Pentagon Proposes Billion$ For Missile Defense


The budget plan puts an emphasis on missile defense, with additions to systems that have been identified as key to countering the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear missile program.

The $686 billion spending plan - up from $612 billion in 2018 - is framed in the context of the Pentagon's new national defense strategy, and comes in stark contrast to the State Department's budget, which calls for steep cuts in spending on aid and diplomacy.

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.

"Great power competition, not terrorism, has emerged as the central challenge to US security and prosperity", said David Norquist, the Defense Department comptroller.

Last week, Congress finally moved past a string of continuing resolutions and partial government shutdowns to pass a two-year budget deal that gave the DoD $700 billion for fiscal 2018 and $716 billion for fiscal 2019.

And next year it would rise to $716 billion.

Trump said Monday that he wanted to reform the way the Pentagon buys weapons, joking that he wanted "twice as many planes for half the price". 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.

Every secretary of defense since 2011, when the Congress passed a law setting firm limits on military and domestic spending, has complained that spending caps set by the Budget Control Act were squeezing the military so hard that the number of ready-to-fight combat units was dwindling. Instead, the infusion is being sold as a fix for a broader set of problems, including a deficit of training, a need for more hi-tech missile defenses and the start of a complete recapitalization of the nuclear weapons arsenal.

Among the most expensive proposals would increase the size of the active-duty armed forces by 25,900 by next year and by 56,600 by 2023.

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

'One of the other things I think so important to mention is that, in the budget, we took care of the military like it's never been taken care of before", Trump said, In fact, General Mattis called me; he goes, "Wow, I can't believe I got everything we wanted.' I said, "That's right, but we want no excuses'".

However, the exorbitant defense package could come across many hurdles in Congress as officials debate the finer details of the proposed spending plan. 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 budget request is generally sound in addressing the military's needs, said Michael O'Hanlon, a defense analyst at the Brookings Institution.

The uncapped war account has always been used to fund routine programs that have not made the cut for the base budget.

Some of the missile defense programs that would be funded in the proposal include the Aegis ballistic missile defense system; ground-based midcourse defense; THAAD ballistic missile defense; and Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile segment enhancements.

The Pentagon has almost 20% more capacity in its bases than it needs, spends increasing amounts on pay and benefits for troops and has old, expensive weapons system that need to be retired.

Funds for the maintenance of the U.S. nuclear arsenal also increased.