Bush asks for $716.5B DOD budget

The Bush administration has requested a $716.5 billion fiscal 2008 budget for the Defense Department that includes a $481.4 billion base budget, a $141.7 billion war budget and a $93.4 billion 2007 supplemental budget.

Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, called these totals staggering. Although Congress “cannot provide adequate national defense on the cheap…neither can we afford to simply ratify the president's request without performing the due diligence and oversight our Constitution requires,” he said.

Congress appropriated $436.5 billion for DOD in 2007, which included a $70 billion bridge fund for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. That brings total war funding for the 2007 fiscal year -- which ends in September -- to $163.4 billion, an increase of $48.9 billion from fiscal 2006, according to a committee analysis of the president’s budget.

The committee will scrutinize the supplemental budget request to ensure “the spending is justified and that all items requested truly meet the standard of 'emergency' spending,” Skelton said.

The 2008 war budget request totals $141.7 billion, including $88.5 billion for personnel and operation and maintenance, $32.9 billion for procurement, and an additional $4.7 billion for security forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The 2008 DOD budget also includes a military pay increase of 3 percent, which is in line with inflation, and funds for an increase of 7,000 Army personnel and 5,000 in the Marine Corps.

Both the 2008 baseline DOD budget and the 2007 supplemental budget include funds to replace or repair Army and Marine Corps equipment damaged or destroyed in Afghanistan or Iraq. But this equipment request also includes funds for the F-35 Strike Fighter in the category of combat loss replacements, which the committee said “muddies” the equipment funding request.

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