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Clinton Sets Kosovo Emergency Funding at $6 Billion

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 21, 1999 – President Clinton has asked Congress for $6 billion to finance continuing air operations and humanitarian missions in the Balkans.

DoD's share of the package is $5.458 billion. Items include $3.6 billion to cover the cost of air operations from March 24 through the end of fiscal 1999, $698 million to replenish stocks of cruise missiles and precision-guided munitions, and $335 million for refugee relief. The request also includes $250 million to cover the cost of Operation Desert Fox in Iraq.

"Normally, when we submit supplemental [requests], we are just buying what we used," said Deputy Defense Secretary John Hamre during a White House briefing on the subject April 19. "In this case, we are projecting activity through the rest of the year."

Hamre said DoD needs some flexibility from Congress because it cannot forecast exactly how military operations against Yugoslavia will proceed. Currently, the services are paying for their operations out of fourth quarter operations and maintenance funds.

Unless Congress acts quickly, Hamre said, operations and maintenance funds for forces outside Operation Allied Force will dry up. He said quick action on the supplemental would prevent "a genuine readiness crisis."

Hamre said DoD officials face a decision around May 1 to cancel military exercises in the last quarter of fiscal 1999 -- July to September. "We really do have to have action on [the supplemental]," he said. "Because of the size of it this year, we really do need it by the first of May, if at all possible."

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