Obama Funds to Fight in Iraq to Help Raytheon, LockheedTony Capaccio
President Barack Obama’s request for an added $5.6 billion to fight Islamic State includes funds to replace missiles and bombs made by Raytheon Co., Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp.
The funds for defense contractors were included in details of the budget request sent today to congressional leaders. The White House announced on Nov. 7 that Obama was asking Congress to approve the funds, in part to support 1,500 more U.S. troops to train and advise Iraqi forces in addition to the 1,600 already authorized.
The White House funding request includes $3.4 billion for U.S. operations against Islamic State, $1.6 billion to train and equip Iraqi and Kurdish security forces and $520 million for State Department operations against the extremist group that has seized a swath of Iraq and Syria.
Congress would have to approve the request before any additional U.S. troops can be deployed, according to administration and Pentagon officials.
“We need the funding to begin this phase of the operation,” Army Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters today.
The 1,500 personnel “will not begin to flow until this $5.6 billion is approved,” nor will the U.S. be allowed to train Iraqi and Kurdish forces, he said.
The money would be part of a budget request of $63.6 billion for war operations, largely in Afghanistan, plus $7.8 billion for the State Department and related programs.
The biggest weapons request is $54.3 million to replace 47 Tomahawk missiles launched on the first day of air operations in Syria against targets of the Khorasan extremist group and an unspecified number of laser-guided Maverick air-to-ground missiles, according to the documents released today. The Tomahawk and Maverick are made by Waltham, Massachusetts-based Raytheon.
The request would provide $49.1 million to buy from Chicago-based Boeing additional Joint Direct Attack Munition tail-kits that convert unguided bombs to satellite-guided munitions. The administration also is requesting $21 million for the Air Force to buy more Boeing “Small Diameter Bombs,” satellite-guided munitions intended to minimize civilian deaths, and Lockheed Hellfire laser-guided missiles.
The added funding would give the Air Force $932 million for operating costs including flying hours, fuel and repairs and provide the Navy $122.6 million for its operating costs as well as $55 million to buy “small tactical” drones.
In addition, $51 million is requested for what’s described as Army “counter-intelligence communications and electronics equipment programs.”
There’s also a separate $3 million request for more Army Hellfire missiles fired from Apache helicopters.
For the State Department, the request includes $8.6 million to expand operations of its Center for Strategic Counterrorism Communications.
“Funds would support the creation of outreach and training programs and audiovisual techniques aimed at countering” the Islamic State’s “current volume of propaganda production,” the documents said.
Also $6.3 million is requested for Voice of America Kurdish and Turkish-language services and to “surge and expand activities” of Alhurra and Radio Sawa network programming “to amplify and provide a platform for moderate Muslim voices to disavow extremism over television, radio, and digital (web, social, mobile) platforms.”
The cost of U.S. air operations over Iraq and Syria as of Oct. 16 averaged $8.3 million a day, or $580 million since they began Aug. 8. The U.S and allies have flown more than 8,000 missions through Nov. 3, including combat strikes that have dropped or launched 2,178 munitions, according to U.S. Central Command.