President Trump has directed the Pentagon to submit a $750 billion draft budget proposal for fiscal 2020 in a reversal from October when he announced DOD’s request would be cut by almost 5 percent from existing plans to ask for $733 billion. The abrupt change follows a meeting at the White House last week with Trump, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and the chairmen of the House and Senate Armed Services committees, reports Politico. The shift appears to be a negotiating tactic by the administration and GOP to ensure FY 2020 spending on national security spending does not fall below $733 billion, the level senior defense leaders and defense hawks have said is needed to carry out the National Defense Strategy, according to the story. In fact, top DOD leaders recently abandoned work on an alternative $700 billion draft budget they began preparing in October and reverted to crafting the $733 billion proposal they preferred all along.
Congress allocated $716 billion for DOD and other components of national security for FY 2019. A formal announcement about the higher defense request could come this week. DOD is still “working with OMB to determine the department’s topline budget number,” department spokesman Lt. Col. Michael Andrews said Sunday.
DoD photo by Army Sgt. Amber Smith