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Army Seeks Bigger Budget for Troop Increase

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U.S. Army
Monday, May 22, 2017

*Updated 23 May 2:57pm EDT

The Army is seeking $166 billion in fiscal 2018, an amount that includes $28.9 billion in overseas contingency funding.

The base budget proposal that is part of the Trump administration’s first full defense budget is about $4.5 billion more than had been planned by the Obama administration.

About half the increase goes to pay for the higher troop levels authorized by Congress last year as lawmakers not only stopped but slightly reversed the drawdown. The other half of the increase is mostly dedicated to modernization and readiness efforts.

The base defense budget includes requests for a 2.1 percent pay increase for troops, seeks authority for a base closure and realignment plan starting in 2021, and increases investment in military construction and family housing.

The fiscal 2018 defense budget provides for a pay increase of 1.9 percent for the civilian workforce, while at the same time planning for a 1.5 percent reduction in the Army’s civilian workforce.

Full funding is included in the 2018 request for a 476,000-strong Regular Army—the amount approved by Congress in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act—but it does not include funding to build to the 540,000-soldier force Donald Trump proposed during his presidential campaign.

In January, the Army and other services provided Congress with detailed lists of unfunded priorities. The Army’s list asked for $7 billion in fiscal 2018 to grow the Regular Army to 490,000. This proposal is not part of the 2018 budget prepared by the White House, apparently because the Trump administration has been unable to reach an agreement with the Republican-controlled Congress on spending that would give more money to the military by cutting domestic programs.