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American forces press service (Feb. 7, 2005): budget emphasizes present, future warfighting capabilities.

WASHINGTON -- The president's $419.3 billion defense budget request for fiscal 2006 reflects Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld's four basic priorities: defeating global terrorism, restructuring the armed forces and global defense structure, developing and fielding advanced warfighting capabilities, and taking care of U.S. forces.

A senior defense official unveiled details of the proposed budget, which reflects a 4.8 percent increase over the 2005 budget and a 41 percent increase in DoD's budget since 2001.

The new budget continues to support the global war on terror and to provide those in uniform with the tools they need to fight this global war on terror, the official told Pentagon reporters.

"But it is also important that we are transforming the way we fight wars, and that includes new organizational strategies and realigning our forces and bases," the official said. "And in the area of building joint capabilities for future threats, we are applying the lessons from today's operations to strengthen our knowledge and joint capabilities for the future."

And although it was the last point listed on the briefing slide, the official said the effort to "take care of our forces" is actually the most important of all in the proposed budget. "People are our most important asset, and we continue to provide significant benefits and pay for our people," she said.

Funding to support the global war on terror is a key part of the budget proposal, and the official said the centerpiece of that is a $48 billion commitment to restructure the Army's ground forces into brigade combat teams to create a more modular force. A military official told reporters this ongoing effort will increase the Army's combat capability by about 30 percent and is already showing a clear payoff in relieving the force during current operations in Iraq.

In support of this priority, the budget also:

* Accelerates the restructuring of the Marine Corps to add more combat and support units

* Provides $2.1 billion in additional funding, for a total of $9.9 billion, to increase the chemical and biological detection and protections for U.S. forces

* Funds homeland security activities, including Operation Noble Eagle, routine combat air patrols, and emergency preparedness and response activities

* Increases funding for special operations forces to $4.1 billion to add 1,200 new special operations troops and four SEAL platoons, as well as other initiatives

* Provides additional funding to improve intelligence capabilities and intelligence-gathering systems, including the space-based radar and secure communications platforms

* Seeks legislative authorities that support the Commander's Emergency Response Program and other programs in direct support of the war on terrorism.

The proposed budget also reflects continuing efforts to restructure U.S. forces, global and stateside basing, and DoD management and support activities. At the same time, it supports initiatives to better manage current demands on the force.

In support of this priority, the budget:

* Provides continued funding to restructure Army ground forces and to add combat and support units to the Marine Corps to increase its warfighting power and reduce stress on its high-demand forces

* Increases the Navy's combat power by supporting the Fleet Response Plan, replacing aging ships, and transitioning to a new generation of more capable ships

* Supports the continued restructuring of 10 air and space expeditionary forces that enable the Air Force to better support U.S. combatant commanders worldwide

* Helps manage demand on the force by rebalancing high- and low-demand capabilities within the active and reserve components and returning military personnel in civilian-like jobs to combat and core defense functions

* Restructures the U.S. global defense posture and streamlines DoD bases and facilities "to help us be where we need to be" for current and future operations, rather than Cold War-era ones, the official said.

The fiscal 2006 budget proposal reflects ongoing efforts to develop and field new military capabilities--with an emphasis on joint capabilities--to counter future threats, the official said. In support of this priority, the budget:

* Continues funding to develop, test, and field missile defense technologies to defeat ballistic missiles and adds five ground-based interceptors

* Supports Army modernization through the Future Combat Systems Program and the Army Aviation Modernization Plan

* Promotes Navy shipbuilding to continue the shift to a new generation of ships and funds four new ships

* Funds advanced aircraft to increase U.S. capabilities and replace aging systems; this includes funding for the F/A-22 Raptor, Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Joint Strike Fighter. C-17 transport aircraft, and tanker replacement

* Continues funding to develop and field intelligence and intelligence-gathering capabilities

* Promotes development and procurement of unmanned systems, including Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems and Global Hawk and Predator unmanned aerial vehicles.

The budget also maintains President Bush's commitment to support U.S. military forces and their families, whom the senior defense official called "our nation's most important defense asset." The proposed budget:

* Funds a 3.1 percent hike in military base pay and a 2.3 percent increase in civilian pay

* Increases funding for the Defense Health program

* Provides a 4 percent increase in the basic allowance for housing and eliminates more inadequate family housing units

* Expands healthcare coverage under TRICARE for National Guard and Reserve members before and after mobilization

* Provides up to 36 months of educational benefits for reserve component members who have been mobilized

* Increases maintenance funds for facilities used by DoD military and civilian employees.
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Title Annotation:In the News
Author:Miles, Donna
Publication:Defense AT & L
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2005
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