WASHINGTON (AP) – Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Tuesday endorsed a proposal to spend at least $1 billion to expand the size and accelerate the training and equipping of Iraqi security forces.

“I’m very comfortable with the increases they’ve proposed and the accelerations in achievement of some of their targets,” Rumsfeld told reporters at the Pentagon, noting that the Iraqi government and Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, both recommended expanding Iraqi forces.

“Now it’s simply a matter of our pressing forward and getting our portion of the funding from the Congress and working to see that it’s executed,” Rumsfeld said. He did not say how much extra U.S. money would be required.

So far, the U.S. government has spent roughly $10 billion on developing the Iraqi security forces, according to the latest report released by the Pentagon special inspector general who audits U.S. work in Iraq. One official described the proposed extra money as more than $1 billion, but would not offer specifics.


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