Trump budget proposal lifts spending on Pentagon

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      Wikimedia Commons  David B. Gleason

The request sets aside $716 billion for national defense programs, including $617 billion in base Pentagon spending and $69 billion for overseas contingency, or war, accounts, totaling $686 billion for the Defense Department.

In an unusual budget rollout, the Defense Department published documents detailing a budget request that the White House Office of. The department plans to spend $6 billion to procure three DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Class Destroyers, $7.4 billion for two Virginia Class Submarines, $1.3 billion for one Littoral Combat Ship, and $1.8 billion as a payment for a previously acquired CVN-78 Class Aircraft Carrier. That's an increase of $1.69 billion for weapons activities, including upgrading and building new nuclear warheads.

The $686 billion (Dh2.5 trillion) spending plan - up from $612bn in 2018 - is framed in the context of the Pentagon's latest national defence strategy, and contrasts with the State Department's budget, which calls for steep cuts in spending on aid and diplomacy.

Though the USA spends more money on defense than the next eight militaries combined, Norquist said the 2019 budget request merely would put Pentagon spending back on track to where it would have been had the administration of Barack Obama not implemented strict spending caps. The overall spending levels were worked out, however, in an ambitious two-year budget deal reached last Friday with congressional leaders from both parties.

The new budget released February 12 includes more money for F-18 aircraft, such as the one shown here.

"In addition, the budget requests $80 million in Foreign Military Financing assistance to enhance Pakistan's counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency capabilities, contingent on Pakistan taking appropriate action to expand cooperation in areas where US-Pakistan interests converge and to address areas of divergence, in line with the administration's South Asia strategy", the White House said. Despite increasing forces in Afghanistan by some 3,000 troops, the funding request represents a slight decrease over current funding for Afghanistan.

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The number of Air Force combat squadrons would increase from 55 to 58 by 2023. The current manpower of the armed forces stands at more than 1.34 million as of December 2017.

The Pentagon request released Monday claims to align with the Pentagon's recently released National Defense Strategy, which elevates the possibility of great power conflict with Russian Federation and China as the country's greatest security concern, eclipsing terrorism. "The Budget builds a more lethal, ready, and larger joint force that, combined with a robust system of allies and partners, would sustain American influence and preserve stable regional balances of power that have proven conducive to peace and prosperity".

Missile-defense batteries at Fort Greely, Alaska, and at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California would gain up to 44 more interceptor missiles, a move that comes in response to North Korea's development of ballistic missiles with the range to strike the continental United States.

Anti-Islamic State operations in Iraq and Syria get a $2.3 billion boost over fiscal year 2018, even as ISIS has lost almost 100 percent of the territory it once controlled there.

"The Department of Defense has expended more munitions than planned over the last few years, primarily to defeat Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), leading to higher demand to replenish munition inventories", according to budget documents.

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