DECEMBER 9, 2022
USA News

Pentagon struggles to foot bill for arms buildup in West Asia: Report

Pentagon struggles to foot bill for arms buildup in West Asia: Report

Pentagon officials say they are struggling to find funds to pay for the recent military buildup in West Asia, according to a senior US defense official who spoke with Politico.

“Current events have revised some of the operational assumptions used to develop the FY 2024 President’s Budget request. Specifically, neither the base budget request nor the FY 2024 supplemental request included funding for US operations related to Israel,” Pentagon spokesperson Chris Sherwood is quoted as saying.

“Because DOD had to hunt for funds, that means less money for training, exercises, and deployments the military had already planned for the year. Some contractual payments could be delayed,” he added. “We’re taking it out of hide."

Politico reports that, as of 28 November, defense officials are “still working on releasing an estimate of the total cost of the US support for Israel.”

Just weeks after failing its sixth financial audit in a row – and despite counting on a ballooning budget that nears $1 trillion – Pentagon officials say they are working under a “stopgap measure” that prevents them from starting any new programs or paying for anything above the 2022 budget. 

Since the start of the Gaza-Israel war, the US has deployed nearly a dozen warships to the Eastern Mediterranean and the Red Sea. Thousands of troops and dozens of fighter jets have also been mobilized to nations near Israel.

US defense officials had previously sounded the alarm about the congressional stalemate, warning that their funding woes could harm shipbuilding and procurement programs and the US industrial base itself.

According to Politico, if congress cannot pass a full spending bill by spring, the Pentagon and other federal departments will have to cut their overall expenses by 1 percent.

The US government is expected to reach a $1 trillion defense budget by 2027, if not before.

Washington's defense budget has expanded as a result of both the war between Ukraine and Russia, which many analysts argue was sparked by the US, and the unwavering support given to Israel in its war against Palestinians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.

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