Gates Wants $741.2 Billion for Defense This Year
Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have just begun their Pentagon budget and QDR press briefings. Here’s what they’re asking Congress to approve for the next year: $548.9 billion for the so-called base budget next year, excluding the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, which Gates said reflects “realism with regard to risk, realism with regard to resources” and “plausible real-world scenarios, potential threats and adversaries.” But if you read my QDR preview, you knew all that. “The wars we fight are seldom the wars we planned,” Gates said.
So for next year’s war request, Gates wants $159.3 billion. But that’s not all: for the “extended surge,” he wants a $33 billion supplemental to pay for the extra 30,000 troops. That’s technically part of this year’s budget request. “I will be asking the Congress to enact the supplemental by the spring,” Gates said.
That’s $741.2 billion to be spent on the Pentagon over the next year, if you’re counting. Compare that to last year’s total $663 billion request.