Budget of $603 billion isn’t enough to support Trump’s military plans, report

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The $603 billion budget request made by US President Donald Trump to congress isn’t enough to sustain the new administration’s military plans for the next fiscal year, US media reported citing sources close to lawmakers.

US Defense Secretary James Mattis has told members of Congress privately that Trump’s desired increases aren’t enough to fuel the president’s plans for military expansion, CNN wrote referencing four unnamed sources “familiar with the conversations.”

"Mattis continues to express to members of the Armed Services Committees that he's being thwarted getting his message out that $603 billion is insufficient to do what Trump has called for," CNN reported a  Republican lawmaker, who requested anonymity, as saying.

Senate Armed Forces Chairman John McCain, who is considered to be a war hawk, had written in a January white paper that the Department of Defense needs a $640 billion budget for 2017.

The fiscal year begins on October 1.

Yesterday in a meeting with US Special Presidential Envoy to the Coalition Brett McGurk, Iraq's foreign minister stressed the need for massive international support in rebuilding Iraq.

Jaafari suggested “the adoption of a project similar to the Marshall Plan which contributed to rebuilding Germany after the Second World War.  He emphasized activating the strategic framework signed between Baghdad and Washington,” the statement detailed.

US Defense and State Department allocations of budgets often cross paths. The White House proposed a $25.6 billion budget for the State Department and USAID, a 28 percent reduction from current levels. USAID, the US Agency for International Development, provides economic, development and humanitarian assistance with the purpose of supporting US foreign policy goals.

Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, was planning for a $584 defense budget — down from $597 billion in 2016.

Trump has recently expressed support for military boosts, including adding tens of thousands of more enlisted soldiers, growing the Navy to 350 ships, and bolstering the air force.

“Reviews: Our military is building and is rapidly becoming stronger than before ever's [sic]. Frankly, we have no choice!” Trump tweeted on April 16.

He has hinted that he is capable of negotiating cost reductions in arms acquisitions.

“And with the country[’s] massive cost reductions on the … I have negotiated per military purchases and more,” Trump tweeted in January. “I believe the people are on [sic] seeing ‘by[sic] big the stuff.’ ”

Since Trump has come to office, more than 1,000 Marines have been deployed to northern Syria. 

He acted unilaterally striking an airfield in Syria on April 7 without the approval of the UN security council and beyond the scope of the US-led international coalition against ISIS.

Obama had considered ordering strikes after the 2013 chemical attack in Aleppo, but instead deferred to congress, which didn’t authorize strikes.

The US and the Kurdistan Region are strategic partners in the fight against ISIS. There are more than 5,000 US troops in Iraq, although not officially in combat roles. 

They provide training, advice, and assistance to Kurdish Peshmerga and Iraqi security forces.

“If the Iraq security force components... do not receive the necessary training, equipment, advice, and assistance they will not be successful in liberating and holding areas, denying ISIL safe havens and producing an integrated force,” the document released in February 2016 explained, adding that it is a cost-effective means of defeating ISIS and “providing lasting improvements to the security and stability of Iraq.”

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Budget of $603 billion isn’t enough to support Trump’s military plans, report Budget of $603 billion isn’t enough to support Trump’s military plans, report Reviewed by Defense Alert on 00:09:00 Rating: 5

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