Pentagon Seeks $10 Billion Shift for War Costs
The U.S. Defense Department is asking Congress for permission to shift $9.6 billion this year to pay for higher-than-expected war costs and other expenses.
The Pentagon has made two requests to transfer funding for fiscal 2013, which ends Sept. 30, as part of a process known as reprogramming, according to documents Comptroller Robert Hale submitted last week to congressional defense committees. Separately, he also submitted a war-funding request for fiscal 2014.
The larger reprogramming request totals $9 billion, while another for intelligence programs amounts to $617 million. The move would fund shortfalls in war-related costs, including removing equipment from Afghanistan, by decreasing funding for ground combat vehicles, helicopters, aircraft, radios and network systems, among other items.
“This reprogramming action provides funding in support of higher priority items, based on unforseen military requirements,” it states.
The Defense Department this year is projected to spend $574 billion. That figure, which includes a base budget and separate funding for the war, known as oversees contingency operations, is about $41 billion less than what it originally sought due to automatic budget cuts that took effect in March. Now, the military says it needs to transfer funds within accounts to make up for the shortfall.
The Army wants to cut $306 million from aircraft procurement by reducing funding to build and upgrade AH-64 Apache helicopters made by Chicago-based Boeing Co., among other programs.
The service also plans to trim $270 million from weapons and tracked vehicle procurement in part by trimming funding for Stryker combat vehicles made by Falls Church, Va.-based General Dynamics Corp. and Paladin howitzers made by a unit of London-based BAE Systems Plc.
The Army would remove $762 million from another procurement account by scaling back funding for medium– and heavy-duty trucks made by Oshkosh, Wis.-based Oshkosh Corp., and for a battlefield communications network, also being developed by General Dynamics, among other programs.
The Navy wants reduce funding for personnel, operations and maintenance, and procurement, including radios, munitions and aircraft such as the H-53 series of helicopters made by Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., part of United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn.
The Air Force plans to cut $283 million in funding for aircraft procurement, including the C-130 cargo plane made by Lockheed Martin Corp., B-1 bomber made by Boeing, the F-15 fighter jet also made by Boeing, and the MQ-9 Reaper drone made by San Diego-based General Atomics.
In fiscal 2014, which begins Oct. 1, the Pentagon plans to spend a total of $606 billion. That figure includes a base budget of $526.6 billion and $79.4 billion for the war in Afghanistan, according to figures the department disclosed on May 20. It doesn’t include the next round of automatic cuts, known as sequestration, which may total as much as $51 billion.
Next year’s budget request for the war is $7.1 billion, or 8.2 percent, less than this year’s. The war funding wasn’t specified when the department unveiled its budget last month because officials were still determining how quickly to wind down the war in Afghanistan. The number of U.S. troops in the country is expected to decrease by half, to about 34,000, by February.
The funding will support training of the Afghan army and police, and the removal of U.S. supplies and equipment from the country, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said during a briefing with reporters.