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Pentagon war costs lowest since 2005

Credit: U.S. Marine CorpsCredit: U.S. Marine Corps
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The Pentagon will ask Congress for about $79.5 billion for overseas combat operations next fiscal year, the lowest annual cost for the war on terror since 2005.

The drop in budget requests comes as U.S. troops and their equipment start to come home from Afghanistany.

A defense official told The Washington Times that the Pentagon planned to deliver its annual war supplemental appropriations request to Congress as early as today.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey are scheduled to brief the press Friday afternoon and would be able to answer questions there, the official said.

Bloomberg news reported the size of the request Friday. The news agency said the request was the smallest since 2005, reflecting the ongoing drawdown from Afghanistan the Obama administration is implementing -- which aims to have most U.S. forces out by the end of 2014.

After 2005, when the annual request was $75.6 billion, the size of the yearly supplementals -- which began after the 2001 terror attacks and did not count towards spending limits in congressional budget legislation -- quickly spiraled, peaking at $187 billion in fiscal 2008, when 166,300 U.S. troops were deployed in Iraq during the "surge" under President George W. Bush.

According to experts cited by Bloomberg, the request for fiscal 2014, which begins Oct. 1, reflects a higher cost per troop on the ground than previous years, likely because it reflects the costs of moving and refitting the huge amounts of equipment, much of it worn or war-damaged, that the military has in Afghanistan.


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About the Author
Shaun Waterman

Shaun Waterman

Shaun Waterman is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Times, covering foreign affairs, defense and cybersecurity. He was a senior editor and correspondent for United Press International for nearly a decade, and has covered the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. His reporting on the Sept. 11 Commission and the tortuous process by which some of its recommendations finally became ...

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