Monday, Oct 13, 2008
The Pentagon has reportedly proposed a $450 billion increase in the military budget in a move believed to be in preparation for a war.
The new military budget estimate for the next five years is expected to be revealed shortly before President George W. Bush leaves office in January 2009.
The fiscal 2010 portion of the estimate includes a $57 billion increase, $30 billion of which would be allocated to a vaguely defined contingency fund and $14 billion would be used for replacing or repairing existing military equipment or ‘reset and modernization’.
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The new budget numbers raise speculation about the likelihood of a new US military engagement as it highlights Defense Department fears that the already record-high military budgets would be grossly insufficient in the years ahead.
Since taking office, the Bush administration has increased baseline military spending by 30 percent, which puts the annual military spending, at its highest level since World War II.
While ‘reset and modernization’ funds in the proposal are relatively unlikely to arouse controversy, the $30 billion contingency fund could face fierce opposition.
If approved, the contingency fund would help the rapid deployment of US forces overseas in the event of an unexpected crisis.
The incoming administration would decide on the newly-proposed military budget and the large increase in overall defense funds.
“This is a political document,” said one former senior budget official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “It sets up the new administration immediately to have to make a decision of how to deal with the perception that they are either cutting defense or adding to it.”
The US presidential candidates differ on their policies regarding military issues.
While Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama only supports the current planned increase of 92,000 Army and Marine Corps personnel, his Republican rival John McCain is pushing for an additional 150,000 troops to be paid for within the initially-introduced budget.
This article was posted: Monday, October 13, 2008 at 11:21 am