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Pentagon asks for more defense budget after US congress raises cap

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The US Department of Defense (DoD) on Monday rolled out a budget of 716 billion US dollars for fiscal year 2019, meeting the limit newly approved by Congress that roughly marks a 10-percent increase over current spending levels.

This marks the first time that the Pentagon's base budget tops 600 billion dollars in recent years, and an ambitious move to boost defense spending.

The budget consists of 617 billion dollars in base budget, which covers Pentagon operation cost and arms purchase, 69 billion dollars in the Overseas Contingency Operations, also known as the war fund, and 30 billion dollars of defense budget allocated for other government agencies.

Congress approved last week the proposal to raise caps on military and domestic spending for two years, which sets the defense budget at 700 billion dollars for 2018 and 716 billion for 2019.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Pentagon Comptroller David Norquist said the proposal was drafted in accordance with the National Defense Strategy and National Security Strategy released earlier that focused on "great power competition."

Norquist said the Pentagon was pleased that Congress has voted to raise the caps on defense spending and end sequestration, which he said was essential for the US military to "climb out of a hole."

The Army will receive some 143 million dollars, the Navy 179 million dollars, the Air Force some 170 million dollars and DoD agencies some 105 million dollars, according to a breakdown of the budget.

With the increased spending, the Pentagon plans to add another 25,900 military personnel by the end of the fiscal year 2019, and offer a 2.6 percent pay rise, the highest in nine years.

The budget plan, pending approval by Congress, was one of the few in the collective federal budgets released by White House on Monday that increased from last year. By contrast, many welfare programs and government agencies budgets saw steep cuts.

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