Pentagon: We Need War Funding After the Wars are Over by Jon Harper, Stars and Stripes
The U.S. military will need war funding for years to come, despite the fact that most troops will be out of Afghanistan by the end of this year, service officials told lawmakers Thursday.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, the Pentagon has received $1.5 trillion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as other special operational activities like disaster relief and evacuation efforts. Those “overseas contingency operations” funds come on top of the DOD base budgets, which are supposed to be used to fund procurement, training, maintenance, and other initiatives that the Pentagon undertakes in peacetime. The enacted base budget for fiscal 2014 was $496 billion, and DOD received $85 billion for OCO.
But the military has also been using OCO to train troops, refurbish and modernize its equipment, maintain bases and force presence outside of Afghanistan, and do other activities not directly related to the war effort. Pentagon leaders want that extra money to continue flowing in an era when Congress has put caps on the base budget. A final OCO request has not yet been made for fiscal 2015, but in budget documents, DOD listed $79 billion as a “placeholders” figure…