Deputy Secretary Higginbottom testifies on FY 2015 OCO budget request

Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom testified on Thursday before the House Committee on the Budget on the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) budget request for fiscal year 2015.

Higginbottom said that the majority of $7.3 billion for OCO would pay for the transition out of Afghanistan and continuing work in Iraq and Pakistan.

"In particular, these resources are vital to our objectives in Afghanistan: disrupting threats posed by al Qaeda; supporting Afghan security forces; and giving the Afghan people the opportunity to succeed as they stand on their own," Higginbottom said.

The deputy secretary also said that the funding for Iraq would help the people of that country fight terrorism and establish a democracy. The budget request also includes funding to help Syrians affected by the country's civil war and to promote a ceasefire.

The OCO budget request also includes $1 billion for the Counterterrorism Partnership Fund, which would promote capacity-building efforts in the Middle East, North and East Africa and South and Central Asia.

The budget request also $75 million for the European Reassurance Initiative, which would bolster security sector reform, build capacity and improve force interoperability in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova in response to continued instability in that region.