Funding for the New War

The campaign against ISIS announced by President Obama last week doesn’t have a name yet, and there’s been no indication so far of a congressional appropriation to pay for it, Air Force Chief of Staff Mark Welsh said Monday. He told Air Force Magazine at AFA’s Air & Space Conference in National Harbor, Md., that there’s “probably enough” money in the overseas contingency operations account to cover the initial elements of the operation “for a couple of months” but absent new money, “there will be impacts on readiness and other things, elsewhere.” However, the nation “can afford to do this,” he said. The Air Force did not receive a special appropriation to conduct Operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya in 2011—even as the service was conducting ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq—and much of the expense was covered using Air National Guard assets and funding. The rest was funded out of the Air Force’s regular operations and maintenance budget, affecting operations throughout the service.