President Donald Trump’s 2020 budget provides for a five percent increase in defense spending, notably to finance building his controversial border wall while slashing funds for diplomacy by 23 percent.
If approved as is - an unlikely scenario given opposition in Congress - military spending would increase to $750 billion for the fiscal year 2020, which begins in October 2019.
This figure includes $718.3 billion for the Pentagon and $32 billion for the Energy Department to maintain and provide fuel for America’s nuclear arsenal.
By comparison, proposed funding for the State Department and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) amounts to $42.8 billion, a decrease from the $55.8 billion granted by Congress the previous year.
The proposed budget allocates $66.7 billion for ongoing external operations such as those in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Syria, a three percent decrease from the previous year, according to military officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“Emergency” funds amount to $9.2 billion, $2 billion of which is for reconstruction of hurricane-ravaged military facilities, officials said.
The remainder is for the construction of the wall that Trump has pledged to build on the border with Mexico -- a country he repeatedly promised would pay for the barrier itself.
Some $3.6 billion would serve to build a “border barrier” while another $3.6 billion would refund money from the 2019 defense budget that was intended for military construction but was redirected by Trump after he declared a “national emergency” to fund the border wall, a military official said.
Trump also wants to redirect $5 billion from the Department of Homeland Security’s budget, bringing the total amount devoted to his wall to $8.6 billion, or more than $12 billion if the requested 2019 funding reimbursement is included.
The budget also confirms Trump’s desire to create a “Space Force” with a 15 percent jump in funds for space exploration, at $14.1 billion. Cyber defense sees its budget increase by 10 percent to $9.6 billion.
The proposal also provides for a 3.1 percent augmentation in the salaries of members of the armed forces, which would be their largest pay increase in a decade.