Trump proposes huge increase in military spending

A budget the likes of which the Pentagon has never seen

A budget the likes of which the Pentagon has never seen

"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.

The Department of Energy said the money was needed to modernize and restore the country's nuclear weapons complex.

Trump's budget plan was released weeks after the Pentagon issued a national security strategy that called for a shift away from battling terrorist groups, such as al-Qaida and Islamic State, and retooling the military to deter and, if necessary, fight nuclear-armed adversaries such as Russia, China or North Korea.

Reports say the review is expected to call for a major expansion of missile interceptor sites in Alaska, which now form the bulwark against a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile attack against the USA mainland.

Trump's new spending plan could allocate an additional $74 billion to the Pentagon's budget, a 14% increase, Bloomberg reports.

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.

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It marks the second request under Trump, far surpassing the $639.1 billion his administration asked for previous year, which drew criticism from Capitol Hill defense hawks who called for higher military spending.

Officials said pay and benefits for uniformed personnel make up about a third of the Pentagon's budget and amount to the single largest expense category for the department.

The 2019 budget plugs part of that gap by spending $1.1 billion on 43,000 satellite-guided bombs, about 9,000 more than in 2018. That's an increase of $1.69 billion for weapons activities, including upgrading and building new nuclear warheads. 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 calls for an increase of active armed forces by 25,900, with an 11,500 increase for the Army; 7,500 for the Navy; 1,100 for the Marine Corps; and 4,000 for the Air Force.

The fiscal year 2019 budget seeks to procure 10 new naval warships, along with growing the Air Force from 55 combat squadrons to 58 by fiscal year 2024.

That will cost $2.4 billion, according to Bloomberg News.

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Trump said he wants Mattis to get better deals on military equipment, such as "twice as many planes for half the price".

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 Pentagon would spend $48.9 billion in Afghanistan, almost $2 billion more than last year, while the fight against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria would receive $15.3 billion, an increase of $2.3 billion over last year.

The additional 20 interceptors would be based at Fort Greely, Alaska. The budget proposal is significantly larger than the Pentagon's 2018 request for $617 billion.

"Great power competition, not terrorism, has emerged as the central challenge to USA security and prosperity", said David Norquist, the Defense Department comptroller. The administration budget proposal does not clearly set aside money for moving those forces to the capital.

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