Speaking before the Economic Club of Washington, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter will officially reveal on Tuesday the Pentagon’s spending priorities for fiscal year 2017. While it’s unclear if the address will get into specifics, US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, indicate that the Pentagon will be requesting a significant increase in cash.
Much of the money will be allocated to the fight against Daesh. For its anti-terror campaign, the Pentagon is requesting over $7 billion from the US Congress, a 35% increase over the previous year’s budget.
If granted, this would appear to contradict an agreement to cut the Pentagon’s budget by $15 billion over a two-year period. Because of those restrictions, a $7 billion increase would likely have to be drawn from the Overseas Contingency Operations Account. This account is separate from the Pentagon’s official budget, and contains approximately $59 billion.
Officials did not specify how that money would be spent.
Carter is also expected to list other Defense Department priorities for the upcoming fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, including the Pentagon’s plans for addressing the Ukraine crisis, and the need of the United States to maintain a military edge over Russia and China.
One official suggested that Carter will likely mention the development of the next generation long-range US military bomber. That program began last year, with an estimated budget of $564 million. That price tag is expected to climb.
The Defense Department released plans to replace its aging fleet of Ohio-class submarines, as well as to upgrade its stockpile of nuclear-armed ballistic missiles.
In addition, sources say Carter will address an increased need for functional cybersecurity, electronic warfare capability, and the safeguarding of the nation’s satellites.
A US-led coalition began a bombing campaign against Daesh in 2014. Despite carrying out thousands of sorties, the airstrikes have had little effect on the terrorist group’s infrastructure. Monitoring groups have reported a growing number of civilian casualties.
In contrast, a Russian anti-terror campaign beginning last September has had a devastating effect on the terrorist organization. Over the past week, Russian warplanes eliminated 1,300 targets.
"Over the past week, Russian warplanes carried out 468 sorties in the Syrian Arab Republic, including 24 combat missions conducted by long-range Tu-22M3 bombers," Major General Igor Konashenkov said on Monday.