Mike Mount / CNN – 2008-11-21 22:04:02
WASHINGTON (November 19, 2008) — As President-elect Obama plans for his first budget early next year, the Pentagon is asking for a record amount, according to a senior Pentagon official.
The official said the Pentagon’s baseline request being sent to the White House will be $524 billion for fiscal 2010, $9 billion more than last year’s $515 billion baseline request. The source was not authorized to speak on the record.
The supplemental request, the additional amount asked for by the Pentagon to keep the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan going through the end of fiscal 2009, is $57 billion, according to the official, bringing the total Pentagon budget request to $581 billion.
Last year’s Defense Department supplemental request was $70 billion, bringing the total budget request to $585 billion.
While the baseline request is a record, added to the supplemental requests, the total the Pentagon is going to ask for next year is $4 billion less than last year.
Pentagon budget planners have been assembling the coming budget requests for months in preparation for the transfer of authority from the Bush administration to the Obama administration.
Obama transition team officials to the Pentagon, John White and Michele Flournoy, have not yet officially discussed the budget with the Defense Department transition team, according to Pentagon officials.
The record budget request comes as Pentagon leaders, including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, have said they expect the department’s budget to level off.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates, however, has also warned it could be dangerous to slash the budget.
“I think that despite the current economic problems that we’re facing, that there have been some important lessons learned subsequent to the end of the Cold War,” Gates said in September.
“We basically gutted our military after World War I, after World War II, in certain ways after Korea, certainly after Vietnam and after the end of the Cold War. One would hope that the fifth time around, that we’ve learned a lesson,” he said.
Mullen has long proposed a base national security funding of about 4 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.
“I’m not hung up on 4 percent. But I think having our national security investment correct in the times in which we’re living is absolutely critical,” Mullen said.
2008 Cable News Network
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