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WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has asked Congress to approve $79.4 billion for combat operations in Afghanistan in 2014.
The request, know as Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), is only about $8 billion less than the Defense Department requested in 2013 even though DoD expects to halve the number of troops in the landlocked country over the next year. DoD’s 2013 war funding assumed 68,000 troops in Afghanistan. The 2014 estimate assumes 34,000 troops through September 2014.
DoD officials have said they have been experiencing higher-than-expected operating costs in 2013. The expense of removing equipment has also contributed to the 2014 OCO request not declining sharply.
DoD sent its 2014 base budget request to Congress in April but did not submit an OCO request. The war-fighting request was sent on May 17.
The majority of the funding requested — $64.1 billion — is for operations-and-maintenance related activities. Earlier this month, Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale said removing military equipment from the country and retrograde activities would be about $3 billion and $4 billion, respectively, of the request.
The OCO request includes $6.4 billion for procurement and $116 million for research and development. Of the procurement funding, more than one third — $2.3 billion — is requested in classified Air Force procurement coffers.
At the same time, the Pentagon has sent a separate request to lawmakers asking permission to shift $9.6 billion within DoD’s 2013 budget to offset defense spending cuts, know as sequestration.