Pentagon to seek '35% hike' in funding for anti-ISIS fight

WASHINGTON • President Barack Obama's administration will seek a significant increase in funding for the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as part of its 2017 defence budget request, officials say, in another possible sign of American efforts to intensify the campaign.

The 2017 fiscal year Pentagon budget will call for more than US$7 billion (S$10 billion) for the fight against ISIS, a roughly 35 per cent increase compared with the previous year's request to Congress, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

US Defence Secretary Ash Carter is due to disclose his spending priorities for the US$583 billion 2017 defence budget this morning (Singapore time). In his speech, Mr Carter is expected to cite his intent to increase the administration's request for funds to battle ISIS, officials say.

He is also expected to touch on other budget priorities, including plans to increase spending to reassure European allies following Russia's intervention in Ukraine, and the need for the United States to maintain its military edge over China and Russia.

Mr Carter's budget will underscore the need for Washington to fund a new US Air Force bomber awarded last year to Northrop Grumman, a replacement for the Ohio-class submarines that carry nuclear weapons, and to start replacing a fleet of nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles, according to a source.

In his speech, US Defence Secretary Ash Carter is expected to cite his intent to increase the administration's request for funds to battle ISIS, officials say. He is also expected to touch on other budget priorities, including plans to increase spending to reassure European allies following Russia's intervention in Ukraine.

The proposed budget will also seek to boost spending for several key priorities, including increased cyber security, electronic warfare and increased security for crucial US satellites.

Lockheed Martin, maker of the F-35 fighter jet, Boeing and other big weapons makers are anxiously awaiting details of the budget and how it will affect their programmes.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 03, 2016, with the headline 'Pentagon to seek '35% hike' in funding for anti-ISIS fight'. Print Edition | Subscribe