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July 23, 2019

US budget boosts military spending

Congressional Democrats and Republicans have increased the US Department of Defence (DoD) budget to $738bn for 2020, a 3% rise from this year’s budget, despite Republicans seeking a higher increase in military spending.

By Harry Lye

Congressional Democrats and Republicans have increased the US Department of Defence (DoD) budget to $738bn for 2020, a 3% rise from this year’s budget, despite Republicans seeking a higher increase in military spending.

The Pentagon had requested a $750bn budget which it said was necessary for the US military to maintain its strength. The total US budget passed is $1.4 trillion.

Congressional Armed Services Committee member Mac Thornberry said: “While I believe that our military needs more funding than this agreement provides, it undoubtedly makes our military stronger and more agile.

“We cannot underestimate the incredible benefit of funding our troops on time for the second year in a row, something Congress hasn’t done in recent memory. By doing so, we will potentially save billions by avoiding wasteful stopgap measures. For those reasons, this agreement has my strong support.”

The US Navy was allocated the highest share of the defence budget accounting for $205bn, with the Army receiving $191bn and the Air Force $204bn.

The US is also set to spend around $100bn on research and development, a $9bn increase, investing in ongoing projects developing autonomous aircraft and vessels. Another area receiving increased funding is the Pentagon’s Cyber Command which is set to receive $10bn.

President Donald Trump praised the deal tweeting: “I am pleased to announce that a deal has been struck with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy – on a two-year Budget and Debt Ceiling, with no poison pills.

“This was a real compromise in order to give another big victory to our Great Military and Vets!”

The US is consistently the world leader in defence spending, followed by China and Saudi Arabia. In 2018 the US spent more than the next ten biggest defence spenders combined.

In 2018 the DOD alone spent triple that of its European NATO allies combined. Since the election of Donald Trump, the US has pressured NATO allies to increase defence spending to the recommended 2% of their GDP.

The US defence budget maintains the country’s vast reach across the world, funding 800 bases in 70 countries.

The US Defence budget has received criticism for excessive spending in past years after it was revealed the US Air Force was buying $1,000 coffee cups.

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