Bush Delivers $419.3 Billion DoD Budget to Congress
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2005 President Bush's $419.3 billion fiscal 2006 defense budget request continues the work of transforming the military, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said today.
Rumsfeld spoke during a news conference unveiling the Pentagon budget.
People are the highest priority in the budget. It funds a 3.1 percent pay raise for military personnel and raises the basic allowance for housing 4 percent. The budget request expands Tricare to cover mobilizing reservists and their families. For civilian personnel, the pay raise is capped at 2.3 percent.
The budget is a 4.8 percent increase over what Congress enacted in fiscal 2005.
Changing the military to combat the threats of the global war on terrorism is central to the fiscal 2006 budget request, Rumsfeld said. "While our world and the threats to it had changed markedly since the end of the Cold War, the assumptions underlying U.S. force structure, planning and our posture around the world had not changed to the same extent," he said.
The Sept. 11 attacks and the campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq provided the impetus for the department's transformation efforts to a more agile, lethal and expeditionary force. "I've noticed people have thought that when people use the terms 'agile,' 'lethal' and 'expeditionary,' they think that means smaller," Rumsfeld said. "It doesn't. It isn't the size of the force that was wrong; it was the shape of the force and the capability of the force."
The secretary said all branches of the military are restructuring to supply more combat power with increased speed and lethality, agility and precision. Ground forces are at the forefront of that change in 2006. The Army will restructure and go from a "division-centric" idea to capabilities built around brigade combat teams. The Marines will add two battalions of infantry and various support and combat-support specialties.
The president's overriding priority is for commanders to have the troops and equipment they need to prevail in the global struggle against extremism, Rumsfeld said. At the same time, the military must build for the future and counter all the possible threats posed today.
"We must take care of our troops by ensuring they and their families continue to receive the support they need in recognition of their sacrifices and their service to our country," he said.
And, finally, the secretary said, DoD must be a good steward of U.S. taxpayers' money.
The secretary said the only way you can look at the fiscal 2006 budget is to look at the supplemental requests too. The supplemental request to cover operations in the global war on terrorism will be delivered to Congress next week, officials said, and that will also help cover some Army restructuring costs.
"The Army is engaged in a multiplicity of activities," Rumsfeld said. "They are in the process of rebalancing the skill sets between the active force and the reserve components." This means that the service must retrain some soldiers and re-equip units.
The change will mean the active component, for example, will expand from 33 brigades to 43. "(The Army is) doing it at a time when they are bringing back forces and resetting them from their deployments around the world," Rumsfeld said. "That offers a wonderful opportunity to do all those things at once. The bulk of that was in the nature of resetting the force they decided to put it in the supplemental for this year and next year. Thereafter, we'll decide what portion of these activities should be in the supplemental or the regular budget."