The Pentagon’s fiscal 2020 budget request will prioritize new weapons and technology development over expanding force structure, Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters Thursday. “At the end of the day, the national defense strategy puts a priority on modernization,” Shanahan said. The deputy secretary’s remarks came as the White House and DOD have gone through multiple iterations about the topline for national security spending in the administration’s next budget request. “We’re looking at numbers above $733 [billion], and as you know, we looked at numbers below $733 [billion]. I think everybody recognizes that this is a discussion that will go on in terms of what is the right number,” he said, reported Defense News.
If the topline exceeds $733 billion, there may be enough room in the budget proposal to bolster modernization accounts as well as funding to grow the force and restore readiness. Earlier last week, Politico reported that President Trump agreed to a topline of $750 billion after meeting with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and the chairmen of the House and Senate Armed Services committees.
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