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Supplemental Appropriations Analysis: Department of Defense April 16, 2009

Posted by dglaudemans in Uncategorized.
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def-f-22President Obama released his FY09 supplemental request last week asking for $83.4 billion to support ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The President requested $75.5 billion for the Defense Department and $7.1 billion for international affairs to support the State Department and USAID. This supplemental request begins to reflect the administration’s commitment to tighten the definition of supplemental funding to focus on needs directly related to combat-related activities Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Unlike previous supplementals, the administration’s request is not defined as “emergency” spending. Thus, Congress will have to decide to increase funding limits set in its original budget resolution or to designate its supplemental bill as emergency funding. The Obama administration supplemental also limited medical-care funding and non-war related personnel funding, returning these items back to the upcoming base defense budget. However, while the supplemental request limits non-war related procurement, it continues to request funding for some items that are not directly war-related. Below are highlights of the major areas of the supplemental request.

Acquisitions: Bush administration war-related supplemental requests often included funding for new equipment already in the long-range defense budget (FYDP). They also included funds to replace lost equipment with next-generation platforms. The Obama administration’s request largely breaks with this practice but does include a total of $23.3 billion for the procurement of vehicles, planes and other weapons. This includes $2.7 billion for the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle, upgrades to M1 tanks, modifications to F/A-18 aircraft, and additional UAVs. It also includes the acquisition of four F-22 Raptor aircraft at a total cost of $600 million.

Afghanistan Security Forces Fund: Reflecting the administration’s strategy to train Afghan security forces, the administration requested $3.6 billion for the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund. These funds provide equipment, supplies, and training and other services to the Afghan security forces. This program is parallel to the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) programs managed and budgeted at the State Department.

Coalition Support Funds: The supplemental request includes $1.1 billion to reimburse coalition nations supporting U.S. war efforts. Over the past five years Coalition Support Funds have primarily been used to reimburse Pakistan for logistical and military support provided to U.S. forces in the region. This program has been criticized for a lack of transparency and oversight.

Commander’s Emergency Response Program (CERP): The administration requested $500 million for the CERP program. CERP provides commanders in the field with cash to initiate and implement small-scale reconstruction projects in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Philippines. CERP grew significantly in past years and this $500 million request complements a $1.5 billion appropriation in the first FY 2009 supplemental (P.L. 110-252).

Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Fund (JIEDDO): The administration requested $1.5 billion for JIEDDO in the FY 2009 supplemental. JIEDDO develops ways to prevent IED attacks and limit their destruction. This is an ongoing R&D program that could be budgeted in the base budget.

Medical Care: Prior supplemental requests often included significant funding for long-term defense healthcare. The Obama budget continues this trend, seeking $900 million for medical and dental care for active, reserve units, and their families.

Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle (MRAP): The MRAP has been a success in reducing the impact of IEDs on soldiers. Its unique design deflects the blast from an IED away from the underbelly of the vehicle, limiting the number of casualties associated with IED attacks. The Obama administration requested $2.7 billion to procure additional MRAPs for use in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capabilities Fund: This new account would provide $400 million to the Department of Defense to provide equipment, supplies, training and other services, “to build the counterinsurgency capability of Pakistan’s military, Frontier Corps, and irregular security forces, and to respond to urgent humanitarian relief and reconstruction requirements…”. This fund would create another new DOD security assistance program that parallels existing capabilities at the State Department and USAID.

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