War May Require More Money Soon (washingtonpost.com)
The military already has identified unmet funding needs, including initiatives aimed at providing equipment and weapons for troops in Iraq. The Army has publicly identified nearly $6 billion in funding requests that did not make Bush's $402 billion defense budget for 2005, including $132 million for bolt-on vehicle armor; $879 million for combat helmets, silk-weight underwear, boots and other clothing; $21.5 million for M249 squad automatic weapons; and $27 million for ammunition magazines, night sights and ammo packs. Also unfunded: $956 million for repairing desert-damaged equipment and $102 million to replace equipment lost in combat.
The Marine Corps' unfunded budget requests include $40 million for body armor, lightweight helmets and other equipment for "Marines engaged in the global war on terrorism," Marine Corps documents state. The Marines are also seeking 1,800 squad automatic weapons and 5,400 M4 carbine rifles.
The Post reports this story as though the shortfalls are new, or newly discovered. The irresponsible allocation of resources necessary to protect the troops was known at least as early as February, when the Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Schoomaker, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee:
Schoomaker specifically pointed out that Humvee up-armoring would be delayed because of the funding games:
The Army, Air Force and Marine Corps chiefs expressed concern yesterday about funding war operations in Iraq and Afghanistan once the current fiscal year ends on Sept. 30, saying some type of temporary financing will be necessary as they await the passage of a supplemental appropriation.
"I do not have an answer for exactly how we would do that," Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee, with Gen. Michael W. Hagee, the Marine Corps commandant, and Gen. John P. Jumper, the Air Force chief, offering assenting views. [Washington Post 2/11/04]
Schoomaker said the number of up-armored Humvees in the Iraqi theater has tripled, with a goal of 4,100 vehicles for both the Army and the Marines in 2005. But he indicated that funding for the armor kits for many unarmored vehicles in Iraq will have to come from the fiscal 2005 supplemental appropriation.