Bush Administration to Request $80 Billion SupplementalBy Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2005 - The Bush administration intends to ask Congress for an estimated $80 billion budget supplemental, most of it to help cover the costs of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. and defense officials announced today.
The anticipated funding request is in addition to the $25 billion Congress approved last summer in the fiscal 2005 defense appropriations bill, and senior defense officials told military analysts today it is the last supplemental request expected this fiscal year.
In announcing the request today, President Bush said it will help the United States maintain two pledges: to provide U.S. troops "whatever they need to protect themselves and complete their mission," and to stand with the Iraqi people and against their terrorist oppressors.
"This supplemental budget request will fulfill these important pledges and again makes clear to terrorists that our resolve is firm and we will complete our mission," the president said.
Details of the supplemental request are still being worked out, but White House officials said $75 billion of the request will support ongoing operations in the global war on terror through the rest of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.
"Most of these funds will support American troops on the ground by continuing to provide them with the equipment and other supplies they need," Bush said. "The request also provides for the continued pursuit of al Qaeda and other terrorist elements in Afghanistan and elsewhere," while supporting Afghanistan's "great progress."
Like previous supplemental requests, the anticipated request will cover basic war costs such as military personnel and operational costs, a senior official told the analysts.
In addition, it will provide funds required to repair or replace war-torn military equipment, build three more modular Army brigades and continue progress in training and equipping Iraqi and Afghan security forces, the official said.
Officials said the funding will enable the Army to maintain or replace equipment that's been subject to excessive wear and tear and to replace equipment too expensive to repair. "We get about four years of war on equipment for every year it is deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan," an Army official said.
The supplemental will also enable the Army to bring the number of brigade combat teams to a total of 39 by the end of the fiscal year.
A small portion of the supplemental will cover military construction, including housing, tactical equipment shops and support needs for deployed units in Southwest Asia.
Officials said they're confident the supplemental, if approved, will cover basic operational needs associated with the war on terror, particularly in the U.S. Central Command area of operation.
"It's exactly what we need in order to maintain the force as we take this effort further in Iraq and Afghanistan," an official said.
The balance of the request - about $5 billion - will cover State Department embassy construction and operations in Iraq, support for critical partners in the war on terror, and the humanitarian crisis in Sudan's Darfur region, as well as other activities, officials said.
The administration is expected to submit the supplemental request to Congress shortly after Feb. 7, when the president delivers his fiscal 2006 budget request.
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