February 26, 2009 in Nation/World

Defense: Slight increase sought

Associated Press
 

Available details of President Barack Obama’s proposed government spending for the 2010 budget year that begins on Oct. 1. A more extensive budget outline is expected in April. In most cases, the figures are for discretionary spending and do not include mandatory entitlement programs like Social Security. The percentage change is based on what Obama wants to spend next year compared with what he anticipates the government will spend in 2009 once Congress completes appropriations for this year.

Agency: Defense

2010 proposal: $533.7 billion

Change from 2009: 4 percent increase

War spending (addition to annual budget): $130 billion for 2010, $75.5 billion for 2009

Highlights: Obama wants only a modest increase in defense spending for 2010.

His proposal of at least $533.7 billion is only a 4 percent increase from estimated 2009 spending. Such a sizable sum shows the new administration plans to take a moderately conservative approach to the nation’s defense.

But some weapon systems may take big cuts as officials and contractors decide how existing programs fit into that budget after adjustments for inflation.

Obama’s request to Congress on Thursday also includes a separate $205.5 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan between now and fall 2010. More than a third of the war money — $75.5 billion — would be spent before October, when the new budget year begins.

Obama’s senior defense advisers have warned that extraneous defense spending would be cut but said a detailed plan won’t be released until April.

The administration said Thursday that big-ticket programs were risky and vowed to set “realistic requirements” for military priorities.

The administration said it also planned to increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps and increase salaries for service members by 2.9 percent. It also will try to improve care for wounded veterans.

While the rhetoric does not bode well for contractors developing pricey weapon systems, the 2010 budget plan still reserves a considerable amount for the military, including some $10 billion a month for combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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