C Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20520

Dear Mr. Secretary:

We are writing to express our concerns regarding the Department’s plan to move forward with construction of the new Foreign Affairs Security Training Center (“FAST-C”) at Fort Pickett in Blackstone, Virginia.  Our Committees have asked the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) to review the proposals put forward by the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) and the Department of State (“State”) to determine which proposal meets the State’s security training requirements in the most effective, efficient, and timely manner.  Our Committees request that State not move forward and expend any funding for development at the Fort Pickett site until the GAO review is complete.

Embassy security and the safety of U.S. personnel abroad are areas of great concern to us.  Over the past two years, our Committees have conducted oversight through full Committee hearings and staff briefings, and we assess that the State Department’s existing Diplomatic Security (“DS”) training facilities may be insufficient to meet recommendations put forward by the Accountability Review Board (ARB) that was convened following the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi.  Specifically, we are concerned about the implementation of the ARB’s recommendations that State develop courses for DS agents and other State personnel integrating high-threat training and risk-management decision processes and provide Foreign Affairs Counter Threat (FACT) training for all personnel assigned to high-risk, high-threat posts.

We understand that State, in an effort to comply with these ARB recommendations, has proposed that the General Services Administration (GSA) construct a new FASTC at Fort Pickett, an Army National Guard facility in Blackstone, VA. This proposal aims to consolidate State’s eleven security training facilities, improve instructional efficiency, and provide training to an estimated 9,000-10,000 DS and other State personnel.  The initial cost for this project was over $950 million, but a reduction in scope lowered that estimate to approximately $907 million and then to $460 million, including a commensurate reduction in projected capabilities. We understand from State that the cost could change further.

We are mindful, however, that DHS already operates FLETC, which provides security training for DHS and 91 law enforcement and military partner agencies and organizations including DS. FLETC currently possesses extensive existing infrastructure that could be expanded and upgraded – including construction of new buildings, weapon ranges, and driving tracks – to meet the requirements in State’s original plan at a cost of $272 million.  By leveraging existing facilities to meet State’s training needs, FLETC estimates its proposal could save the U.S. government almost $1 billion over 10 years.  With such a substantial amount of projected cost savings, we believe it is critical that FLETC’s estimate receive thorough consideration and a full, independent analysis.

We are further concerned by the widely differing cost estimates provided by State and DHS to satisfy State’s security training needs.  Our Committees have received varying information about which requirements are critical to improving the safety of personnel and facilities overseas and how each proposal would satisfy those requirements.  It is critical that an independent and unbiased analysis be conducted to determine which agency’s proposal offers the required training at the best value to the American taxpayer.

Last year, in the annual State Reauthorization legislation (H.R. 2848) the House conveyed its bipartisan desire to see an independent analysis precede any expenditure of funding.  It is our understanding that the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) has reviewed both State and DHS proposals and our Committees have repeatedly requested access to any documentation related to the OMB review.  Unfortunately, the Administration has not responded to those requests. Instead, the General Services Administration (GSA) recently posted a notice for a supplemental environmental impact statement to be conducted on State’s Fort Pickett site. This indicates State’s intent to expend existing funds to move forward with FASTC without additional analysis of alternative sites, including FLETC, which the GAO study would provide.

We look forward to seeing the results of the GAO review and trust that the Department will not embark on such an expensive undertaking without allowing for the completion of a thorough, transparent, and unbiased review process.

The Honorable Gene Dodaro Comptroller General U.S. Government Accountability Office 441 G Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20548

Dear Mr. Dodaro:

We understand that the Department of State (“State”) is moving forward with plans to construct a new Foreign Affairs Security Training Center (“FAST-C”) in Blackstone, Virginia.  The selection of the Fort Pickett site comes after more than a decade of failed proposals to develop property at other sites in the Washington-Metro area and the inability to expand current use at the Bill Scott Raceway in Summit Point, West Virginia.  The Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) has submitted a proposal to the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) to retrofit an existing law enforcement training center in Glynco, GA (the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center or “FLETC”) to service the Department of State’s needs.  The FAST-C and FLETC proposals vary considerably in cost, scope, and projected completion time, which we believe warrant an impartial review before the Administration moves forward with either.   

