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Fiscal 2003 Budget Funds War on Terrorism, Transformation

By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 21, 2002 - President Bush's fiscal 2003 defense budget request funds the war on terrorism and transformation in both the near and long term, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told members of Congress today.

The budget request includes $379 billion, a $48 billion increase from the fiscal 2002 defense budget. Also on the table is a request for a $14 billion supplemental to the fiscal 2002 budget to cover unforeseen costs of the war on terrorism.

"Although this year's requested budget increase is large, virtually all of it is spoken for by a number of must-pay bills," Rumsfeld told members of the defense subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

He explained $19.4 billion of the fiscal 2003 budget would be earmarked for the war on terrorism. Rumsfeld said $9.4 billion would go to "a variety of programs related to the war, plus $10 billion which is essential to conduct the war effort and provide the minimum necessary flexibility to respond quickly to the changes in operations as the war unfolds."

He said the $10 billion figure is intended to cover counterterror operations through the first five to six months of fiscal 2003. He said no one can estimate the cost of as-yet unplanned operations with any certainty. The $10 billion allows operations to continue without affecting other accounts.

But the war on terrorism is only the first national priority funded in the 2003 budget request. "Second, we have to prepare for the wars we may have to fight later in this decade, ." Rumsfeld said. "Third, we have to be prepared for the wars in the future, between 2010 and beyond."

On Sept. 11, the nation "painfully learned" that its adversaries are transforming. "They're watching us; they're studying how were successfully attacked, how we responded," Rumsfeld said. "And they're looking for ways that we may be vulnerable in the future. And we stand still at our peril."

The secretary outlined for the senators six transformation goals that came out of reviews he ordered soon after taking office.

  • Protecting the homeland and deployed forces overseas.
  • Projecting and sustaining power in distant theaters.
  • Denying enemies sanctuary.
  • Protecting U.S. information networks from attack.
  • Using information technology to link up U.S. forces so they can fight jointly.
  • Maintaining unhindered access to space and protecting U.S. space capabilities from enemy attack.

"The president's 2003 budget request advances each of those transformational goals by accelerating transformation programs and funding the objectives," Rumsfeld said.

He defended the decision to terminate the Army's Crusader artillery program. Rumsfeld maintained he did not disregard the opinions of Army leaders who wanted to keep the system, but that it's his job to make those tough decisions.

"As we all know, resources are finite," Rumsfeld said. "And even with the significant increase in the budget proposal, these transformational investments cannot be made without terminating some programs and finding other savings."

He noted DoD will add $9.3 billion to the fiscal 2003 budget by terminating several programs, including the Navy's DD-21, the Navy Area Missile Defense system and 18 Army legacy programs.

"Let's face it, it would be nice to have retained them all, but choices have to be made," Rumsfeld said. "There's just no question about it."

He also outlined other areas that will receive significant funding under the president's budget request.

  • $71.9 billion for procurement.
  • $150 billion for operation and maintenance accounts, "including a substantial funding for the so-called readiness accounts of tank miles, steaming days, flying hours," Rumsfeld said.
  • $94 billion for military pay and allowances.
  • $10 billion for education, training and recruiting.
  • $22.8 billion to cover realistic estimates of the cost of military healthcare.
Rumsfeld called the amount spent on healthcare "breathtaking" and warned that amount "promises to grow and put pressure on all other categories of the budget."

He also further explained the $94 billion allocated for pay and allowances. He said that figure includes $1.9 billion for an across-the-board military pay raise of 4.1 percent and $300 million for targeted pay raises for mid-level officer and noncommissioned officer personnel.

Military housing will get a boost of $4.2 billion, "putting the department on track to eliminate most substandard housing by (fiscal) 2007," Rumsfeld said. He also said the average out-of-pocket housing expenses will drop from 11.3 to 7.5 percent in fiscal 2003 and be eliminated by 2005.

"If we're to win the war on terror and prepare for tomorrow, we have to take proper care of the department's greatest assets, which are the men and women in uniform. They joined because they love their country and they believe freedom's worth defending," Rumsfeld said.

"But at the same time we have to realize that they have families to support and children to educate," he said. "We already ask them to voluntarily risk their lives. They should not be asked to live in substandard housing while they do so."

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