By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
Feb. 6, 2007 – The war on terrorism has cost $545 billion to date, the department's top budget official said today. Pentagon Comptroller Tina Jonas told reporters in the Pentagon that Congress has appropriated $452 billion for the war on terrorism via emergency supplemental budget measures. Another $3 billion has been appropriated for Operation Noble Eagle, the mission providing a combat air patrol over the continental United States and security at airports that started after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, she said.
The comptroller said DoD is asking for another $93.4 billion as part of the emergency supplemental request for 2007.
She projected $141.7 billion in operational expenses in fiscal 2008. This will bring the total for the war on terrorism to about $690 billion.
Jonas also spoke about the $38.8 billion allocated for military health care for fiscal 2008. The budget assumes some change in military health care because health care expenses are rising well above inflation, Jonas said.
In 2006, the administration tried to raise the amount beneficiaries pay for health care. DoD officials said the benefit had to be updated to maintain the quality of care. Under changes suggested then, certain classes of beneficiaries would have to pay more.
Congress did not go along with the request and called for a task force to examine the problem. The 2006 National Defense Authorization Act called for DoD to appoint a 14-member Task Force on the Future of Military Healthcare. DoD announced those selected to serve on the task force on Dec. 22. The task force is scheduled to turn in an interim report to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in May. The final report is due in December.
"We are waiting to see what the task force recommends," Jonas said.
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