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DoD Getting $62.6 Billion to Help Pay for War

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 16, 2003 – The Defense Department is receiving $62.6 billion as a result of the emergency supplemental bill President Bush signed today.

With the war in Iraq costing $20 billion to date, DoD officials said they are grateful that Congress acted so quickly, said Dov Zakheim, DoD comptroller.

Of immediate interest to service members is a provision of the supplemental that raises combat pay from $150 per month to $225, and family separation allowance was increased from $100 to $250 per month for all who were or will be eligible for these special pays in fiscal year 2003. These amounts are retroactive to Oct. 1, 2002.

Zakheim broke out the $20 billion the war has cost to date: about $4 billion for personnel costs, $2 billion for personnel support, $10 billion to $12 billion for military operations and more than $3 billion for munitions.

"That's what's been spent so far," he said. "Of course, we still have funds we know we'll have to expend just to bring people home."

Zakheim said DoD's cost estimates seem to be holding up pretty well. DoD money mavens estimated the war would be short and intense, Zakheim said. Some worst-case scenarios didn't happen.

"There are lots of variables in terms of intensity, in terms of what you are going to use. The very flexibility of the war plan made it "difficult to predict how things will play out, and we very much saw that in spades in this particular operation."

The personnel aspect of the supplemental includes the special pays, the mobilization of reserves, housing and operations and maintenance.

Military operations cover the cost of getting troops and their equipment to and from the region, Zakheim said.

The supplemental will handle cost of the war through the end of fiscal 2003 on Sept. 30. Zakheim estimated the cost of the war at $3.5 billion to $4 billion per month through the end of the year.

The legislation also covers the Iraqi Freedom Fund with $15.7 billion and $1.4 billion to reimburse allies such as Pakistan to support the war of terrorism.

Zakheim said the one thing DoD did not get from Congress is flexibility in spending the money. The department asked for "unfettered flexibility" for $59 billion of the $62.6 billion. He noted that only about $11 billion has actual unfettered flexibility.

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