Sticking to the Plan

The Obama Administration does not plan to seek supplemental appropriations to cover the costs of Libya operations, but will instead pay for them out of currently available defense funds. The costs “will be offset through reductions in lower priority support activities” and through “some reduction to the peacetime flying hour program,” states the White House report to Congress, dated June 15, outlining Obama’s political and military objectives for the war-torn African country. As of June 3, the Pentagon had spent $715.9 million on Libya-related military activities and humanitarian assistance since the start of operations in mid March. The total price tag is expected to exceed $1 billion by the end of September if the current pace of operations continues, according to the report. Appearing on Fox News Sunday on June 19, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the US strategy for Libya is “absolutely right.” He said Obama’s arrangement with key allies was, from the very beginning, that the United States “would come in heavy at the beginning, establish a no-fly zone, and then hand off the operation to our allies and . . . recede into a support role.” The President has “stuck to” that, asserted Gates. (Libya report; caution, large-sized file.) (Report cover letter) (See also AFPS report by Jim Garamone.)