A large part of the request, $36.3 billion, would go to the combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another $5 billion would be used to help the Army break down its huge divisions into smaller, more mobile "modular" brigades as part of a major reorganization.From "President Requests More War Funding: Money for Iraqi Forces Rises Sharply," by Jonathan Weisman with contributions from Ann Scott Tyson.
Loren B. Thompson, a defense analyst at the Lexington Institute think tank, which has research contracts with the Pentagon, said such "modularity" costs -- while necessary -- hardly constitute an emergency and should have been included in the president's base budget unveiled last week. Much of the costs of replacing equipment will probably turn out to be regular weapons-procurement costs not related to Iraq emergencies, Thompson suggested.
"Why this funding is in an emergency supplemental [request] is hard to explain. It looks as though they want a bigger defense budget without admitting it," he said.
On Capitol Hill, some Republicans and Democrats have criticized the Pentagon's reliance on the supplemental request, saying it curtails congressional oversight and distorts understanding of defense spending. "It removes from our oversight responsibilities the scrutiny that these programs deserve," Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told military service chiefs at a hearing Thursday.
Cross-posted from Chicken Foot Stew.