Trump to ask for $716 bn for 2019 defence budget: Report

Washington: US President Donald Trump is expected to ask for $716 billion for defence spending in the 2019 budget to be unveiled in February, the American media has reported.

The figure will represent a seven per cent increase over the 2018 budget, which was yet to be passed through the Congress, The Washington Post quoted an US official as saying on Friday.

Trump’s request would cover the Pentagon’s annual budget as well as spending on ongoing wars and the maintenance of the US nuclear arsenal, said the report.

Defence Secretary Jim Mattis unveiled the National Defence Strategy last week, in which he proposed boosting the power of the US military.

Mattis said that the country’s military competitive edge “has eroded in every domain of warfare” because of inconsistent funding.

The increase in defence spending, as pundits say, would be critical to achieving Trump’s vision for the military, including a larger Navy fleet and a bigger Army, Xinhua news agency reported.

But others warned that a long-term increase in the US military spending would dramatically expand the deficit.