The U.S. military has indicated it will still need funding in Afghanistan after all troops have left. Experts believe the war will continue to cost the United States through 2017. Congress must now consider how much funding to provide as the war winds down, and troops continue to leave the country.
The United States will still have bills to pay from the Afghanistan war through 2017, according to the Pentagon and Congressional hearings. The need for war funding despite the end of the war is raising many questions from lawmakers. The military explains the troop pullout will be costly, and there are equipment concerns that cannot be ignored along with other issues.
The Pentagon explains the war funding is necessary to keep the U.S. military safe and whole once troops are gone from Afghanistan. However, it is not clear exactly how the funds will be used, and lawmakers have noted abuse in the past. The problems stem from the overseas contingency operations (OCO) funds that raise questions about spending in the military.
The overseas contingency operations (OCO) are being used for things that do not appear to be directly related to the overseas war. Instead, the funds have been used for training and base maintenance in other parts of the world. The military has become dependent on these funds for many of its activities despite them not being used for Afghanistan.
As Congress continues to make multiple cuts to the U.S. military, justifying a large war fund for a war that is ending is more difficult. However, the Pentagon would like to continue to see these funds because of the way they are being used. Since they have been allowed to make use of the funds for activities outside of Afghanistan, it is clear the military would continue this pattern. There are also unclear rules that seem to allow for this use.
The arguments will continue in Congress, and critics are still wondering about abuse of the funds that has been noted in the past. They are concerned that the same issues will be seen again with more funding being handed out over the course of several years. There are no easy solutions to the problem since the Pentagon has come to rely on the war funds for other things. It believes that the reduction of these funds will have a lasting impact on the U.S. military.