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Afghan Defense Budget

The Afghan government relies on international funding for the vast majority of its security costs. The Afghan Security Forces Fund (ASFF) pays for most of the ANDSF’s sustainment, equipment, training, and infrastructure costs. Congress has increased annual appropriations for ASFF from $3.9 billion at the beginning of the Resolute Support mission in 2015 to $4.9 billion in 2019.

ANDSF Roadmap initiatives will require additional funding, placing the anticipated requirement for ASFF funding at or above $5 billion annually through at least 2023. When increased to its planned size, the ASSF will require approximately $1 billion annually to sustain. Growing and sustaining the AAF will cost approximately $11.4 billion over the FY 18 – FY 23 time period, including procurement of aircraft, sustainment, personnel, training, ammunition, fuel, and infrastructure. This is consistent with previous cost estimates. When grown to its planned capacity in FY 23, the AAF will require $1.8 billion annually to sustain.

The total amount required to fund the current ANDSF force structure is $6.0 billion annually, funded by contributions from the U.S. Afghanistan Security Forces Fund (ASFF), the Afghan government, the Law and Order Trust Fund – Afghanistan (LOTFA), and the NATO ANA Trust Fund Office (NATFO). The FY 2018 ASFF appropriation totals $4.667 billion, including $3.633 billion for the MoD (including funds for aviation modernization) and $1.034 billion for the MoI. The Afghan government will provide approximately $500 million primarily for food and subsistence. The remaining $789 million of ANDSF costs will be funded by international donors. The NATFO received $410 million in donations in 2017, a significant increase over the anticipated $380 million pledged for 2017.

The requirement to fund the current ANDSF force structure in fiscal year (FY) 2015 was $5.4 billion and is expected to decrease to approximately $5.0 billion in FY 2016. For FY 2015 the United States funded $4.1 billion of the estimated $5.4 billion cost of the ANDSF ($2.9 billion for the MoD and $1.2 billion for the MoI) through the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund (ASFF).

UNAMA [UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan] will be encouraging donors to invest in Afghanistan's reconstruction and security, rather than bear the costs of immigration. This situation cannot continue indefinitely – sooner or later the financial resources currently available to the country will decrease. Afghanistan needs to find a political route to peace.

Approximately $2.0 billion of the FY 2015 ASFF was provided directly to the Afghan government ($1.5 billion for the MoD and $500 million for the MoI) to fund salaries and incentive pay, equipment, facilities maintenance, and fuel costs. The other $2.1 billion of the FY 2015 ASFF is executed by DoD primarily through DoD contracts on Foreign Military Sales cases. The remaining $1.3 billion of ANDSF costs were funded by international donors ($923 million for ANP salaries, information technology, aviation training and maintenance, uniforms, and medical supplies) and the Afghan government ($419 million, primarily for food and subsistence).

Counter-corruption efforts are essential to maintaining international donor support. The persistence of incentives to hoard resources at all levels within the MoD, and the ANDSF overall, is changing incrementally as Afghans become accustomed to a demand-based, requirements-driven resource management system. In June 2015, the MoD began implementing its Ministerial Internal Controls Program by training staff on enforcing internal control mechanisms and conducting several oversight and accountability working groups independent of coalition advisory efforts.

The defense budget increased appreciably since 1956, along with the improvement of the armed forces. In fiscal year 1967 (covering the period March 21, 1966 to March 20, 1967) the military budget was about 810 million afghanis, or somewhat less than 20 percent of the total government expenditures. In fiscal year 1966 defense received approximately the same amount of funds. While relatively a heavy drain on the national economy, defense spending was still insufficient to support the armed forces without extensive augmentation from foreign sources.

The Afghan Government was required to pay for most arms and some of the economic assistance it received from the USSR with natural gas transfers. The Afghan Government reportedly paid for its arms imports and about one-third of its ecmomic aid from the USSR. The DRA paid for its military and economic aid largely through the sale of its natural gas. The Soviets took about 90 percent of Afghanistan‘s annual production, which reduced its debt to the Soviet Union by more than $300 million a year.

Arms transfers from the USSR to Afghanistan placed that country behind only Vietnam and Cuba in terms of value received by Marxist Third World states since the start of the Afghan war. Most arms deliveries consisted of ammunition, spare parts, and some replacement cquipment. Rcpiacement equipment is dif?cult to track, but that provided to the Afghans, while suf?cient to maintain Kabul's forces at their current size, was less sophisticated than that provided to most other arms clients in the Third World or used by the Soviets themselves in Afghanistan. Moreover, there were indications the Soviets were unwilling to replace all Afghan equipment that has been lost, stolen, or destroyed. In some cases, armored personnel carriers were replaced by less expensive trucks, probably because of the Afghan army‘s relatively poor record of caring for its equipment.

