US President Donald Trump today proposed a USD 1.1 trillion budget, requesting a massive USD 54 billion increase in defence spending and a substantial cut in the State Department allocations particularly foreign aid, which is likely to have an impact on recipients like Pakistan.
"There is no question that it is a hard power budget. This is not a soft power budget. And that was done intentionally. The President very clearly wants to send a message to our allies and our potential adversaries that this is a strong power administration," Director of the Office of Management of Budget Mick Mulvaney told reporters ahead of the rolling of the annual budget.
"So we have seen money move from soft power program such a foreign aid to more hard power programs. That's allies can expect. That's adversaries can expect," Mulvaney said.
The USD 54 billion increase in US defense spending is more than India's annual defense budget.
In his communication to the US Congress this morning, Trump said his budgetary request includes an additional USD 30 billion for the Department of Defence (DOD) to rebuild the US Armed Forces and accelerate the campaign to defeat the ISIS, and an additional USD 3 billion for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for urgent border protection activities.
This also requests USD 24.9 billion in the DOD base budget for urgent warfighting readiness needs and to begin a sustained effort to rebuild the US Armed Forces.
The request seeks to address critical budget shortfalls in personnel, training, maintenance, equipment, munitions, modernisation, and infrastructure investment.
It represents a critical first step in investing in a larger, more ready, and more capable military force, he said.
Trump said the request also includes USD 5.1 billion in the Overseas Contingency Operations budget for DOD to accelerate the campaign to defeat ISIS and support Operation Freedom's Sentinel in Afghanistan.
This request would enable DOD to pursue a comprehensive strategy to end the threat ISIS poses to the US, he said.
Trump has suggested an additional USDthree billion for DHS implementation of his executive orders on border security and immigration enforcement.
"The request would fund efforts to plan, design, and construct a physical wall along the southern border, and make other critical investments in tactical border infrastructure and technology. The request also proposes funding to increase immigration detention capacity, which is necessary to ensure the removal of illegal aliens from the US," Trump said.
Mulvaney said the budget proposes to cut the State Department's foreign aid programme by massive 28 per cent.
"That is not a commentary on the President's policy towards the State Department," he said, adding the foreign aid line items in the budget happens to fall within the State Department functions.
During his campaign, Trump had said he wants to spend
less money overseas and more money back home. The budget proposals tries to accomplish this goal.
"Foreign aid gets reduced," he said, without elaborating any further.
This is likely to have an impact on America's foreign aid to countries like Pakistan, which has been one of top recipient of America's foreign aid post 9/11.
The top recipients are Afghanistan, where 8,400 US troops are deployed, about USD 4.7 billion; Israel, USD 3.1 billion; Egypt, USD 1.4 billion; Iraq, USD 1.1 billion; Jordan, USD 1 billion and Pakistan, USD 742 million. Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Ethiopia each received more than USD 500 million.
Talking to reporters in Japan where he is travelling, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson defended the budget proposals.
"The level of spending that the State Department has been undertaking in the past - and particularly in this past year - is simply not sustainable. So on a go-forward basis, what the President is asking the State Department to do is, I think, reflective of a couple of expectations," he said in response to a question.
"As time goes by, there will be fewer military conflicts that the US will be directly engaged in; and second, that as we become more effective in our aid programs, that we will also be attracting resources from other countries, allies, and other sources as well to contribute in our development aid and our disaster assistance," he said.
The State Department, he said, is going to be undertaking a very comprehensive examination of how programs are executed and a very comprehensive examination of how it is structured.