Due to the drawdown of forces in Iraq, the Army will reduce what it spends on overseas contingency operations (OCO) by 30 percent in fiscal year 2012.

For its operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army is requesting $71 billion, compared with the more than $102 billion it requested in 2011.

For fiscal year 2012, the U.S. Army is seeking $145 billion in its base budget request, slightly more than it asked for in 2011.

Overall, the Pentagon’s request for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan is $118 billion, a $42 billion reduction from its 2011 request.

Without knowing how many troops will leave Afghanistan in 2012, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the Pentagon used a conservative estimate of 98,000 troops.

“Because we have no idea what the size of the drawdown is, because the pace is going to be conditions-based, we decided to budget conservatively,” he said. “That is not to say we’re going to have 98,000 troops at the end of FY12.”

To create its budget for 2012, the Army planned on having 64,000 troops in Afghanistan and an average of 3,500 in Iraq, said Barbara Bonessa, deputy director for the Army budget, at a Monday budget briefing. To meet demands from theater, the Army has increased its end strength by 22,000 troops but will bring that number down to 14,600 by March 2012, Bonessa said.

Source: Kate Brannen for Military Times.

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