Pentagon Seeks $192.3 Billion For Wars In Iraq And Afghanistan
ISAF Forces in Afghanistan. Via ScrapeTV.
The White House announced yesterday a $192.3 billion proposal to finance the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The proposed budget includes $159.3 billion in fiscal year 2011 and a $33 billion supplemental request for fiscal year 2010, according to the White House Office of Management and Budget.
The Pentagon has estimated that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will require 248,200 uniformed personnel in fiscal year 2011: 145,000 combat troops plus 48,200 support soldiers. The budget projects an additional 55,000 troops above the Pentagon’s initial estimates will be mobilized to support the two contingencies.
The top US military officer on Tuesday urged Congress to approve billions of dollars for the war in Afghanistan, warning the Taliban was gaining influence across the country. Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told lawmakers that “without your continued support, we will not be able to show the meaningful progress in Afghanistan that the commander-in-chief has ordered, the American people expect and the Afghan people so desperately need.” He warned that the “Taliban have a growing influence in most of Afghanistan’s provinces, and the border area between that country and Pakistan remains the epicenter of global terrorism.”
His comments came as the death toll of foreign soldiers fighting in Afghanistan under US and NATO command hit 44 in January — the highest for that month since the war began more than eight years ago — compared with 25 in January 2009. The number of Americans who died last month in the conflict was almost double the number for January last year, at 29 compared with 15, according to the icasualties.org website, which keeps a running tally.
The Pentagon’s budget request includes money for more special forces, helicopters, unmanned aircraft and armored vehicles designed to withstand roadside bombs — the number one killer of US and NATO-led troops in Afghanistan.
The war funds also include 11.6 billion dollars to expand the Afghan security forces from about 195,000 to more than 300,000, a crucial part of Obama’s plan to start withdrawing US troops in July 2011
In the 2010 budget, the administration asked for 130 billion dollars to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have already cost one trillion dollars since 2001.
The funding for the wars was expected to win approval in Congress. But some Democrats have demanded the Pentagon’s weapons budget be included in belt-tightening measures amid concern over the government’s mushrooming budget deficit.