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Congress Mulls President's Supplemental Funding Request

By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2003 – Forced out of session by Hurricane Isabel, lawmakers got extra time to study the $87 billion supplemental spending request President Bush submitted to them Sept. 17 on the eve of the storm, which shut down the federal government here Sept. 18 and 19.

For the first time since President Bush called for the extra spending measure in a nationally televised speech Sept. 7 , Congress and the public can see exactly how the sum adds up.

According to officials at the White House Office of Management and Budget, the request seeks $65.6 billion for Defense Department and classified activities, with about $51 billion earmarked for Operation Iraqi Freedom and about $11 billion for Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. About $4 billion of the requested funds would go to coalition partners and Operation Noble Eagle in the United States.

The rest of the $87 billion request, some $21.4 billion, is for Iraq's Coalition Provisional Authority and the State Department, with $20.3 billion designated for the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund. The rest would go to pressing security and reconstruction needs in Afghanistan, and toward State Department operations.

Key funding elements of the request aimed at improving Iraq's infrastructure include $5.1 billion for enhanced security, border enforcement, building a national police service, standing up a new Iraqi army and reforming Iraq's justice system. Another $11.5 billion would go to provide basic electrical, water and sewer services and to rehabilitate Iraq's oil infrastructure.

In his letter formally submitting the supplemental budget request, OMB Director Joshua B. Bolten told Congress that the infrastructure-improvement resources are "essential to help create the conditions that will allow U.S. troops to return home."

The supplemental request for the Defense Department includes funds for personnel and construction costs, additional supplies and equipment, and replacing equipment and weapons lost during the war in Iraq.

For example, the Army plans to spend $2.4 million for a Paladin artillery system, $30.5 million for logistic support equipment and $42.2 million for command and control equipment lost during the war. The Army also needs $177.2 million for improved armored Humvees to help protect soldiers; and $6 million for replacement of multiple-launch rocket systems destroyed during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The Navy needs $128 million for aircraft spare parts, including $55 million to replace wing panels for EA-6B Prowlers. The Navy also would spend $76 million to support the increased operational tempo of is deployed fleet, to include spending $25 million for explosive ordnance equipment and $13.2 million to replace fleet hospital equipment damaged or destroyed during the war.

The Marine Corps procurement needs are to replace lost or damaged M88 A2 recovery vehicles and MK48 logistic vehicle systems at a cost of $21 million. Light armored vehicles destroyed during the war total $23 million. Upgrades to its amphibious assault vehicles will cost the Corps $78.8 million.

Meanwhile, the Air Force needs to replenish its arsenal of Hellfire missiles for use on the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle at a cost of about $20 million. Other Air Force procurement needs include $150 million for improved theater communication systems and components; $39 million for replacement vehicles; $25.9 million for deployed civil engineers and $1.5 million for explosive ordnance disposal systems.

The supplemental request also seeks funding for "key cooperating" nations such as Pakistan and Jordan, as well as for other coalition countries that have provided logistical and military support such as transportation, supplies and communications.

The complete supplemental funding request is available on OMB's Web site.

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