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[casi] US Iraq budget- devil in the details

October 5, 2003
Pentagon's Request for Iraq Includes Money for Troops and Rewards

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

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

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.


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