It is our understanding that State has proposed that the General Services Administration (GSA) construct a new FAST-C at Fort Pickett, an Army National Guard facility in Blackstone, VA. This proposal aims to consolidate State’s eleven security training facilities, improve instructional efficiency, and provide training to an estimated 9,000-10,000 Diplomatic Security (“DS”) and other State personnel.  The initial cost for this project was over $950 million, but a reduction in scope lowered that estimate to approximately $907 million and then to $460 million. We understand from State that the cost could change further.

DHS already operates FLETC in Glynco, GA, which provides security training for DHS and 91 law enforcement and military partner agencies and organizations.  DHS has proposed to expand and upgrade the current FLETC facility – including construction of new buildings, weapon ranges, and driving tracks – to meet the requirements in State’s original plan at a cost of $272 million.  By leveraging its existing facilities to meet State’s training needs, FLETC estimates its proposal could save the U.S. government almost $1 billion over 10 years.  With such a substantial amount of projected cost savings, we believe it is critical that FLETC’s estimate receive thorough consideration and a full, independent analysis.

We thereby request that the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) review both the Department of State’s FAST-C proposal and the DHS proposal to expand the existing FLETC site to meet State’s requirements.  A review should consider the strengths, weaknesses, and risks of each agency’s existing capabilities, proposed new infrastructure, and any other relevant tangible factors.

In order to ensure the highest quality security training is provided at the best price to the American taxpayer, we request that GAO address the following questions during its review: 1.      Does the State Department have a strategic capital planning process and, if so, how does it conform to leading practices and how do its plans for a new DS training center fit into it?

2.      What requirements has the State Department established for a new DS training center, and how do the different proposals, such as the status quo, FAST-C, FLETC, and others fulfill those requirements?

3.      To what extent do the cost estimates for the project conform to leading practices?

4.      What are the potential consequences of any changes in scope being considered for the project on the effectiveness of State Department training and for meeting project requirements?  

###

Read More

A Look Ahead — Through October 1

2014/09/19

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, announced the following upcoming Committee events:

Wednesday, October 1

Subcommittee Hearing: Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi:  Our Marine in Mexican Custody

10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, October 1 in 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere

Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Chairman

Invited Witnesses Include:

Mrs. Jill Tahmooressi (Mother of Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi)

Lieutenant Commander Montel B. Williams, USN, Retired   (Veterans Advocate)

Chairman Royce on the hearing: “We should never forget the sacrifices men and women in uniform have made.  U.S. Marine Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi’s combat-related PTSD is a life-threatening condition he acquired in defense of his country while serving on the battlefields of Afghanistan, and he needs to return to the United States for specific and urgent treatment.    I have maintained my respect for Mexico’s laws and sovereignty throughout, but since visiting Sgt. Tahmooressi at his prison in Mexico, I have become more committed than ever to ensuring his immediate release on humanitarian grounds.  Sgt. Tahmooressi is an American hero, whose wrong turn at the Mexican border has had the devastating effect of delaying his much-needed PTSD treatment for too long.”

Chairman Salmon on the hearing: “As Congress begins to contemplate once again committing our nation's servicemen and women to the fight against terrorism, it is incumbent on us to stand by our heroes when they return home.  As a direct result of his honorable service in Afghanistan, U.S. Marine Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi now suffers from combat related PTSD.  Tragically, instead of receiving the treatment he needs, he is being held in a Mexican prison.  As a Member of Congress it is my obligation and duty to protect heroes like Andrew who have suffered the ravages of war in service to our nation. I'm convening this hearing to honor his service and work to ensure his immediate release so that he can receive the treatment he needs.”

***See www.foreignaffairs.house.gov for updates.

***Coverage note: All Foreign Affairs Committee proceedings are webcast live at www.foreignaffairs.house.gov/live-video-feed.

###

Read More

Chairman Royce Statement on Scotland’s Independence Referendum

2014/09/19

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement on the results of Scotland’s independence referendum:

“This is a welcome vote.  The Scottish people’s decision to remain part of the United Kingdom will allow our robust cooperation on security, humanitarian, and economic issues to continue uninterrupted.  I look forward to further deepening the exceptional relations between our countries.”

