DoD reduces budget request for overseas contingency operations by one-third

The Department of Defense's request for $58.6 billion in overseas contingency operations funds for fiscal year 2015 represents approximately one-third less than it received in 2014 and a continued decrease in war-related spending.

Bob Work, the deputy defense secretary, told Congress on Wednesday during a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee that the funding would be used to repair and replace worn-out and damaged equipment. The funds would also support a broader U.S. presence in the Middle East and southwest Asia, according to a DoD press release.

Work said the overseas contingency operations funds would support troops serving in harm's way in places like Afghanistan, where the U.S. is transitioning from a combat role to a support and counterterrorism mission.

"This will require high-end intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets, close air support, force protection, and logistics into next year," Work said. "We also must return thousands of pieces of equipment from Afghanistan to our home stations and close down hundreds of combat facilities there."

Work said continued U.S. support and assistance to Afghan security forces keeps the Taliban from gaining momentum.

"Over the last year, these forces have demonstrated tactical superiority over the Taliban, and have prevented the Taliban from gaining momentum, as demonstrated by their professionalism in the most recent national elections," Work said. "We believe it is critically important that we maintain sufficient financial support for these forces so they can sustain those gains and continue to assume full responsibility across Afghanistan."

The 2015 request includes funding for two presidential initiatives, a counterterrorism partnership fund and a European reassurance initiative to fund exercises and training.