Tags: Pentagon | Seeks | 'Feed | and | Forage'

Pentagon Seeks OK to 'Feed and Forage'

Friday, 21 September 2001 12:00 AM

Congress must approve the request to invoke the authority, which covers expenses incurred by the armed forces in military operations for clothing, subsistence, fuel, quarters, transportation and medical supplies.

That act allows the Pentagon to go into deficit spending in advance of a supplemental appropriation being made by Congress. The last time the act was invoked was in 1996 after the bombing of a military dormitory, Khobar Towers, in Saudi Arabia. It was not used. Then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney also invoked it during the Persian Gulf war.

Despite the expectation of high expenses associated with the war on terrorism, the Defense Department is planning only a relatively modest $10 billion increase in its 2003 budget request over its $328 billion budget for 2002, according to Pentagon sources.

Prior to the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the Office of the Secretary of Defense told the military services to plan either for a $328 billion budget in 2003, adjusted up for inflation, or a $338 billion request. In a budget meeting held after the attack, they were told to plan on the larger number.

How that amount will be distributed between the services is still being worked; in the wake of the attack, the Pentagon's comptroller's office delayed the deadline for the services to submit their budgets by two weeks, to Oct. 15.

Defense industry officials, however, have been planning on a much larger increase.

"People are talking about a return to Reagan-era budgets," said one Washington-based contractor.

When Ronald Reagan was president in 1983, the Defense Department sought a 20 percent increase over the previous year and Pentagon spending amounted to almost a third of the federal budget.

The Defense Department is also seeking a large chunk - nearly half - of the $40 billion in emergency funding Congress has provided in the wake of the terrorist attacks.

There will be more funding requests, predicted one Pentagon official. "This is just a down payment."

Copyright 2001 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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Congress must approve the request to invoke the authority, which covers expenses incurred by the armed forces in military operations for clothing, subsistence, fuel, quarters, transportation and medical supplies. That act allows the Pentagon to go into deficit spending in...
Pentagon,Seeks,'Feed,and,Forage'
338
2001-00-21
Friday, 21 September 2001 12:00 AM
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