The Pentagon on February 12 requested $300 million to train and equip the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and wants nearly as much to build a “border security force” with them in Syria.
The military’s budget proposal for 2019 also contains $850 million for train-and-equip activities in Iraq to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
“The training, equipment and operations support in this request will consolidate the gains achieved against and prevent its reemergence,” according to the proposal submitted to Congress.
The Pentagon wants $1.4 billion for fiscal year 2019, an amount that is slightly less than its 2018 budget at $1.8 billion.
The U.S.-led coalition, officially known as the Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), said last month it was creating a 30,000-strong border security force in northern Syria along Turkey’s border.
After strong objection by Turkey, the Pentagon appeared to somewhat back off from its plans for a border security force, comprised of local security forces trained in Syria, saying the U.S.-led coalition is training the SDF as a “stabilization” and “hold force.”
But on the contrary, the Pentagon still plans to establish and fund the group, according to the budget proposal that asks for “$250 million for border security requirements related to the counter-ISIL mission” in Syria.
The first budget proposal prepared by the Pentagon for the fiscal year 2018 required $606 billion, the budget for the fiscal year 2019 increased $80 billion to $686 billion.
Following appropriations, Congress increased the budget for the fiscal year 2018 from $606 billion to $692 billion. Considering the rise in this year’s budget for the fiscal year 2019, the defense budget is expected to hit $800 billion.
In addition, the Pentagon’s overseas contingency operations budget, also known as the war fund, has increased from $65.8 billion to $89 billion in the 2019 budget proposal.