Today, the Administration submitted its updated $65.8 billion Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) request to Congress for the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of State and Other International Programs (State/OIP).
The $58.6 billion request for DOD OCO funding is $20.9 billion less than the $79.4 billion placeholder included in the FY 2015 Budget. The OCO request also includes $1.4 billion for State/OIP beyond the $5.9 billion included in the Budget, bringing the State OCO total to $7.3 billion. As in years past, the request primarily funds temporary and extraordinary expenses associated with military operations in Afghanistan, as well as activities that support Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), related follow-on activities, and other critical missions, including counterterrorism, in the region. In addition to funding for the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan and DOD’s supporting presence in the broader region, the OCO submission seeks congressional support for the new $5 billion Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund (CTPF) and $1 billion for the European Reassurance Initiative (ERI).
The Administration continues to support a cumulative $450-billion cap on Government-wide OCO funding from FY 2013 to FY 2021, and we encourage Congress to act with similar fiscal discipline in OCO appropriations.
Today’s request is consistent with the plan the President laid out at West Point , which made the case for bringing the U.S. war in Afghanistan to a responsible end, while ensuring our Armed Forces have the flexibility and resources required to respond to emerging needs as terrorist threats around the world continue to evolve.
Operation Enduring Freedom and Related Missions
In support of OEF and related follow-on activities, Department of Defense OCO funding would support several key efforts, including:
operations and force protection in Afghanistan, including ending our combat mission and transitioning to an advisory mission by the end of December 2014;
continued support for the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and coalition partners;
continued counterterrorism efforts in Afghanistan;
return of thousands of pieces of equipment from Afghanistan to home stations;
repair or replacement of combat-damaged equipment, as well as replenishment of expended munitions;
intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and other support to missions;
costs borne in the greater Middle East region that support and enable our forces in Afghanistan as well as other critical missions.
Although the FY 2015 OCO request reflects a transition as the United States concludes combat operations in Afghanistan, most costs will not decline precipitously. For example, DOD will still incur significant costs to transport personnel, supplies, and equipment back to their home stations. Funding to sustain the ANSF will continue to be needed to ensure that Afghan forces can provide sufficient security. OCO funding will help our military reset from over a decade of fighting by providing the funds needed for DOD to repair and replace equipment and munitions. OCO funding will also continue to support a significant portion of DOD's forward presence in the broader Middle East region, enabling DOD to support OEF and other important missions.
Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund
In his West Point speech, the President announced that he would ask Congress to fund a new Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund to provide the flexibility and resources required to respond to emerging needs as terrorist threats evolve from South Asia to the Sahel. The proposed CTPF builds on our existing tools and authorities to respond to a range of terrorist threats and crisis response scenarios. The OCO submission seeks congressional support for the new $5 billion CTPF, including funding to support a new Syria-Regional Stabilization Initiative (RSI).
The Administration is requesting $4 billion for the Department of Defense and $1 billion for the Department of State, with three broad purposes:
To support counterterrorism capacity-building efforts for partner nations;
To provide support to the moderate Syrian opposition and Syria’s neighbors through a Regional Stabilization Initiative; and
To help the Department of Defense respond to unexpected crises.
Enabling and Supporting Partners ($3 billion)
We seek to build and maintain a network of partners on the front lines of critical terrorist threats through near-term training, equipping, and advising and longer-term capacity-building efforts undertaken by the Departments of Defense and State.
The Administration is requesting $2.5 billion for engagement to train, equip, and enable international partners to counter terrorist threats that pose the greatest challenge to U.S. and allied interests and to enhance DOD counterterrorism capabilities. Targeted training and assistance efforts can support partners as they conduct counterterrorism operations within their own borders, prevent the spillover of terrorist activities from neighboring states, and participate in multinational operations to degrade terrorist threats.
For example, funding through the CTPF would cover increased costs of Special Operations Forces or conventional units deploying in greater numbers to train and engage partner nation forces. Among other things, equipment provided through CTPF would address mobility and transportation issues to more effectively prosecute offensive CT operations. And, it would invest in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities of U.S. forces to provide essential support to partner force operations.
The Administration is requesting $500 million for the State Department and partner agencies to support counterterrorism, counter violent extremism, and meet stability needs in partner countries. This funding would support economic, development, and security assistance programs to improve stability in countries confronting terrorist threats and contending with populations at risk for radicalization.
Department of State funding through the CTPF would strengthen partners’ police capabilities and penal and justice systems; promote tolerance within local communities, civil society, and across broader faith communities; identify and disrupt terrorist financing and travel; train and equip their counterterrorism forces; and support tailored education, democratic governance, and economic development activities. This programming would support efforts to deny terrorists the recruiting ground of poor governance and hopelessness in areas most at risk of violent extremism and to counter the messages of violent extremism.
Regional Stabilization Initiative ($1.5 billion)
The Administration is requesting $1.5 billion to advance U.S. interests in partnership with Syria’s neighbors – Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq – to promote internal stability and to provide support to communities hosting refugees. One billion dollars would be allocated for Department of State and Department of Defense programs to allow the United States to make investments in Syria’s neighbors to enable them to strengthen internal and border security capabilities and enhance their capacity to manage the pressures created by ongoing conflicts and the stresses on communities hosting refugees.
For example, the CTPF would provide the training and equipment required to improve border security and the capacity of police and counterterrorism units to ensure internal stability. The CTPF would also address growing costs in communities hosting refugees to strengthen the delivery of essential services such as education, health, food, sanitation, and water.
We also intend to ramp up U.S. support to the moderate Syrian opposition. We are therefore requesting $500 million for a proposed authority to train and equip vetted elements of the Syrian armed opposition to help defend the Syrian people, stabilize areas under opposition control, facilitate the provision of essential services, counter terrorist threats, and promote conditions for a negotiated settlement.
The Administration will develop the details of this envisioned program in consultation with the Congress and our international partners.
Crisis Response ($500 million)
The CTPF request includes $500 million to address unforeseen contingencies related to counterterrorism or regional instability. The current situation in Iraq is one example that underscores the importance of reserving funds that can be allocated quickly based on unforeseen needs. The CTPF would facilitate flexibility and speed in responding to urgent contingencies in the face of an uncertain and rapidly changing security environment.
European Reassurance Initiative
The European Reassurance Initiative that the President announced in Poland on June 3rd would provide temporary support to bolster the security and capacity of our NATO allies and partner states in Europe. The Administration is requesting $925 million for DOD and $75 million for State for the following purposes:
expand military presence in Europe, especially in Central and Eastern Europe;
increase bilateral and multilateral exercises and training with allies and partners;
improve infrastructure to allow for greater responsiveness;
enhance prepositioning of U.S. equipment in Europe; and
intensify efforts to build partner capacity for newer NATO members and other partners
The updated OCO request also includes an additional $278 million in State/OIP's Peacekeeping Response Mechanism account to fully fund the additional estimated costs resulting from the April 2014 decision by United Nations Security Council to authorize a new UN peacekeeping mission to deploy in the Central African Republic. This decision was made after the Administration submitted its FY 2015 Budget.