- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 16, 2003

WASHINGTON, April 16 (UPI) — The war in Iraq has cost more than $20 billion and the Pentagon will likely spend another $10 billion before traditional combat operations are over, the Defense Department's comptroller said Wednesday.

Military operations will probably cost more than $2 billion a month thereafter, said Dov Zakheim at a Pentagon briefing.

The ongoing operation in Afghanistan costs about $1.2 billion a month, with roughly 10,000 soldiers deployed to the country.

The money to fund the war is coming from a $79 billion supplemental to the 2003 budget, of which $62.6 billion is earmarked for the Pentagon.

The amount is about what the Defense Department sought but Congress declined to give the Pentagon the flexibility in spending it wanted.

"We didn't get everything we wanted. We had asked for a lot more in the way of flexibility, in the region of $59 billion," Zakheim told reporters.

That flexible fund is called the Iraqi Freedom Fund, and it amounts to $15.7 billion. The Pentagon must notify Congress five days before it uses that money.

That means the Pentagon will have to ask Congress for permission to move money between accounts as different needs arise.

Congress last year refused to give the Defense Department a $10 billion discretionary account, preferring to keep its "power of the purse," — one of the few checks it has over Pentagon actions.

About $10 billion of the cost of the war in Iraq, known as Operation Iraqi Freedom, is for military operations. The military used close to 20,000 precision munitions including 750 Tomahawk cruise missiles. Combined with other equipment, the cost was $3 billion. Personnel and sustainment required about $4 billion.

Those numbers do not cover the cost of bringing back most of the 300,000 U.S. personnel deployed to the region.

Congress boosted combat pay for soldiers, which will cost the Pentagon an additional $700 million it had not budgeted for, Zakheim said.

The Pentagon's supplemental appropriation also includes $1.4 billion to reimburse allies for their support of the U.S. war on terrorism. Pakistan, for instance, bills the United States about $70 million a month to cover the cost of deploying its military into areas they would otherwise not go in search of al-Qaida members.

The Defense Department's portion of the supplemental is broken down into six major categories: $31.2 billion for operations and maintenance; $13.4 billion for military personnel; $1.4 billion to support coalition partners; $1.3 billion for procurement; $502 million for Defense Health Program and; $81.5 million for research and development.

The $79 billion supplemental also earmarks $2.5 billion for Iraqi Relief and Reconstruction Aid. Another $2.4 billion is slated to go as economic aid to Jordan ($700 million), Egypt ($300 million), Afghanistan ($167 million), and the Philippines ($30 million). Turkey is eligible for $1 billion in economic aid, but the money can be withheld by the State Department if Turkey "does not cooperate" with Operation Iraqi Freedom, according to the congressional language.

The supplemental also funds $2.1 billion in military aid: $1 billion for Israel; $406 million for Jordan; $170 million to the Afghan National Army; and $175 million to Pakistan.

The supplemental appropriation also includes $148 million for non-proliferation activities, $3.9 billion for homeland security and $2.9 billion for aid to the airlines.


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