U.S. officials expect President Donald Trump to ask for $716 billion in defense spending in the 2019 budget he will unveil in February, The Washington Post reported Friday.
The proposal is a win for Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, who unveiled recently a strategy to retool the military to deter and fight, if necessary, powers such as China and Russia, the report said.
The proposal would be a loss for Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and the Budget, who in 2017 pushed for an increase in defense spending that could be offset by domestic program cuts.
Spending on ongoing wars, maintenance of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and the Pentagon's annual budget would be included in the $716 billion figure, which would be a 13-percent increase over 2017's defense budget of $634 billion, The Post reported.
A senior U.S. official said that the $716 billion is the target number that the White House provided to lawmakers as they plan to adjust spending caps that Congress has mandated.
Pentagon officials said the 2019 budget would focus on modernization of aging weapons systems and preparation for possible conflict with major world powers, the report said.
The proposal is a "huge deal," said Mark Cancian, a Center for Strategic and International Studies defense analyst. "It's a big jump in defense and means that the Trump administration is putting resources against an extremely aggressive defense strategy," Cancian said.
The House of Representatives appropriations committee on Thursday reintroduced a bill to fund the Pentagon for fiscal year 2018, The Hill reported.
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