Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Trump Proposes $686B for FY 2019 DoD Budget

Trump Proposes $686B for FY 2019 DoD Budget

The Defense Department's fiscal year 2019 budget request, unveiled Monday, asks lawmakers to fund an increase of more than 15,000 active duty troops and invest in key modernization programs to rebuild the United States' long-held battlefield capability advantages over Russian Federation and China.

In addition, "we'll be buying more stuff" to bolster depleted inventories, particularly munitions, Mattis said ahead of the release Monday of the Defense Department's overview of the fiscal 2019 budget request, and the individual requests of the services.

The budget represents a $74 billion increase over the Defense Department's current funding.

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.

The budget request for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the agency tasked with protecting the country from missile attacks, was $US9.9 billion, which is up from the $US7.8 billion funding request for fiscal 2018.

"It will be a larger nut initially" for the military, Mattis said of the two-year deal, but the agreement worked out by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump also raised the prospect that Congress could return at the end of fiscal 2019 to the budget caps of the sequester process. The overall spending levels were worked out, however, in an ambitious two-year budget deal reached last Friday with congressional leaders from both parties. It also would fund more than 400 new aircraft, including 77 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, 24 F/A-18E Super Hornet fighters, 60 AH-64 Apache helicopters and 68 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.

As Sputnik International reports, President Trump's foreign policy appears to be increasingly offensive, sending more combat missions to Somalia and Yemen while adding several thousand additional troops to the ongoing American war in Afghanistan, and wielding sharp rhetoric that has many fearing a coming ground war with the DPRK, as the White House continues to demand that Pyongyang give up nuclear weapons.

The Great Lakes lose out. again
Despite strong bipartisan support in Congress for this program, President Trump's budget only calls for $30 million in funding. Some officials, including members of Trump's Republican party, vowed to boost funding for the Great Lakes.

Defense Secretary James Mattis lauded the proposed budget saying it is needed to reshape and improve the military's lackluster combat readiness while shifting its focus away from terrorism.

The number of Air Force combat squadrons would increase from 55 to 58 by 2023.

It takes years to recruit and train new forces, and although Pentagon officials want to refocus on preparing for war against other major powers, US forces are still deployed in substantial numbers in Afghanistan, Iraq and other hot spots fighting insurgents and other unconventional foes. The current manpower of the armed forces stands at more than 1.34 million as of December 2017.

The budget request also calls for increases to active duty force sizes, including about 4,000 in the Army and Air Force, and about 7,600 Navy sailors. The budget proposal is significantly larger than the Pentagon's 2018 request for $617 billion.

The Pentagon also plans to spend $13.7 billion on high-tech capabilities, though the request doesn't lay out in detail how the Pentagon plans to allocate such funds.

It's not officially funded and the Department of Defense is not on board to build it.

Trump has asked the Pentagon to develop options for a major military parade in Washington this year, similar to one he watched last year in Paris that included French tanks, missiles and troops.

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