Supplemental defense budget request: $30B to address readiness
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s budget requests for $670 billion for defense through fiscal year 2018 need to represent “long-term growth in defense spending,” Pentagon officials said Thursday.
Trump proposed a $30 billion supplement for 2017 that would fund the Defense Department through Sept. 30, along with $639 billion for fiscal year 2018, which begins Oct. 1.
Fiscal year 2017 “is the down payment,” said John P. Roth, the acting Pentagon comptroller. Roth was one of two senior defense officials who briefed reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday about the supplemental request, which has to be passed by Congress.
The bulk of the $30 billion would go toward Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ pledge to restore readiness to personnel and weapon systems worn down by 16 years of combat. The supplement would fund 36,000 new Marines, sailors, soldiers and airmen; add $5 billion to carry out the campaign against the Islamic State group, and provide almost $24 billion for new weapons systems.
Army Lt. Gen. Anthony R. Ierardi, who also briefed reporters, said this needs to be the start of long-term spending to sustain the new personnel and weapons systems.
“Growth for growth’s sake without the accompanying resources to ensure it can accomplish a mission assigned is not as good,” he said.
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