Pentagon Lays Out $686 Billion Spending Plan

The future USS Michael Monsoor docks in Portland Maine following offshore sea trials Wednesday Jan. 17 2018. The Bath Iron Works-built ship is the second in the Zumwalt class of stealth destroyers

The Trump administration on Monday proposed a defense budget of $716 billion for fiscal 2019, part of an ambitious effort to substantially boost Pentagon spending after years of tight budget limits and refocus the military on countering Russian Federation and China.

The new request includes a $617 billion base budget request and would propel modernization increases by more than $28 billion.

The 2019 budget documents specifically highlighted "reversing the erosion of the USA military advantage in relation to China and Russia" which was a focal point of the National Defense Strategy unveiled by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in the National Defense Strategy released in January.

In addition to the modernization of the USA nuclear arsenal, President Trump said the Department of Defense will be "increasing arsenals of virtually every weapon ..."

The proposed raise, which would have to be approved by Congress and the White House, would amount to the largest military pay raise in nine years, the department said in the supporting papers for the budget request. The remaining $30 billion of the total is allocated for Department of Energy nuclear programs and a few other accounts.

"It's a big jump for fiscal 2018 and fiscal 2019 compared to where we are, '" said Todd Harrison, a defense budget specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a nonpartisan think tank.

US President Donald Trump on Monday unveiled a $4 trillion annual budget for the new fiscal year, proposing $256 million in civilian assistance and $80 million in military aid to Pakistan.

"While this is not a record increase, it comes on top of a budget that was already higher than the peak of the Reagan buildup when adjusted for inflation", Harrison said.

The growth of China's air force - on Friday, Beijing said its new J-20 stealth fighters, seen as a challenge to US F-22 and F-35 stealth jets, were now combat-ready - is consistent with broader efforts to enhance its military capabilities. "If the Department of Defense does not continue to reform and make smart cuts even when the budget is growing, it will just get fatter not stronger".

In Europe, the Pentagon is increasing its funding for the European Deterrence Initiative - formerly the European Reassurance Initiative - by $1.7 billion to $6.5 billion to fund a larger force of primarily rotating Army ground and air units as well as additional training.

Despite the spending hike, the increase is not likely to relieve pressure on many parts of the armed forces anytime soon, Harrison said. "Major power competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in USA national security". "It's a strategy issue", Harrison said. Defense Department Comptroller David L. Norquist identified that cyber functions would receive $8.6 billion. The 2018 budget requested the modernisation of 56 of the General Dynamics-made vehicles. Trump has added several thousand troops in Afghanistan.

Although the U.S. spends more money on defence than the next eight militaries combined, Mr 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 spending caps.



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