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Bush Sends $400B Defense Spending Plan to Congress - 2004-02-02

President Bush has sent Congress a proposed defense spending plan for fiscal year 2005 starting next October that totals just over $400 billion.

The $401.7 billion defense budget represents a seven percent increase over the current spending plan.

But it contains no new funds for military operations in Iraq or Afghanistan. The Pentagon says the multi-billion dollar supplemental funding measure passed late last year should pay for those activities in 2004.

Instead, the new defense budget focuses again on providing more pay and benefits to military personnel and on improving overall U.S. military capabilities.

It includes close to $75 billion for weapons purchases, including sophisticated new ground combat vehicles, new warships and more aircraft. Among the proposed aircraft purchases: more of the controversial tilt-rotor Ospreys that can take off and land like helicopters but fly like conventional airplanes.

Beyond that, the budget calls for over $9 billion for missile defense - $1.5 billion more than in the 2004 budget. The Pentagon says the first interceptors based in Alaska should be operational by the end of this year.