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Defense Leaders: Budget Requests to Support Current, Future Needs

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 1, 2007 – The defense budget request before Congress reflects what’s required to ensure the United States can defend itself and its people against current and future threats, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England told Congress today.

England joined Navy Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Tina Jonas, DoD comptroller, in briefing the Senate Budget Committee about three defense budget requests that add up to $716.5 billion.

The fiscal 2007 emergency supplemental appropriation request calls for $93.4 billion for the terror war. In addition, President Bush’s fiscal 2008 budget request includes a $481.4 billion base defense budget request and $141.7 billion for terror war funding.

England told the committee request for wartime funding during fiscal 2008 represents the department’s best prediction, but that it could rise or fall depending on how the war proceeds.

“It’s a staggering around of money, and we understand that,” England said of the three requests. But he emphasized that they reflect the realities of the 21st century and what’s needed to ensure the country is protected.

England said the defense budget request will provide warfighters what they need to defeat terrorists, protect the homeland and deter or defeat future threats.

“My job and the job of the other people in the Department of Defense is to provide them the equipment and training and everything they need to carry out that mission for America,” he said.

While funding the near-term tactical expenses of the war on terror, it’s also important to invest in long-term deterrence, he said. “It is a lot less expensive to deter and dissuade than to fight and defeat,” he said.

England said the budget requests before Congress will achieve several important goals:

-- Allow the military to modernize for current and future challenges while recapitalizing joint warfighting capabilities;

-- Increase the number of ground forces, reducing stress on the force, while improving the quality of life for servicemembers and their families;

-- Boost readiness through additional training and maintenance and more timely force resets after deployment; and

-- Enable the United States and its partners to succeed in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world in the war on terror.

England said he welcomes debate about U.S. defense spending.

“Everybody knows that we need to protect and defend our freedoms and our liberty,” he said. “While people may have different views on how to do that, I’m encouraged that everybody’s debating at the core about how’s the best way to do that.”

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