OCO Budget Request for Guard Down Sharply

NGAUS Washington Report

(May 21, 2013) Proposed National Guard spending in the Defense Department's budget request for overseas contingency operations next year is down significantly from fiscal 2013. 
 
The Pentagon is seeking $393.4 million for personnel costs and $199.3 million for operations and maintenance for the Army Guard and $6.9 million in personnel and $22.2 million for O&M for the Air Guard. The request went to Congress on May 17.
 
Fiscal 2013 appropriations included nearly $1 billion for the Army Guard and $45 million for the Air Guard.  
 
The 2014 figures are another indication of a reduced operations tempo for the Guard next year. Army officials had indicated last month their intention to replace Army Guard units with active-component outfits in planned overseas rotations wherever possible in 2014.  
 
Meanwhile, the overall request for fiscal 2014 overseas missions is down only slightly from 2013, $79.4 billion compared to $86.5 in 2013. 
 
The figure for 2014 reflects the ongoing drawdown in Afghanistan, said Pentagon Press Secretary George Little on Monday. Still, he added, “this is not about cost per troop.”
 
Funding for troops in Afghanistan will continue, he said, and training the Afghan army and police remain a priority. The retrograde movement of materiel, supplies and equipment out of Afghanistan as U.S. forces draw down also costs money, Little noted.
 
The overseas contingency operations request usually is submitted with the base budget. This year—due to the fiscal uncertainty—the base budget went to Congress in early April, and the overseas contingency funding request went to Capitol Hill last week.