The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
October 5, 2003 Pentagon's Request for Iraq Includes Money for Troops and Rewards By THOM SHANKER and ERIC SCHMITT WASHINGTON, Oct. 4 — Even as the Bush administration pleads with allies to send peacekeepers to Iraq, $1.2 billion in hedge money is buried deep inside President Bush's financing request for Iraq in case the Pentagon is forced to mobilize two more National Guard brigades, squeeze the Army to send more troops to Iraq or send marines for a year. At least $3 billion in the overall request is classified to pay for intelligence activities, Special Operations missions, experimental weapons and even runways in a nation that supports America's efforts but does not want to be identified. One program pulled out of the laboratory and sent to the field is a robot used to detect and destroy remote-controlled bombs that have been planted against troops and convoys with deadly effect, military officials say. The administration's $20.3 billion request for Iraqi reconstruction has been under the hot lamp of Congressional scrutiny, but the vastly larger portion of the emergency spending bill — $65.6 billion for Pentagon activities, military operations and classified programs — has drawn few complaints. The Pentagon's portion of the supplemental request includes $51 billion for military operations in Iraq, $11 billion for operations in Afghanistan and $4 billion for domestic security and to support allied efforts. It covers everything from armored Humvees and protective body armor for troops to $50 million in reward bounties for capturing Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden. "For us to successfully leave an Iraq that can stand on its own two feet, we obviously have to continue to fund the military operations, but the $20 billion is equally as integral," Dov S. Zakheim, the Pentagon comptroller, said in an interview. "That is the underpinnings of Iraq's future security." The bulk of the Pentagon's sum covers the increased costs of keeping about 122,000 American troops in Iraq and 10,000 in Afghanistan. The Army, as expected, commands more than half of the request. But there are some surprises. The administration continues to plead with countries like South Korea and Turkey to fill a third multinational division for Iraq. But even as the administration tells its allies, justifiably, that it would be difficult to find enough Americans to go if foreign troops do not materialize, it will not be hard to find the money to pay for them, if Congress passes the supplemental request unchanged. The spending proposal includes $1.2 billion to pay for the National Guard mobilization or a Marine division to go to Iraq next spring. Just in case the allies do agree to help out, there is another $390 million for transporting, feeding and housing foreign troops. Their salaries, however, must come from the resources of their own governments. The request also includes $339 million for classified research and development, unexpected in an emergency spending bill, since those costs, part of the planned life of bringing a weapons system online, are usually part of the regular budget. Pentagon, military and Congressional officials say some of the research and development request in the spending plan would pay for secret weapons that may not have officially joined the American arsenal but have been ordered into the field nonetheless. The military used this strategy when it fielded the experimental Joint Stars ground-surveillance plane in the Persian Gulf war of 1991, and the Global Hawk remotely piloted reconnaissance aircraft in the Afghan and Iraq wars. On Capitol Hill, the consensus among senior Republican and Democratic aides is that the administration's military supplemental request will sail through Congress largely unscathed. If anything, top aides from both parties said, the Pentagon may be shortchanging the Army of funds it needs to fully repair and replace worn equipment used in the war and its aftermath, and to reset the force. Scott Lilly, the Democratic staff director on the House Appropriations Committee, said the Army would need more than $17.5 billion to replace or repair worn or damaged equipment. But the Army's request for depot maintenance and procurement was only about $2.2 billion in the supplemental request. The military presumably would ask for the rest in future years, Congressional aides said. "The Army has huge unmet needs in Iraq that are not in this," Mr. Lilly said. Mr. Lilly said that the Army was short about 40,000 sets of body armor for soldiers in Iraq (the vests, he said, cost about $500 apiece), but he added that senior Army officials had assured the committee that all American forces in Iraq would have the equipment by mid-November. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill this week that transfers nearly $1 billion from Navy, Air Force and other accounts to the Army to help pay for the additional equipment. In the Defense Department's request, some critical assumptions are explained. The Pentagon is anticipating an average of about 113,000 military personnel in Iraq through the fiscal year that ends next September. But the military is also expecting the size of the Army's contribution to shrink to just over two divisions, from five divisions now. That, again, assumes an influx of allied forces — or great strides in stabilizing the country and an increase in Iraq's own police and defense forces. There is an emphasis throughout the Pentagon's request on accommodating allies that agree to help with the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Pentagon requested $1.4 billion to reimburse Pakistan, Jordan and other allied countries for logistical support they provided. The Pentagon also requested blanket authority to shift funds, if necessary, in its regular operations budget to support allied forces help in Iraq. "That's a little piece of language with a big impact on foreign aid," said Gordon Adams, a White House budget official in the Clinton administration. Much of the request underscores the toll that the fast-paced campaign in the harsh desert conditions took on the military's equipment. The Navy is asking for $56.5 million to fix cracked wings on E-2C's and EA-6B's, and $59 million in spare parts over all. The Air Force wants $4.9 million to buy 50 new Hellfire missiles for armed Predator aircraft. The dangerous postwar mission needs special equipment. The Army has requested $12.6 million for mobile X-ray scanning machines used to search large containers and vehicles for weapons. The Army also wants $5 million to buy 20 Packbot systems, small robots with acoustical sensors used to support missions against snipers. There are other effects of the supplemental spending proposal. Loren Thompson, a military analyst at the Lexington Institute, a research group in Arlington, Va., said that by requesting extra money now for operating and maintaining the forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon was helping to shield the portion of its regular budget for buying new weapons. "They have taken pressure off procurement," he said. NYT http://tinyurl.com/pqke _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk