WASHINGTON – As the Senate takes up debate on a $422 billion defense authorization bill, it seems clear that the U.S. military (search) will grow substantially in fiscal year 2005.
The House bill, which will be taken up later this week, mandates that the Army add 30,000 additional soldiers and the Marines increase troop strength (search) by 9,000.
Other features of the bill include a $10 billion request by President Bush for various anti-missile programs. Some want to re-direct part of the money authorized for missile defense (search) systems into purchases of armor for the troops in Iraq, but Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., said that is not necessary.
"Those programs are totally funded today, are being provided and do not need to take money from the ballistic missile defense program," Kyl said.
Still unclear — how Congress will handle the request from the Bush administration for another $25 billion to continue fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The administration wants maximum flexibility over how that money can be spent, but several members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are concerned about writing what they say amounts to a blank check.
Click here to watch a report by Fox News' Brian Wilson.