President Barack Obama plans to ask for an increase in military spending in a proposed budget for 2016, with a request for $585 billion that would exceed funding caps mandated by Congress, officials said.

The budget proposal for the Pentagon would provide for a hike in spending on weapons, research and maintenance, which had been scaled back under automatic budget cuts in recent years, officials told AFP.

The Obama administration, which is due to unveil its budget request on Monday, will seek a base defense budget in fiscal year 2016 of $534.3 billion along with $50.9 billion for the wars in Afghanistan and against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, a defense official said.

The request would invest $107.7 billion in weapons programs, an increase of $14.1 billion over the previous year, and provide $69.8 billion for research and development, up $6.3 billion from the last budget, the official said.

The spending request would fund a major expansion for the F-35 fighter jet, allowing for the purchase of 57 of the radar-evading aircraft, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The proposed budget would also set aside $209.8 billion for operations and maintenance, an account that absorbed major reductions under the automatic cuts two years ago.

But for the boost in military spending to be approved, Congress will have to cut a deal to stave off mandatory budget cuts that would limit defense funding to about $500 billion.

The proposed defense budget surpasses those mandatory spending limits by about $35 billion, and would mark a $38 billion increase from military spending this fiscal year.

ALSO READ  Barack Obama reveals 'smartest Gulf leader' in new book

Any military spending beyond caps set under the Budget Control Act will set off across-the-board cuts that do not take into account strategic priorities.

When the automatic cuts were triggered in 2013, the Pentagon had to place some employees on unpaid leave while slashing funding for maintenance and training.

Top commanders on Wednesday renewed warnings to lawmakers that a repeat of the automatic cuts, known as sequestration, would result in a “hollow force” and have a damaging effect on readiness, modernization plans and morale.

To offset spending increases, the Pentagon budget calls for saving money by increasing some fees for the military’s health care service while slowing the growth of housing allowances and other benefits, officials said.

The administration’s budget request, with its proposed boost for the military, could put Republicans in Congress in a difficult position, analysts say.

With a majority in both the House and the Senate, most Republican lawmakers are sympathetic to increasing the defense budget. But to make that happen, they would have to dismantle the mandatory budget limits, potentially opening the way to spending increases on domestic programs — something they fiercely oppose.

 

AFP

Share this article:
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Notice: All comments represent the view of the commenter and not necessarily the views of AMN.

All comments that are not spam or wholly inappropriate are approved, we do not sort out opinions or points of view that are different from ours.

This is a Civilized Place for Public Discussion

Please treat this discussion with the same respect you would a public park. We, too, are a shared community resource — a place to share skills, knowledge and interests through ongoing conversation.

These are not hard and fast rules, merely guidelines to aid the human judgment of our community and keep this a clean and well-lighted place for civilized public discourse.

Improve the Discussion

Help us make this a great place for discussion by always working to improve the discussion in some way, however small. If you are not sure your post adds to the conversation, think over what you want to say and try again later.

The topics discussed here matter to us, and we want you to act as if they matter to you, too. Be respectful of the topics and the people discussing them, even if you disagree with some of what is being said.

Be Agreeable, Even When You Disagree

You may wish to respond to something by disagreeing with it. That’s fine. But remember to criticize ideas, not people. Please avoid:

  • Name-calling
  • Ad hominem attacks
  • Responding to a post’s tone instead of its actual content
  • Knee-jerk contradiction

Instead, provide reasoned counter-arguments that improve the conversation.