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Abizaid Stresses Need for Supplemental Funds

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 9, 2006 – The Defense Department's emergency supplemental budget request provides funds necessary to fight the war on terror, Army Gen. John Abizaid told the Senate Appropriations Committee today.

The general said the roughly $70 billion DoD request is needed to achieve strategic goals in Afghanistan and Iraq. Abizaid commands U.S. Central Command.

"I do know that the achievement of our national strategic goals in both Iraq and Afghanistan require a balance of security, governance, capacity -building, and economic development to create an environment that eliminates the root causes of the insurgency," he said.

The supplemental provides funds that allow coalition forces to continue working to build up Afghanistan and Iraq and to train the countries' military and police forces.

The funds also replenish the Commanders Emergency Response Program, which Abizaid called "one of the most effective counterinsurgency tools that we have." That program calls for an additional $423 million.

"CERP funds are intended to respond immediately to urgent requirements for humanitarian relief and reconstruction efforts (and) the provisioning of equipment such as electrical generators to support critical infrastructure," Abizaid said. "And large-scale civic cleanup and construction activities employ many local nationals."

The supplemental calls for $3.7 billion to further develop Iraq's security capacity, Abizaid said. "Previous appropriated funds have enabled the Iraqi security forces to continue to increase capability and self-reliance, with the aim of taking ownership of their country's security," he said. "Initial training and equipping of personnel and combat units in the defense forces is over 80 percent complete, while training and equipping of police forces is over 60 percent complete."

Abizaid said more than 100 Iraqi army and special operations forces battalions are conducting counterinsurgency operations today. In 2004, there were only five.

Iraqis have taken over large portions of the battle space with coalition forces in the supporting role. "We are requesting some funding for Iraqi security infrastructure, and we believe that failure to complete these critical infrastructure projects could seriously delay the ability of the Iraqis to fully engage the counterinsurgency fight, take control of their battle space, and maintain operational readiness," he said.

In Afghanistan, the supplemental request is for $2.2 billion to continue developing Afghan national security force capability. "These funds will provide assistance to organize, train and equip the police and military to assume a greater role in providing their own security," Abizaid said.

"I think it's important for the committee to understand that in both Afghanistan and in Iraq, local security forces take on the brunt of the fighting and the brunt of the casualties," he said. "Assistance to the security forces will include the provision of equipment, supplies, services, training, and infrastructure repairs and construction."

"Success in Iraq and Afghanistan is key to U.S. success in the broader war against the dark ideology and methods of al Qaeda," Abizaid said.

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Gen. John Abizaid, USA

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