By Tony Capaccio
The Pentagon is seeking congressional approval to shift as much as $641 million in funding for intelligence and surveillance to priorities such as expanding Afghanistan operations of a Boeing Co. (BA) drone for Navy commandos.
The request for the “reprogramming” of previously approved military intelligence funds was submitted yesterday to the four congressional defense committees in a 20-page document. It follows an $8.2 billion request on June 29 to shift funds for other defense programs.
The $94.2 million sought for the ScanEagle drones made by Chicago-based Boeing would provide more ground stations. Six sites operated by contractors in Iraq would be moved to Afghanistan and ground stations operated by Navy SEALs would be doubled to eight from four.
The surveillance drones are vital to supporting Afghan local police and village-stability efforts “aimed at building an enduring, self-reliant Afghani general population able to resist insurgent” threats, according to the document.