It looks as if the White House is making some tough choices to fund its increase of 8,200 additional support and combat troops for Iraq and Afghanistan.
In documents released by OMB today, the Navy and Air Force are being forced to swallow some bitter pills. To free up $3.1 billion to fund the surge boost about 4,700 for Iraq and 3,500 for Afghanistan the White House sent Congress amendments to the fiscal 2007 Wartime Supplemental request March 9.
The amendments cut:
5 F/A-18G Growler electronic warfare planes (-$375 million)5 C-130Js (-$388 million)2 F-35 Lightening II JSFs (-$389 million)1 CV-22 Osprey (-$146 million)
The list also includes a decrease of over $800 million in Navy operations and maintenance funds that would have gone to pay for naval forces supporting combat forces in Iraq.
But some especially the ground-pounders will be pleased with the changes.
Among other additions, the White House asked for:
$1.2 billion for Army urgent needs gear, including up-armor kits and MRAP vehicles$250 million for Marine Corps MRAP purchases$27 million for small arms and other equipment for Afghan army training teams
It will be interesting to see how Congress reacts to the amendments, since House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha, D-Pa., recently released his own chop of the supplemental request with additional policy restrictions. This could throw that plan back to the drawing board, though some of the OMB cuts reflect congressional sentiment anyway.