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02 March 2005

Wolfowitz Outlines Aims of New Defense Spending Requests

Supplemental funds sought for transformation, foreign security training

Washington -- President Bush’s proposed fiscal year 2006 budget for the Department of Defense must be looked at in context of the global War on Terror, the transformational needs of the military, and the movement by citizens of the Middle East and elsewhere toward democracy, as well as the humanitarian work the U.S. military does, such as assisting the survivors of the Indian Ocean tsunami, says Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz.

Speaking before the Senate Budget Committee March 1, Wolfowitz acknowledged that the budget request, $419.3 billion, is “sizable by historic standards,” but he said it is a “sustainable defense burden, especially in light of the stakes involved.”

Terrorists, he said, are still actively plotting and despite many counterterrorism successes “we must maintain strong pressure on them and, if possible intensify it.”

The administration is also seeking almost $75 billion in its FY 2005 supplemental appropriations request; this is in addition to $25 billion in supplemental funding granted in August 2004.  The money will be used, Wolfowitz said, to “address the 'wear and tear' on our military equipment, to create a larger, more combat-capable Army and Marine Corps, and to train and equip Iraqi and Afghan security forces.”

He explained that these expenditures are needed now and cannot wait for the FY 2006 budget allotments, which cannot be spent until after October 1, 2005.

The restructuring of U.S. ground forces involves converting brigades into independent brigade combat teams capable of conducting operations on their own.

“The active army,” Wolfowitz said, “will expand from 33 maneuver brigades in fiscal year 2003 to 43 brigade combat teams in fiscal year 2007.”  Similarly, the Army National Guard, which currently has 15 brigade combat teams, will have 34 by FY 2010.  The result, he said, is that all of these troops can be deployed or mobilized much less frequently.

Wolfowitz also spoke to the issue of base realignment plans for bringing 70,000 U.S. military personnel back to the United States, while relocating the forces and equipment that remain overseas.

“We are changing fundamentally the character of our global stationing, and, at the same time, we’re going through a major effort to realign our basing posture here at home, so that it supports the essentially expeditionary character of most of our forces.  In addition,” he said, “ we think this realignment of our base structure will support the new requirements for homeland defense.”

The supplemental request, combined with the FY 2006 budget request, he said, “provides sufficient funding to sustain the president’s pledge to defeat global terrorism, to restructure America’s armed forces and global defense posture, to develop and field advanced warfighting capabilities, and, most of all, to provide for the personnel needs of our forces."

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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