Joint Chiefs of Staff

Pentagon Seeks $30 Billion Extra in This Year's Budget

The Pentagon with White House support asked Congress Thursday to approve $30 billion in supplemental funding as part of the Fiscal Year 2017 defense budget to accelerate the anti-ISIS campaign, add more troops, replenish munitions and boost readiness.

With or without the additional money, the 2.1% pay increase for all Defense Department uniformed and civilian personnel will remain in effect, said John P. Roth, a Pentagon budget analyst who was listed as "performing the duties" of the vacant post of Under Secretary of Defense, Comptroller.

On Thursday, President Donald Trump nominated David L. Norquist, a partner with the accounting firm of Kearney and Co., to serve as Under Secretary of Defense, Comptroller.

Of the $30 billion requested in supplemental funding, $24.9 billion would be added to DoD's requested base budget for FY2017 of $524 billion, bringing the base budget total to $549 billion. An additional $5.1 billion was requested for the Overseas Contingency Operations budget -- the so-called "war budget."

The extra $5.1 billion in OCO money would boost the proposed OCO total for FY2017 from $65 billion to $70 billion and bring the grand total for the FY2017 DoD request to $619 billion, Roth said.

All of the numbers are problematic since Congress has yet to pass an FY2017 appropriations defense bill and is operating on a Continuing Resolution that puts DoD spending at the FY2016 level of $580 billion.

The $24.9 billion in extra base budget money included $977 million for personnel costs, $7.2 billion for operations and maintenance, $2.1 billion for research and development, $962 million for increased supply stocks and critical facility repair and $236 million for military construction.

About $4 billion of the $5.1 billion in extra OCO money requested would go to the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, including $1.4 billion for force protection and replenishing munitions, $2 billion for a "flexible fund" to pay for a new counter-ISIS strategy, and $626 million to train and equip Iraqi and Syrian partnered forces.

The other $1.1 billion in requested OCO money would to the war in Afghanistan and for funding "counterterrorism activities," including the "planning and design of construction projects in support of detention operations at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba."

Roth said that the Pentagon had been looking forward to shutting down the detention facilities at "Gitmo," as planned by former President Barack Obama, but "it doesn't seem as though we're going to close it anytime soon" in the Trump administration. Trump has said that Guantanamo will remain open and would be filled with "some really bad dudes."

Earlier Thursday, the White House released Trump's "America First Budget" which renewed his pledge to boost defense spending by $54 billion in FY2018.

Trump's FY2018 request of $639 billion for the Department of Defense included $574 billion for the base budget and $65 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations.

In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, Trump said that the extra $30 billion this year would "address critical budget shortfalls in personnel, training, maintenance, equipment, munitions, modernization, and infrastructure investment. It represents a critical first step in investing in a larger, more ready, and more capable military force."

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at richard.sisk@military.com

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