Leonard Head | Local & World Editor
The Pentagon is set to request $7.5 billion for next year’s budget to cover the costs of war against ISIS. The Pentagon plans to increase more capital to add U.S. troops in Syria and Iraq. The U.S. Department of Defense request is to increase the standard of operations in Syria and Iraq for the year 2017. This is about a 50-percent increase from the $5.3 billion requested in 2016. The 2017 fiscal year begins on Oct. 1, 2016.
Freshman psychology major Lexie Griggs from Washington, D.C. said, “I think it is great that the Pentagon is requesting $7.5 billion in its fight against ISIS. The U.S. deserves to be protected and if that means proposing a large budget then it is necessary.” Griggs went on to elaborate on how she thinks ISIS is becoming too powerful.
Bloomberg reported that the funding is part of the overseas contingency operations (OCO) fund, but the reported amount excludes the OCO funding for the State Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Besides OCO funding, the Pentagon’s baseline budget will be about $534 billion. That amount would exceed the sequestration budget cap that is set to return this October.
If Congress honors the requested budget amount without raising the caps, automatic spending cuts could take effect. Congress approved about $5 billion in OCO funding to fight ISIS in December for the rest of the fiscal year.
The budget request also will include a quadrupling of the funds to support NATO’s effort to counter Russian aggression in Eastern Europe, raising the current amount of $789 million to $7.5 billion. This increase will allow for the rotation of more U.S. units in Europe, additional training, and the pre-positioning of gear.
Hampton citizen Phillip Thomas who serves in the U.S. Army believes that the U.S. deserves protection from ISIS. Thomas said, “The U.S.’s strong leadership will prevail and we win not let ISIS defeat our country. I agree with the Pentagon’s plan of action to defeat ISIS.” Thomas went on to say that he thinks other countries will more than likely follow our plan of action.
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said, “All of this together by the end of 2017 will let us rapidly form a highly-capable combined arms ground force that can respond theater-wide if necessary.” The fund also subsidizes operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Carter also outlined a series of innovations by the Strategic Capabilities Office: Placing micro-cameras and sensors one can find on smartphones on small diameter bombs; swarming micro-drones that can be launched from the back of a jet flying near the speed of sound; and self-driving boats. In all, the Department of Defense budget request will be nearly $7.5 billion and will shift in focus away from one potential enemy to multiple threats.