The Afghan economy and tax base cannot yet support the Afghan forces needed to relieve coalition forces of their security responsibilities. Between 2003 and 2007, the estimated military expenditure increased from US$61 million to US$161 million. The figure for 2006 was US$142 million. The entire annual Afghan defense budget does not cover one month of ANA expenditures. Based on counterinsurgency principles, the DNI said, it would require “roughly 818,000 security personnel to secure Afghanistan” including 325,000 personnel to secure the Pashtun areas where most insurgents are located. But there are currently only 83,094 soldiers in the Afghan National Army. To grow to 325,000 soldiers would require $946 million annually, well above the FY2008 Afghan defense budget of $242 million.

A 2014 report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute indicates that 23 countries have doubled their military spending over the last 10 years. Kedar Pavgi and Ben Watson write Afghanistan has raised its military spending by 557 percent from 2004 to 2013. Afghanistan spent $770,000,000 on their military in 2012 which amounted to 3.8% of the country's GDP that year. Military aid from foreign donors, which in 2009 included $4 billion from the USA, was 16 times Afghanistan’s domestic military expenditures.

The US FY 2015 Budget Request for the Afghanistan National Army (ANA) was about $3 billion. This provided the resources necessary to sustain and professionalize the ANA at a force level of 195,000 soldiers and airmen. Organizational changes in the ANA, along with completing facilities and fielding equipment, have resulted in increased fuel, vehicle maintenance, and other sustainment requirements. The infrastructure reduction reflects the completion of most construction projects. The FY 2015 infrastructure request focuses on building the GIRoA’s capability and capacity to manage and prioritize infrastructure projects. The reduction in Equipment and Transportation is a result of requirements terminating in FY 2014 due to the one-time fielding of equipment. The Equipment and Transportation request is based on those items necessary to enhance the ability of the ANSF to lead operations. The ANA, including the Special Operations Forces (SOF), has increased its fleet of armored vehicles. The ANA is also in the process of professionalizing its Special Mission Wing (SMW) as well as the Afghanistan Air Force (AAF). The ANA training plan remains focused on the development of specialized capabilities and professionalization to provide for the long-term security and stability of Afghanistan.

The FY 2016 budget request for the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund (ASFF) supports an end-strength of up to 352,000 Afghanistan National Security Forces (ANSF), composed of up to 195,000 Afghanistan National Army (ANA) and 157,000 Afghan National Police (ANP), and up to 30,000 Afghanistan Local Police (ALP), for a total of 382,000. This budget continues the crucial transition from Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) to Operation Freedom’s Sentinel (OFS) as part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Resolute Support, focusing on the train, advise, and assist (TAA) mission to strengthen the Afghanistan Security Institutions (ASI) and the ANSF. While the mission will be Kabul-centric and more strategically focused, the goal is to better optimize the ANSF at the operational and tactical levels, increase its capabilities and systems, and set conditions for a professionalized and self-sustainable ANSF over time. The FY 2016 budget builds on prior-year efforts to posture the ANSF for long-term supportability through multiple lines of effort: setting the conditions to enhance ASI critical systems (e.g. budget, procurement, and logistics); refining maintenance training and compliance conditions; rebalancing sustainment and procurement activities to ensure effective integration and employment of ANSF capabilities; and instilling fiscal discipline with an emphasis on accountability and transparency. Stable resourcing is a critical component to the strategy in order to take the necessary steps and unified actions toward long-term sustainment.

The impending withdrawal of ISAF from Afghanistan by 2014-end, necessitated the need to have a strong and efficient Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and is expected to propel the Afghan government to apportion an average of 9.9% of its GDP for defense purposes over 2015-2019 compared to an average of 5.6% between 2010 and 2014. Afghan defense expenditure recorded a CAGR of 18.51% between 2011 and 2015, and valued US$1.8 billlion. Afghanistan’s defense budget is projected to increase at a CAGR of 13% from 2015 to 2019. The average share of capital expenditure is expected to be 14.9% over the forecast period compared to an average share of 9.8% during 2011-2015.

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Page last modified: 01-04-2019 17:08:16 ZULU