Read More

Subcommittee Hearing: Islamist Foreign Fighters Returning Home and the Threat to Europe

2014/09/19

View Archive Hearing Video:

Chairman Rohrabacher on the hearing: “Evidence indicates that hundreds of British, French and German citizens, among many others,  are currently fighting  for Islamist groups in Syria. This hearing will review the potential for these fighters to travel back to their home countries in Europe and Russia and to carry out additional attacks. How are European countries addressing the threat, and how can the US assist in those efforts to thwart future terrorist attacks?”

Witnesses:

Mr. Thomas Joscelyn Senior Fellow Foundation for Defense of Democracies[full text of statement][truth in testimony form]  Ms. Farah Pandith Fisher Family Fellow Belfer Center Harvard Kennedy School of Government (Former U.S. Special Representative to Muslim Communities)[full text of statement][truth in testimony form]

 

***Any changes to witness list will be reflected above.

Read More

Chairman Royce Applauds House Passage of Anti-Semitism Measure

2014/09/19

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement on the House of Representatives unanimous passage of H. Res. 707, which condemns all forms of anti-Semitism and rejects attempts to justify anti-Jewish hatred or violent attacks.  Chairman Royce said: “The global rise in anti-Semitic violence is very troubling.  Jews throughout the world have been attacked on the street, synagogues have been bombed, cemeteries desecrated, Jewish groups have received hate mail, and anti-Semitic slogans have been spray-painted on buildings.  Political and religious leaders must resolutely condemn these attacks on Jewish communities and make clear they will not be tolerated.”

###

Read More

Chairman Royce, Foreign Affairs Committee to Examine Obama Administration ISIS Strategy TODAY

2014/09/18

Secretary Kerry to Testify

Washington, D.C. – Today at 11:30 a.m., Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, will convene a hearing to question Secretary of State John Kerry about the President’s recently announced strategy on ISIS.  The hearing is entitled “The ISIS Threat:  Weighing the Obama Administration’s Response.”     Live webcast and witness testimony is available HERE.   Below is Chairman Royce’s opening statement as prepared for delivery at the hearing:  This morning we welcome Secretary Kerry back to the Committee to weigh the Obama Administration’s response to the ISIL threat.   And a threat it certainly is.  Never has a terrorist organization occupied such a sanctuary.  Never has one had the access to such abundant natural resources.  Never has a terrorist organization possessed the heavy weaponry, cash and personnel that ISIL does today.  Its brutality is unmatched.   This Committee – on a bipartisan basis – has been pushing the Administration to confront this threat. For months, I pressed the Administration for drone strikes as the terrorist columns advanced on Iraqi cities.  That’s what the Iraqis wanted; and that’s what many in our Embassy in Baghdad wanted.  Ranking Member Engel has been pushing to arm the rebels for years – that’s what the President’s entire national security team wanted, including General David Petraeus when he headed the CIA.  Frankly, the White House’s hesitancy has put us in a deeper hole.   But here we are.   We agree on the steps that will turn the tables on ISIL: pushing Maliki to the side to give Iraqis a chance at representative government; aid our allies from the air – giving the Kurdish peshmerga and many Iraqi units the backing they need to confront ISIL; and using the other elements against this wretched terrorist group.   And it is good that we have finally acknowledged that we do have a partner on the ground in Aleppo, Syria, just not one that is adequately trained and supplied to take on a formidable ISIL and the Hezbollah-backed regime in Damascus.  ISIL has to be attacked in Syria.  Yesterday’s House vote was a first step, and we trust that you will be in close touch with the Committee as you get this training program off the ground.  So it’s us in the air, and local Kurdish and Arab units providing the combat troops on the ground.   And the Administration is right to get as many others in the region and from around the world to step up.  This isn’t just our fight.  The Secretary is just returning from a trip to the region and has been talking with many nations.  Some will contribute cash, others intelligence or military support.  But we’d like to hear more about these pledges of support.  Just who will be bringing what to the table?  How firm is their resolve?  And while we are aware of the plight of the Turkish diplomats being held in Mosul - Turkey, a NATO ally, isn’t pulling its weight.   Of course not all in the region will play a constructive role – Qatar comes to mind.  And the Committee certainly doesn’t see Iran doing anything other than what it has always done – bring destruction to the region.  We look forward to meeting with General Allen, who you just appointed as the Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, to discuss these and other issues.   The ISIL threat is a dramatic wake-up call.  While some claimed that the threats to the United States were receding, the reality is that a tidal wave of militancy has been cresting.   The good news is that the President has now acknowledged that this threat must be confronted. We must have a sustained commitment that only the commander-in-chief can marshal.  This hearing will be one of many to evaluate the Administration’s resolve and strategy to defeat this threat.

