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WASHINGTON — The Army’s fiscal 2008 budget includes funding for more troops, more guns and more ammunition, as part of plans to dramatically grow the service over the next six years.

The plan also calls for nearly $2 billion more in military construction than last year, nearly all of that for “grow the force” projects, but drops family-housing funds by about $100 million.

Army officials acknowledged that could be a long-term problem. They said they need Congress to fully fund Base Realignment and Closure plans over the next few years to make sure enough housing is built to accommodate both the new soldiers and the existing force.

The $130 billion budget is up 18 percent from what the Army received in fiscal 2007, and up almost one-third from just two years ago.

Much of that is tied to increases in the service’s end strength, which will grow by 7,000 active-duty soldiers in fiscal 2008 and by 33,000 more the following year. Plans call for the Army to grow to more than 547,000 active-duty troops by fiscal 2013, and add another 9,000 guardsmen and reservists over that same period.

Soldiers will see about $55 million more for small- and medium-caliber ammunition under the budget plan. Army officials said much of that will be for firing ranges and other training purposes. Overall, the service’s ammunition funds will increase by more than $210 million, an 11 percent increase over the last budget.

Plans also call for a $96 million increase in funding to purchase M-4 carbines, and troops will see a push to get more of those distributed worldwide.

Officials said because the gun is shorter than the M-16 rifle, the M-4 is preferable in many situations for noncombat troops who frequently enter and exit vehicles. However, they emphasized the work is not an attempt to completely replace the M-16.

The budget also includes money for a 3 percent pay raise for all soldiers and civilian personnel.


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