President Requests $58.6 Billion for Overseas Contingencies
By Jim Garamone American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 27, 2014 – President Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget request for overseas contingency operations is significantly less than last year, but still provides the resources needed to protect the United States and its interests, Defense Department officials said.
The request calls for $58.6 billion for the Defense Department in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2014.
“This is nearly $21 billion less than last year’s OCO request, representing a 26 percent reduction in OCO funding as our nation concludes 13 years of war and our mission in Afghanistan transitions to a training, advisory, and assistance role post-2014,” Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a written statement issued yesterday.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel fully supports the request, saying it protects the broad range of U.S. national security interests.
The request funds temporary and extraordinary expenses associated with military operations in Afghanistan. It also funds counterterrorism efforts.
The request covers funding for DOD, the State Department and other government agencies not covered by the base budgets of these organizations.
The request covers some high-profile and quick-trigger initiatives.
It calls for $5 billion for the Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund. The fund builds on authorities to respond to a range of terrorist threats and crisis response scenarios. It is designed to help build the counterterrorism capacity of partner states from South Asia to the Sahel.
If approved $500 million will be used to train and equip appropriately vetted elements of the moderate Syrian armed opposition. This would allow moderates in the country to defend themselves against attacks by the Assad regime and would weaken extremists groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.
In light of Russian actions regarding Ukraine, the budget request calls for $1 billion for the president’s proposed European Reassurance Initiative.
“These funds will help us improve the security of our NATO allies and partner states by increasing exercises, improving European infrastructure and allowing us to enhance the prepositioning of U.S. equipment in Europe,” Kirby said in the statement.
The request does reflect the transition in Afghanistan, according to officials. The costs are dropping, but not precipitously. The department will still incur significant costs to transport personnel, supplies and equipment back to their home stations.
Funding is also needed to sustain Afghan security forces.
Officials said that funding will help the U.S. military re-set from over a decade of fighting to repair and replace equipment and munitions.
Congress must pass the OCO request.