###

Read More

Chairman Royce Welcomes President Poroshenko of Ukraine

2014/09/18

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, will serve on the Escort Committee to welcome the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, to address a Joint Session of Congress.  Chairman Royce issued the following statement on President Poroshenko’s official visit to the United States:  “President Poroshenko’s historic address to a joint session of Congress is a clear reaffirmation of the determination of the United States and Ukraine to oppose Russian aggression and secure Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity.  Russia and the separatist forces it controls have repeatedly violated the current cease-fire and threaten to reignite the conflict in eastern Ukraine.  Russian President Vladimir Putin can end this tragedy by quickly withdrawing Russian military forces from Ukraine and instructing the separatists to lay down their weapons.  The U.S., its allies, and other nations around the world must work together to pressure Putin to restore peace and ensure that aggression is never rewarded.”  Note: Yesterday, on the House floor, Chairman Royce spoke in support of H. Res. 726, which supports the right of the people of Ukraine to freely determine their future, including their country’s relationship with other nations and international organizations, without interference, intimidation, or coercion by other countries.  Video of the Chairman’s floor remarks is available HERE.

###

Read More

Joint Subcommittee Hearing: The Struggles of Recovering Assets for Holocaust Survivors

2014/09/18

View Archive Hearing Video:

Chairman Ros-Lehtinen's Opening Statement:

Chairman Rohrabacher's Opening Statement:

Witnesses:

Chairman Ros-Lehtinen Questions Witnesses:

Mr. Jack Rubin (Holocaust Survivor)[full text of statement][truth in testimony form]                                 Ms. Klara Firestone (Daughter of Holocaust Survivors) [no prepared statement submitted][truth in testimony form]

Barbara Paris, M.D. (Physician who focuses on the care of Holocaust Survivors)[full text of statement] [truth in testimony form]

Ms. Eugenie Lieberman (Daughter of Holocaust Survivor)[full text of statement][truth in testimony form]

 

***Any changes to witness list will be reflected above.

Read More

There is no media available for this committee.

Contact Information


Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-226-8467
Fax 202-226-7269
foreignaffairs.house.gov


Membership

Mo Brooks

ALABAMA's 5th DISTRICT

Steve Chabot

OHIO's 1st DISTRICT

Doug Collins

GEORGIA's 9th DISTRICT

Paul Cook

CALIFORNIA's 8th DISTRICT

Tom Cotton

ARKANSAS' 4th DISTRICT

Ron DeSantis

FLORIDA's 6th DISTRICT

Jeff Duncan

SOUTH CAROLINA's 3rd DISTRICT

George Holding

NORTH CAROLINA's 13th DISTRICT

Adam Kinzinger

ILLINOIS' 16th DISTRICT

Tom Marino

PENNSYLVANIA's 10th DISTRICT

Michael McCaul

TEXAS' 10th DISTRICT

Mark Meadows

NORTH CAROLINA's 11th DISTRICT

Luke Messer

INDIANA's 6th DISTRICT

Scott Perry

PENNSYLVANIA's 4th DISTRICT

Ted Poe

TEXAS' 2nd DISTRICT

Dana Rohrabacher

CALIFORNIA's 48th DISTRICT

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

FLORIDA's 27th DISTRICT

Ed Royce

CALIFORNIA's 39th DISTRICT

Matt Salmon

ARIZONA's 5th DISTRICT

Christopher Smith

NEW JERSEY's 4th DISTRICT

Steve Stockman

TEXAS' 36th DISTRICT

Randy Weber

TEXAS' 14th DISTRICT

Joe Wilson

SOUTH CAROLINA's 2nd DISTRICT

Ted Yoho

FLORIDA's 3rd DISTRICT