WASHINGTON – President Bush (search) will ask Congress for $419.3 billion for the Pentagon (search) for next year, 4.8 percent more than this year's spending as the administration seeks to beef up and reshape the Army and Marine Corps for fighting terrorism.
The request will not include money for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Congress already has appropriated $25 billion for those this year, and the White House is planning to request another $80 billion soon.
The president plans to roll out his military spending proposal Monday as part of a roughly $2.5 trillion overall federal budget. But documents obtained by The Associated Press show that he will request $19.2 billion more for the Department of Defense (search) than its $400.1 billion budget this year.
The proposal will include restructuring and expanding the Army and adding more combat and support units for the Marine Corps.
Under Bush's plan, defense spending would grow gradually, hitting $502.3 billion by 2011.
The proposal, according to one of the documents, supports the war on terrorism by "strengthening U.S. defense capabilities and keeping U.S. forces combat ready. It continues to implement lessons learned from ongoing operations in the war."
Those include: "The need for flexible and adaptable joint military, strong special operations forces, highly responsive logistics and the best possible intelligence and communications capabilities."
Bush plans to propose $1.6 billion to fight chemical and biological threats next year and $9.9 billion over the next five years. And, he would allocate $9.5 billion for homeland security activities next year and $147.8 billion for training, maintenance and other "readiness" programs.
Despite the overall military increase, the Pentagon's account for purchasing new weapons would actually incur a $100 million cut next year to $78 billion. The proposal underscores how huge federal deficits are affecting even the Defense Department, long one of Bush's top priorities.
More than half the total defense increase — $10.8 billion — would be for training, maintenance and other costs associated with keeping the military ready for action. Most of the rest would go for military salaries and construction of bases and housing.
The proposal calls for increasing military base salaries by 3.1 percent and civilian salaries by 2.3 percent. It also calls for giving troops more money for housing and giving reservists better health care coverage and additional education benefits.