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Defense Department Seeks $70 Billion for Terror War

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29, 2008 – President Bush is asking Congress to approve $70 billion as partial payment for global war on terrorism operations in fiscal 2009, Defense Department officials said today. (Video)

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Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell briefs reporters at the Pentagon Jan. 29, 2008. Defense Dept. photo by R.D. Ward

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Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said during a news conference that the $70 billion emergency supplemental request will fund operations through the first quarter of fiscal 2009.

“Why we are submitting just a partial amount is predicated on a couple of things, one of which is the fact that … we haven't gotten our money that's needed and has been requested for fiscal year '08 yet to fight the global war on terror,” he said.

The department is still waiting for Congress to approve $102 billion for this fiscal year, Morrell said. During his State of the Union address last night, President Bush asked Congress to approve the 2008 supplemental funding request quickly.

How much the department will need is based on events on the ground, Morrell said. Trends in Iraq are positive, but Pentagon officials want to hear the reports of Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, Multinational Force Iraq commander; Navy Adm. William J. Fallon, U.S. Central Command chief; and the Joint Chiefs of Staff before making budgeting decisions.

“So we are submitting the $70 billion request with the anticipation that at some point we will go back to the Congress and ask for what else is needed in fiscal year '09,” Morrell said.

The $70 billion supplemental request is a marker for what the department will need in fiscal 2009, Morrell said. That money should be able to at least handle much of the first quarter of the fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, and then the rest will be executed by a subsequent administration and secretary of defense, he noted.

“But we will likely come back to the Congress at some point in this year to revise the global war on terror funding request, to include what is needed in its totality,” he said.

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Click photo for screen-resolution imagePentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell briefs reporters at the Pentagon Jan. 29, 2008. Defense Dept. photo by R.D. Ward  
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