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Bush's defense budget slates
$19.4 billion for war on terrorism

By Lisa Burgess, Washington bureau
Pacific edition, Monday, February 4, 2002

ARLINGTON, Va. - Homeland defense, the war against terrorism and modernizing the
military will be the trinity President Bush invokes as he tries to convince Congress to
boost Pentagon spending to levels not seen since the Cold War was hot.

The Bush administration submits its $379 billion defense budget proposition for 2003 to
Capitol Hill on Monday - $48 billion more than last year's $331 million request.

For the past two weeks, Bush has been touting the 14.5 percent jump over 2002 levels as
the largest defense spending request increase since President Reagan successfully lobbied
Congress for a 17 percent addition to the Pentagon's 1982 budget.

In reality, however, $19.4 billion of that increase is actually "must pay"
bills, such as $6.7 billion to account for inflation; an $8 billion increase in health
care costs; and $2.7 billion to pay for a 4.1 percent pay raise Congress promised back in
1999, a senior defense official told Pentagon reporters Friday.

Another $19.4 billion of Bush's proposed defense increase is specifically set
aside to pay for the costs of the war against terrorism.

Of that sum, $9.4 billion is for "the long-term programmatic consequences of the
war," the official said, such as replenishing ammunition extended in Afghanistan.

"If the war [on terrorism] ended tomorrow, we would still have to pay that $19.4
billion," the official said.

The other $10 billion is "an exceedingly conservative estimate" to pay for
whatever operations may be called for in 2003, the official said.

"We know we'll be involved [in the war], but how, where and at what tempo we
don't know," the official said.

Between the war and fixed, unavoidable cost increases, "what people perceive as a
$48 billion increase [in defense spending], in practice is less than $10 billion,"
the official said - $9.8 billion more in proposed spending, to be precise, to cover
everything else the Pentagon says its wants, from new weapons programs to better housing.

At the same time, however, the Pentagon is proposing $9.3 billion in program cuts,
which added some room to the bottom line.

Losers in the 2003 proposal include 18 older Army systems, for a total savings of $500
million; the Navy Area Missile Defense System (canceled Dec. 14), a savings of $100
million; and reducing the production number of LPD-17 amphibious transport dock ships from
two to one, saving $1.1 billion.

With a limited pot of money to spend on defense programs not directly related to the
war, Pentagon officials were faced with a difficult calculation as they built the 2003
proposal: how much emphasis to place on keeping conventional forces ready to fight, and
how much money to spend on modernizing the forces, the official said.

"We made a reasonable trade-off - 'reasonable' being defined as,
'Scaring the pants off Saddam Hussein and Kim Jung Il (of North Korea) while also
transforming,'" he said.

Overall, all of the services will have more money in 2003 than in 2002 if Congress
approves the Bush request:

  • The Air Force is the biggest winner, going from $94.3 billion in 2002 to $107 billion in
    2003, a $12.7 billion increase.

  • The Army would go from $80.9 billion to $90.9 billion, a $10 billion jump.

  • The Navy/Marine Corps budget would grow from $98.8 billion in 2002 to $108.3 billion in
    2003, a $9.5 billion increase.

With Sept. 11 events still dominating the national agenda, Bush is asking for $9.4
billion for DOD-related anti-terrorism measures in 2003. That includes $3 billion for
counterterrorism, force protection and homeland security and $1.2 billion for continuing
the air patrols over the United States.

And with the U.S. largely caught by surprise by the attacks, Pentagon officials have
decided on a "substantial investment" to boost spending on intelligence
gathering, the official said. The precise amount, however, is part of the
"black," or classified, portion of the budget.

Posed by Bush as an essential element of national security, one of the proposal's
big winners is missile defense.

The president is asking for $7.8 billion for research, development testing and
purchasing elements of a layered missile defense system that can defeat short-, medium-
and long-range missile attacks against the United States - the same amount that the
Pentagon received from Congress in 2002.

Unmanned surveillance planes such as the Global Hawk and the Predator played major
roles in DOD missions in 2001, patrolling the border between Kosovo and Macedonia to spot
insurgents and weapons moving between the two areas, and in Afghanistan.

Not surprising then that unmanned vehicles are another winner, with a proposed $1
billion investment for aerial and underwater systems; $300 million more than was
appropriated in 2002.

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