Defence spending up 5 per cent in Donald Trump’s 2020 budget plan

Defence spending up 5 per cent in Donald Trump's 2020 budget plan

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WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump’s 2020 budget provides for a five percent increase in defense spending, notably to finance building his controversial border wall while slashing funds for diplomacy by 23 percent.

If approved as is — an unlikely scenario is given opposition in Congress — military spending would increase to USD 750 billion for the fiscal year 2020, which begins in October 2019.

This figure includes USD 718.3 billion for the Pentagon and USD 32 billion for the Energy Department to maintain and provide fuel for America’s nuclear arsenal.

By comparison, proposed funding for the State Department and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) amounts to USD 42.8 billion, a decrease from the USD 55.8 billion granted by Congress the previous year.

The proposed budget allocates USD 66.7 billion for ongoing external operations such as those in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Syria, a three percent decrease from the previous year, according to military officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“Emergency” funds amount to USD 9.2 billion, USD 2 billion of which is for reconstruction of hurricane-ravaged military facilities, officials said.

The remainder is for the construction of the wall that Trump has pledged to build on the border with Mexico — a country he repeatedly promised would pay for the barrier itself.

Some USD 3.6 billion would serve to build a “border barrier” while another USD 3.6 billion would refund money from the 2019 defense budget that was intended for military construction but was redirected by Trump after he declared a “national emergency” to fund the border wall, a military official said.

Trump also wants to redirect USD 5 billion from the Department of Homeland Security’s budget, bringing the total amount devoted to his wall to USD 8.6 billion, or more than USD 12 billion if the requested 2019 funding reimbursement is included.

The budget also confirms Trump’s desire to create a “Space Force” with a 15 percent jump in funds for space exploration, at USD 14.1 billion.

Cyber defense sees its budget increase by 10 percent to USD 9.6 billion.

The proposal also provides for a 3.1 percent augmentation in the salaries of members of the armed forces, which would be their largest pay increase in a decade.

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