By Kristina Wong
The Pentagon will request tens of billions of dollars in wartime funding for 2015, despite the expected end of U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan by December 2014.
The wartime funding, known as overseas contingency operations funding, is used to pay for operations in Afghanistan, and was $85 billion in 2014.
Although the 2015 request has not yet been released, the placeholder figure is $79.4 billion, according to Pentagon budget documents released on Monday.
Defense budget experts say the end of combat operations in December is technically the beginning of fiscal year 2015, and defense officials say funds will be needed for the reset of military equipment used during the war.
Also, the funds may go towards sustaining a small U.S. advising and training force in Afghanistan.
However, the fiscal watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense criticized the high amount request.
“Why do we continue to need such high levels of funding, when we plan to reduce to a bare-bones force in Afghanistan? And the six year plan for outyear funding is $29.9 billion every year through fiscal year 2021,” the group said in a statement.
“So, even though we plan to be out of Afghanistan, the Administration plans on spending close to $30 billion a year for another 6 years, or more than $179 billion between now and calendar year 2022. At Taxpayers for Common Sense, we think this makes no sense at all.”