Bush to Ask for $401.7 Billion for Defense in 2005
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 23, 2004 In a break from past practice, the Defense Department announced that President Bush will request a $401.7 billion defense budget for fiscal 2005.
Normally, this is one of the more closely guarded figures in the Pentagon. It usually is released with great fanfare after the president's budget request is delivered to Congress the first week in February.
Officials said the number represents about a 7 percent increase from fiscal 2004.
The request does not include funds for the ongoing war on terror. DoD will make supplemental budget requests for those funds, officials said. DoD Comptroller Dov Zakheim said during a recent Defense Writers' Group briefing that he does not expect to make a supplemental request in fiscal 2004.
The fiscal 2005 request will fund continuing transformation efforts and the operations and maintenance of today's force. The budget also will focus on pay and benefits for service members and "quality-of-life measures needed to recruit and retain the highest quality volunteers for service in the active and reserve forces," a DoD official said.
"The president three years ago directed that we consider how best to transform this department to ensure our nation has the capabilities and people needed for the national security circumstances of the 21st century," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said in a written release. "We have made significant progress."
An official familiar with the budget request's details said the request invests in new intelligence capabilities, counterproliferation strategies and new capabilities to capitalize on influencing situations before war begins and after one ends.
DoD officials said the budget capitalizes on the new National Security Personnel System Congress passed last year. The system will allow DoD to more effectively manage its civilian work force.
The specific numbers making up the $401.7 billion will be announced Feb. 2.