Obama wants to send more troops to Iraq as campaign expands
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama plans to submit an updated request for fiscal year 2015 overseas contingency operations funds as the effort to defeat terrorists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant moves into its next phase, White House officials announced Friday. “ISIL poses an immediate threat to Iraq, Syria and American allies and partners throughout the region, as it seeks to overthrow governments, control territory, terrorize local populations, and implement an oppressive and intolerant interpretation of sharia law,” according to the White House.
In a statement, the administration announced plans to request $5.6 billion for activities to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL. The amended request includes resources for operations and activities that were not anticipated when the White House submitted the initial OCO budget request in June.
Request Includes $5 Billion for DoD Operations
The request includes $5 billion for the Defense Department to conduct a range of military operations against ISIL in the Middle East. That amount includes $1.6 billion for an Iraqi train-and-equip fund, the Pentagon press secretary said today.
Iraq’s government and coalition nations also are expected to contribute funding to this effort, which aims to train a total of 12 brigades — nine Iraqi army brigades and three brigades of Kurdish Peshmerga forces, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said.
The train-and-equip fund also may be used toward training Sunni tribes that are operating under the auspices of the Iraqi Defense Ministry, Kirby said. “Ultimately, we expect that we’ll be able to conduct some of that training at the same locations where we will train Iraqi army and peshmerga brigades,” he added.
Congress Must Approve Request Before More Troops Can Deploy
The amended request must be approved by Congress before the 1,500 additional U.S. troops authorized by the president today can deploy, the admiral said.
The request is in addition to the $58.6 billion the White House originally requested to cover the costs of operations in Afghanistan, a forward presence in the broader Middle East region and other critical Defense Department missions, according to the statement.
“The costs of military operations against ISIL in the Middle East region were not included in the June 2014 request, and DoD requires additional funding in order to avoid diverting funding from other key priorities within its budget,” the statement said.
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