Washington (AFP) -President Barack Obama plans to ask for an increase in military spending in a proposed budget for 2016, with a request for $585 billion that would exceed funding caps mandated by Congress, officials said Wednesday.
The budget proposal for the Pentagon would provide for a hike in spending on weapons, research and maintenance, which had been scaled back under automatic budget cuts in recent years, officials told AFP.
The Obama administration, which is due to unveil its budget request on Monday, will seek a base defense budget in fiscal year 2016 of $534.3 billion along with $50.9 billion for the wars in Afghanistan and against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, a defense official said.
The request would invest $107.7 billion in weapons programs, an increase of $14.1 billion over the previous year, and provide $69.8 billion for research and development, up $6.3 billion from the last budget, the official said. The spending request would fund a major expansion for the F-35 fighter jet, allowing for the purchase of 57 of the radar-evading aircraft, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The proposed budget would also set aside $209.8 billion for operations and maintenance, an account that absorbed major reductions under the automatic cuts two years ago.
But for the boost in military spending to be approved, Congress will have to cut a deal to stave off mandatory budget cuts that would limit defense funding to about $500 billion.
The proposed defense budget surpasses those mandatory spending limits by about $35 billion, and would mark a $38 billion increase from military spending this fiscal year.