Air Force: $10 billion more to fight global threats
WASHINGTON — The Air Force said Monday that a proposal to boost its annual budget in 2019 by $10 billion will help accelerate the service’s readiness and modernization efforts in the face of new global threats.
Under the $156.3 billion plan, the Air Force would see 2.6 percent pay increase proposed for all servicemembers, boost its military force by 4,700 to 506,200 and grow its bomber force for its new B-21 Raider Fleet.
The budget will help the service meet the demands of the new National Defense Strategy, which last month said the U.S. is in a national security race against China and Russia and faces emerging threats from North Korea and Iran.
“The United States now faces a more competitive and dangerous international security environment than we have seen for generations,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said in an overview of the 2019 fiscal-year request. “The Air Force must build a more lethal and ready force.”
The request is part of an overall budget proposal released by the President Donald Trump’s administration Monday. Some 2019 budget figures were leaked in recent weeks, but specific spending requests for each of the services were released to Congress on Monday.
On Friday, lawmakers reached a deal to lift statutory spending limits for defense and non-defense spending. That budget-cap deal sets a spending guide, but doesn’t appropriate the money.
For now, the Pentagon, like the rest of the government, is operating off a temporary funding plan – the fifth since the 2018 fiscal year began Oct. 1 – and by March 23 will need another funding measure in place to keep the government’s lights on.
Friday’s deal lifts a $549 billion budget cap for defense spending in 2018 to $629 billion and puts $71 billion in a war account known as Overseas Contingency Operations, for a total of $700 billion. The 2019 plan lifts a $562 billion budget cap to $647 billion and puts $69 billion in the war fund for a total of $716 billion.