Defense Budget:

Contingency Operations in the Balkans May Need Less Funding in Fiscal Year 2003

GAO-02-1073: Published: Sep 27, 2002. Publicly Released: Sep 27, 2002.

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From the end of the Persian Gulf War in February 1991 through May 2002, the Department of Defense (DOD) reported over $43.9 billion in incremental costs for its overseas contingency operations. These operations include the enforcement of no-fly zones, humanitarian assistance, and peace enforcement operations, as well as combating terrorism beginning in fiscal year 2001. The majority of these costs were incurred in the Balkans and Southeast Asia. In fiscal year 2002, U.S. military forces are continuing to participate in a number of contingency operations, primarily in the Balkans, Southwest Asia, and a number of locations that involve combating terrorism. The military services received a combination of funding provided in the DOD appropriations act for fiscal year 2002 and money remaining in previously funded contingency fund accounts. The services also took steps to reduce costs in order to keep them in line with available funding. Both the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and DOD plan to reduce troop levels in the Balkans during fiscal year 2003, which may reduce funding needs during the year. In Europe, the Army anticipates an overall reduction of 1,160 troops during fiscal year 2003. Although a decline in troop strength does not necessarily correspond to an equal reduction in costs, given the large anticipated reduction in troop levels, there should be a decrease in estimated costs for fiscal year 2003. Since the fiscal year 2003 budget request was developed from an already reduced fiscal year 2002 appropriation level, any further reduction in fiscal year 2003 level would pose a funding challenge.

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