DUSHANBE, February 15, 2012, Asia-Plus – CA-News reported on February 15 that according to Silk Road Newsline, the Obama administration has requested U.S. Congress to authorize funds to the tune of $1,5 million to provide direct military assistance to Tajikistan in 2013, nearly double the amount authorized for the current year.

Submitted to the U.S. Congress on February 13 under the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program run jointly by the U.S. Department of State and the Pentagon, the FY2013 request for Tajikistan is 87 percent higher than the amount of FMF funds authorized for Tajikistan in FT2012 when it amounted to $800,000.

According to the accompanying budget documents, the FY 2013 request for Foreign Military Financing (FMF) “furthers U.S. interests around the world by ensuring that Coalition partners and friendly foreign governments are equipped and trained to work toward common security goals and share burdens in joint missions.”

“FMF promotes U.S. national security by contributing to regional and global stability, strengthening military support for democratically-elected governments, and containing transnational threats including terrorism and trafficking in narcotics, weapons, and persons,” the administration said.  “Increased military capabilities establish and strengthen multilateral coalitions with the United States, and enable friends and allies to be increasingly interoperable with U.S., regional, and international military forces.”

Last year, the FMF request for Tajikistan was accompanied by a note saying that “assistance to the Tajikistan Ministry of Defense and the National Guard will continue to support more professional and capable ground forces.  Reforms to the defense establishment will result in a force prepared to cooperate with United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces in peacekeeping and other multilateral operations.”  It is expected the finding for the FY2013 is intended for the same purpose.

FY 2013 request for the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) is part of the FY2013 international affairs account totaling $56.3 billion.  The administration’s request to nearly double the FMF funding for Tajikistan comes against substantial cuts in other areas of foreign assistance.

U.S. Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources Thomas Nides confirmed to reporters in Washington that he Overall assistance to Europe and Eurasia was cut in the Fy2013 request as part of the measures aimed at reducing the federal budget deficit.

“As the document will show, Europe and Eurasia is down about 18 percent. As the Secretary and the President has discussed many times, we have a limited amount of money, we have a huge amount of new activities occurring, and we need to shift resources based upon the activities that are occurring,” Nides said echoing earlier statement by the U.S. President Barack Obama.

“Part of our job is to bring down our deficit. And if Congress adopts this budget, then along with the cuts that we’ve already made, we’ll be able to reduce our deficit by $4 trillion by the year 2022 — $4 trillion.  I’m proposing some difficult cuts that, frankly, I wouldn’t normally make if they weren’t absolutely necessary.  But they are.  And the truth is we’re going to have to make some tough choices in order to put this country back on a more sustainable fiscal path,” Obama said.