WASHINGTON, May 20, 2013 – Defense Department officials have submitted two funding-related requests to Congress, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said here today.
Officials are seeking $79.4 billion in overseas contingency operations funding for fiscal year 2014 and are asking Congress to allow Pentagon officials to reprogram $9.6 billion in fiscal 2013 funding, Little said.
The reprogramming actions “are not meant to offset the effects of sequestration,” he added.
The $9.6 billion request looks to fix large shortfalls in overseas contingency operations funding and larger than expected fuel bills, Little explained in a meeting with reporters.
“There are some wartime bills inside that reprogramming request,” he said. “The main goal we’re trying to achieve is limit the impact of sequestration on military readiness, particularly operations, training and maintenance accounts.”
Little stressed the department is “trying to scrape for every penny, dime and nickel so we can achieve an additional $37 billion in cuts by the end of September.” The reprogrammed money comes from some investment accounts and some military personnel accounts. They would shift to operations and maintenance accounts. DOD would like to see Congress act on the reprogramming request in the next three weeks, Little said.
The overseas contingency operations request usually is submitted at the same time the base budget is delivered to Congress. This year — due to the fiscal uncertainty — the base budget went to Congress in early April, and the overseas contingency funding request went to Congress on May 17.
Fiscal 2013’s overseas contingency operations funding was $86.5 billion. This year’s $79.4 billion reflects that the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan went from 68,000 to 34,000, and there has been a drop in the amount needed, Little said. Still, he added, “this is not about cost per troop.”
Funding for troops in Afghanistan will continue, the press secretary said, and training the Afghan army and police remain a priority. The retrograde movement of materiel, supplies and equipment out of Afghanistan as U.S. forces draw down also costs money, he noted.