Bush to seek higher US military budget

US President George Bush plans to ask Congress next week for $419.3 billion in US defence spending for 2006, a 4% increase over the current $401 billion military budget, US officials have said.

    Last year, Bush asked for a 7% increase in military spending

    That 2006 Pentagon request, part of a proposed federal budget expected to total about $2.5 trillion, does not include the cost of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

     

    Those costs in the current year are provided for by supplemental funding expected to total $105 billion.

       

    The $419.3 billion draft 2006 Defence Department request for the fiscal year beginning next October includes only Pentagon spending, according to the US officials on Thursday, who asked not to be identified.

     

    It does not include spending by the Energy Department on US nuclear weapons programmes.

     

    Pentagon request

       

    The Pentagon request will go to Congress on Monday with the Bush budget, which the White House budget director said would be the tightest of the Bush presidency.

     

    Bush's plan does not include
    funds for Iraq and Afghanistan

    Last year, Bush asked for a 7% increase in US military spending to $401.7 billion for fiscal 2005.

       

    The proposed 2006 rise in US defence spending would come despite cuts in earlier-planned major Pentagon programmes totaling $6 billion in fiscal 2006 and $30 billion over the next six years.

       

    Nearly $18 billion would be slashed from programmes run by Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin Corp., the Pentagon's biggest supplier.

       

    The programme cuts were spelled out in a so-called Programme Budget Decision signed by Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and dated 23 December.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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