Funding the Wars in Fiscal 2010

The Air Force’s $16 billion request for overseas contingency operations (OCO) in Fiscal 2010 (i.e., to cover the cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq), is $3.5 billion less than its war supplemental requests for this fiscal year. Briefing reporters May 7, Maj. Gen. Larry Spencer, head of USAF’s budget office, said the smaller request is due in large part to the reduced list of aircraft being sought in Fiscal 2010. Otherwise, the operations and maintenance and military personnel requests are “almost flat”—meaning roughly equal—to Fiscal 2009, and military construction is only slightly higher, he said. As for procurement, the service requests one C-130J at $72 million to replace a wartime C-130 loss and $18 million to purchase the BD-700 aircraft that it is currently leasing. The BD-700 is serving an important role in Southwest Asia as a battlefield airborne communications node and it makes sense to purchase it outright, given how long the Air Force intends to operate it, Spencer said. That’s it for airframes. By comparison, the Air Force requested six C-12s, four F-22s, and 15 MQ-9s in Fiscal 2009 supplementals. Spencer noted that the $475 million OCO request for milcon would support 23 projects, all in Afghanistan, where the US military is beefing up its presence. (For more on the OCO request, see p. 15 of the briefing charts on the Air Force’s Fiscal 2010 budget proposal.)