Pentagon Unveils USD 750 Billion National Defense Budget

The Pentagon has given out the details of the $US750 billion ($1 trillion) national defence budget that the Trump administration has asked Congress to pass, calling it an example of how the military is shifting its emphasis from counter-insurgency to competition with China and Russia.

The request comprises $US718 billion for the Defence Department and $US32 billion for defence-related activities at other agencies, primarily nuclear weapons programs at the Energy Department. The budget represents a nearly 5 per cent increase over the current fiscal year but, when adjusted for inflation, falls below overall defence-spending highs during the peak of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But US President Donald Trump’s plan to take money from the Pentagon budget for the border wall between US and Mexico, and attempt to raise the defence budget without agreeing to hikes in non-military spending has angered Democrats.

The Navy plans to retire one of its aircraft carriers early and invest in drone ships; the Army is looking to scale back investments in legacy helicopters and fighting vehicles and instead buy high-end versions; and the Air Force is dramatically increasing its investments in space.

Trump has requested more money for defence, including 78 new F-35 fighter jets.

On Tuesday, the Pentagon said the budget would help ensure peace with Russia and China by building a US military capable of defeating them in a conflict.

“The stakes are clear,” acting Deputy Defence Secretary David Norquist said. “If we want peace, adversaries need to know there is no path to victory by fighting us.

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