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$70 Billion Goes to Defense Needs in Signed Emergency Funding Bill

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 16, 2006 – About three-quarters of the $94 billion emergency funding bill President Bush signed yesterday is allocated for fighting the war on global terrorism, including more than $40 billion for ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Total military allocations for combating terror contained in H.R. 4939 amount to $70.4 billion. This includes $43.5 billion for Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Another $15.6 billion is set aside for replacing worn or destroyed equipment, military reorganization, and upgrading combat capabilities such as improved night-vision equipment, countermortar and rocket systems, and new vehicle armor. Another $2 billion is dedicated for troop force protection, such as research and development of countermeasures against improvised explosive devices.

The bill also contains $1.5 billion to support security and operation needs of U.S. diplomatic activities in Afghanistan and Iraq. Another $4.9 billion allocated for training and equipping Afghan and Iraqi security forces. About $1.6 billion is earmarked for strengthening the Afghan and Iraqi economies.

About $393 million is set aside for humanitarian and peacekeeping operations in Dafur and South Sudan in Africa. Another $66 million is earmarked for promoting programs and diplomacy actions that promote democracy and human rights in Iran.

Other funds contained within the bill are allocated for Hurricane Katrina disaster relief, border security and preparations for a possible influenza pandemic.

Around 6,000 National Guardsmen have been tasked to deploy to the southern U.S. border as part of the bill's $1.9 billion border security package. The guardsmen will operate surveillance systems, sift intelligence data, install fences and vehicle barriers, build roads and provide training in support of the U.S. Border Patrol.

Bush, who had earlier said he'd veto the bill if it surpassed the $94 billion ceiling, was pleased with the legislation's quick passage through Congress.

"I applaud those members of Congress who came together in a fiscally responsible way to provide much needed funds for the war on terror and continued Hurricane Katrina recovery, as well as for securing our border and protecting against a possible avian flu pandemic," Bush said in a statement read to White House reporters yesterday.

"Responding to these critical needs in a timely way is not easy, but it must be done if we are to fight terrorism, defend our homeland, enforce our borders, and fulfill our moral obligations to help our fellow Americans in need," the statement continued.

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