WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is projecting a $22 billion shortfall in its operations-and-maintenance budget, despite receiving an appropriations bill that funds the Defense Department for the remainder of the fiscal year, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said.
In addition, sequestration cuts, which must be implemented between now and Sept. 30, are expected to total $41 billion, down from earlier projections of $46 billion, Hagel said Thursday during a briefing at the Pentagon.
Since October, DoD had been operating under a continuing resolution, which froze spending at 2012 levels, prevented new program starts and did not allow money transfers between accounts. Congress passed a 2013 appropriations bill that President Barack Obama signed into law earlier this week. The Pentagon must apply the mandated sequestration cuts to that budget.
DoD is operating about $7 billion above its war funding projections for operations in Afghanistan, Hagel said. Much of these increased costs are attributed to the removal of troops and equipment from the country.
Earlier this month, defense officials pegged DoD’s operations-and-maintenance shortfall at $35 billion. The recently passed 2013 defense spending bill injects more money into those accounts.