Pay Raise, Plus-up, War on Terror Highlight Budget Requests
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 5, 2007 A 3-percent pay raise for servicemembers, an increase in ground forces and continued funding of the global war on terrorism are on the table now that President Bush has delivered his fiscal 2008 defense budget request and 2007 emergency supplemental request to Congress today.
The total DoD 2008 budget request is pegged at $481.4 billion. This represents an 11.3-percent increase over fiscal 2007.
“As commander in chief, my highest priority is the security of the nation,” President Bush said in his letter delivering the budget to Congress. “My budget invests substantial resources to fight the global war on terror, and ensure our homeland is protected from those who would do us harm.
“We will transform our military,” he continued, “to meet the new threats of the 21st century and provide the brave men and women on the front lines with the resources they need to be successful in this decisive ideological struggle.”
The total U.S. government budget request is $2.9 trillion.
The president’s emergency supplemental request for this fiscal year is set at $93.4 billion. This request will cover the cost of operations through the end of fiscal 2007, Sept. 30. The request also includes funds to repair or replace equipment lost in combat.
All of the requests must be passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House and Senate may make changes in the request.
Strategic modernization receives the lion’s share of the budget request, with $176.8 billion and 38 percent. Readiness and support will receive $146.5 billion and make up 30 percent of the request. Military pay and health care are pegged at $137 billion and 28 percent of the request. Family housing and facilities improvement is looking at $21.1 billion and roughly 4 percent of the request.
Under the proposal, the active-duty Army will grow to 547,400 soldiers by the end of fiscal 2012. The service now has 484,400 soldiers. The increase will allow the Army to field 48 brigades – up from 42 – and give soldiers two years at their home stations for every year deployed.
The Marine Corps will grow to 202,000 by fiscal 2012 from 175,000 authorized today. Officials said the move will fill out the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force and give the Marines the same 2-to-1 ratio home-to-deployment ratio the Army has -- in this case, 14 months home for every seven months deployed.
Continuing its growth over the last several years, U.S. Special Operations Command will add nearly 3,000 special operators in 2008 and more than 10,000 over the next five years, in an effort to build force structure without diluting the quality training that is critical to combat global terrorism, officials said.
The operations and maintenance budget is set at $164.7 billion, up from $149.2 billion in fiscal 2007. This is an increase of more than 15.5 percent. Procurement is set to go up more than 20 percent – from $81.3 billion to $101.7 billion. The research, development, test and evaluation budget remains constant, at $75.1 billion.
The budget request also asks for $1.7 billion for permanent Army and Marine Corps end-strength increases.
If the budget is enacted as submitted, the Army will receive $130.1 billion in fiscal 2008, for an increase of more than 20 percent. The Navy will receive $119.3 billion, up 9 percent. The Marine Corps will receive $20.5 billion, up 4.3 percent, and the Air Force will receive $136.6 billion; an increase of 8.2 percent.
The Air Force F-22 Raptor fighter is budgeted at $3.8 billion for 20 aircraft. A further $743 million is budgeted for research and development.
The Air Force and Navy each will receive six F-35 Joint Strike Fighters at $2.6 billion. Continued research and development for the F-35 is set at $3.4 billion in fiscal 2008.
The Navy will receive 24 F/A-18E/F Hornet jet fighters at $2.4 billion and 18 E/A-18G Growler aircraft at $1.3 billion. The Growler is the electronic warfare variant of the Hornet.
The Army’s Future Combat System will receive $3.7 billion in research and development funds. Unmanned aerial and ground vehicles, non-line-of-sight launch systems and command and control systems are highlighted in the program.
Shipbuilding will receive $14.4 billion under the request for a CVN-21 next-generation aircraft carrier, a Virginia-class sub, an amphibious assault ship and a logistics ship. The program funds three littoral combat ships and will continue funding for two DDG-1000-class destroyers and another amphibious assault ship.
The budget request highlights the importance of space-based systems for today’s military. The request calls for $6 billion for command and control, navigation, strategic/tactical communications and weather satellites. This includes the next generation NAVSTAR Global Positioning System satellite constellation.
The budget request funds $141.7 billion for Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. This provides more than $70 billion for ongoing combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. It also provides $15.2 billion for force protection and defeating improvised explosive devices – the biggest killer of coalition troops.
The request asks for $2 billion to train and equip Iraqi security forces and $2.7 billion for Afghan security forces. The request provides $1.7 billion for coalition support efforts and $1 billion to replenish the Commander’s Emergency Response Program, which allows commanders down to brigade level to fund projects in neighborhoods that benefit the community and put unemployed Iraqis and Afghans to work. Officials said this program has an inordinate impact on the security situation in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The fiscal 2007 emergency supplemental request will fund operations through Sept. 30. The request is for $93.4 billion, with $39.3 billion going to warfighting, supplies, support and maintenance. Also, the supplemental request provides $10.4 billion to defeat improvised explosive devices.
The supplemental budget request asks for $3.8 billion to train and equip the Iraqi security forces and $5.9 billion for Afghan security forces.