Zakheim: $1 Billion Shift Needed For Afghan, Iraqi Programs
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 2, 2004 The Defense Department's top money manager told Senate officials March 1 that DoD wants to transfer about $1 billion within its budget to fund three security, humanitarian and reconstruction programs in Afghanistan and Iraq.
DoD Comptroller Dov Zakheim met on Capitol Hill with members of the Senate Appropriations Committee's Defense Subcommittee to discuss details of DoD's proposed $401.7 billion fiscal 2005 budget.
The fiscal 2005 budget, Zakheim noted to members of the subcommittee, "does not request specific appropriations for these three (spending) authorities, and therefore, the department would need to reprogram funding to use them."
The first program, Zakheim said, requires $500 million "to train and equip military and security forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, and friendly nearby regional nations" to beef up their capabilities to fight terrorism and assist U.S. operations. Internal security, he noted, is especially critical for Iraq, since terrorists are currently operating inside its borders.
"Security forces, not the new Iraqi army, play the primary role in confronting this threat," Zakheim pointed out.
Also, the comptroller said $300 million is needed to fund the commander's emergency response program used by U.S. military leaders in Iraq "to respond to urgent humanitarian relief and reconstruction needs." DoD proposes to expand CERB to Afghanistan, he noted.
Zakheim said CERB-funded projects assist American commanders to "not only help people in their operations area, but also gain their support in defeating terrorists and building themselves a better future."
And, $200 million is required to provide additional help for the Afghan National Army, Zakheim pointed out, noting that he returned two weeks ago from a trip to Iraq and Afghanistan, during which he gave "very high marks" to the Afghan army for professionalism and competence.
"This (spending) authority is critical for advancing democracy and stability in Afghanistan," the comptroller said. "One of the most important ways in which Congress can support the global war on terrorism is to support (the) three special (spending) authorities we've requested."