The Pentagon has released its proposed budget for fiscal year 2012 with a request for almost $118 billion dollars to fund military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that proposed figure was based on there being an average of 98,250 U.S. troops in Afghanistan in 2012.
Gates said should the security situation in Afghanistan improve, U.S. forces could then be withdrawn more quickly and there “may be money that we just don’t spend.”
The United States and its allies in Afghanistan are planning to hand over responsibility for security to Afghan forces by the end of 2014.
Nearly $13 billion of the Pentagon’s request for Afghanistan is intended for training and arming Afghan security forces.
The Pentagon also noted that as part of its cost-cutting measures it is reviewing the cost of printing the 1,000-page reports it distributes to journalists and Congress.
The Army’s budget presentation for 2012 cost $3.8 million for “government manpower” and printing; the Air Force’s budget presentation for 2012 cost $2.3 million; and the Navy’s $1.1 million.
There are orders to trim spending on these Pentagon reports that even Secretary Gates said are often “of questionable relevance, value, and in many cases, have rarely been read”.