The Obama Administration’s pledge to drawdown United States military forces in Afghanistan has seen the Department of Defense budget cut by $3.9 billion.Unveiled on April 10, President Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget revealed $526.6 billion in discretionary funding for the base budget of the Department of Defense (DOD), a decrease of 0.7 percent below the 2012 enacted level. In his budget message President Obama emphasized the U.S. commitment to responsibly drawdown its military presence in Afghanistan and support the country’s transition to full Afghan responsibility. “After a decade of war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home,” President Obama said. “Already, we have brought home more than 30,000 of our brave service members from Afghanistan. Our remaining forces are moving into a support role, with Afghan security forces taking the lead. And over the next year, another 34,000 American troops will come home.“This drawdown will continue and, by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over. Beyond 2014, the budget supports our continued commitment to a unified and sovereign Afghanistan.”According to the 2014 budget, Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds will continue to support the incremental costs of military operations in Afghanistan, as well as other activities that support Operation Enduring Freedom.The budget stipulates U.S. forces will complete the transition to full Afghan responsibility for Afghanistan by the end of December 2014, however final decisions regarding the pace of the drawdown have not been made. As a result, the budget includes a placeholder for DOD’s 2014 OCO funding, equivalent to the amount provided in the 2013 budget. The Administration continues to propose a multiyear cap that limits government-wide OCO funding to $450 billion during the 2013 to 2021 period, including $96.7 billion for OCO-funded activities in 2013. An OCO budget amendment will be submitted to Congress after a determination is made on force level requirements in Afghanistan. Further highlights from the 2014 DOD budget include support to rebalance diplomatic and military resources to the Asia-Pacific region, protecting investments in long-term capabilities that support the Nation’s defense strategy, such as the F-35 Lightning II (the Joint Strike Fighter) and increasing cybersecurity capabilities by expanding Cyber Forces led by the United States Cyber Command.
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