By MARCUS WEISGERBER
WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama has requested $6 billion for new military aircraft, drones, vehicles and bombs as part of his $58.6 billion request to fund the war in Afghanistan and other contingency operations in 2015.
The overseas contingency operations (OCO) request includes $3.8 billion for Air Force programs, $1.3 billion for Army programs, $658 million for Navy and Marine Corps programs and $239 million for defense-wide initiatives.
The majority of the $58.6 billion DoD request, which was first reported by Defense News on Wednesday, is for operations and maintenance activities.
The Air Force procurement request includes:
- $70 million for one Lockheed Martin C-130J.
- $192 million for 12 unmanned General Atomics MQ-9 Reapers
- $115 million for 983 Predator Hellfire missiles
- $90 million for 3,106 Boeing Joint Direct Attack Munitions
The Air Force procurement request also includes $2.6 billion for classified programs.
The Army procurement request includes:
- $36 million for the Aerial Common Sensor program.
- $95.6 million for the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles program.
- $192 million for the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck Extended Service program.
- $197 million for MRAP modifications.
The Navy procurement request includes $40.9 million for two unmanned Northrop Grumman MQ-8 Fire Scouts and $17 million for 90 Javelin missiles.
The $58.6 billion request includes $5 billion as part of a new counterterrorism fund — $4 billion for the DoD and $1 billion toward State Department efforts. It also includes an additional $1 billion, part of an effort to boost US military presence in Europe.
The request also includes $500 million to train and equip “vetted elements of the Syrian armed opposition.”
Despite troop levels drastically declining, the White House says the OCO budget “will not decline precipitously.”
“DoD will still incur significant costs to transport personnel, supplies, and equipment back to their home stations. Funding to sustain the [Afghan National Security Forces] will continue to be needed to ensure that Afghan forces can provide sufficient security,” a White House statement reads. “OCO funding will help our military reset from over a decade of fighting by providing the funds needed for DoD to repair and replace equipment and munitions. OCO funding will also continue to support a significant portion of DoD’s forward presence in the broader Middle East region, enabling DoD to support [operations in Afghanistan] and other important missions.”
Analysts have argued that the Pentagon and Congress have been using the OCO budget as a slush fund to offset budget cuts imposed by federal spending caps.
“The base budget has become so dependent on this,” said Todd Harrison, an analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
Afghanistan operations for 9,800 US troops will cost about $20 billion in 2015, Harrison said.
In addition to the $58.6 billion for DoD, the White House added $1.4 billion to the previously requested $5.9 billion for State Department OCO.