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Committee Approves $10 Billion for Terror War

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 19, 2002 – (corrects budget request date in third paragraph)

The House Armed Services Committee has passed a portion of the Fiscal 2003 Defense Authorization Bill that had been separated from the main bill, House staffers said.

The action clears the Cost of War Against Terrorism Authorization Act of 2002 for possible inclusion into the larger defense budget.

The action is part of the $10 billion "contingency fund" in the president's fiscal 2003 defense budget request in February. At that time, defense officials argued that the department needed flexibility to manage funds to fight the war against terrorism. The $10 billion fund was meant to allow officials to put the money where needed.

But some House members felt that while some flexibility is a good idea, too much flexibility would undermine the Congress' constitutional responsibility to oversee how a significant amount of money is spent. The Cost of War Against Terrorism Act takes the $10 billion and breaks it into accounts.

Under the proposed changes, the House would allow $517.3 million for the cost of combat air patrols, $480.1 million for chemical/biological anti-terrorist programs and almost $600 million for command and control systems.

In addition, the bill sets aside almost $90 million for upgrades to KC-135E air-to-air refuelers and $600 million for Tomahawk land attack cruise missiles. If approved, the legislation would authorize $422.6 million for precision- guided munitions used in Operation Enduring Freedom and aircraft lost in operations in Afghanistan.

The bill also includes $320.8 million for hazardous duty pay, imminent danger pay and other pays for service members.

The Cost of the War Against Terrorism Act may become part of the overall fiscal 2003 National Defense Authorization Bill, or it might not, said committee officials. The House and Senate still must meet to reconcile differences in each of their versions of that bill.


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