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Obama Holds Steady on 2015 US Defense Spending, Foreign Aid

  • VOA News

President Barack Obama answers a question regarding the situation in the Ukraine during his visit to unveil his 2015 budget at the Powell Elementary School in the Petworth neighborhood of Washington, March 4, 2014.

President Barack Obama answers a question regarding the situation in the Ukraine during his visit to unveil his 2015 budget at the Powell Elementary School in the Petworth neighborhood of Washington, March 4, 2014.

U.S. President Barack Obama is proposing to keep 2015 American defense spending and foreign aid near their current levels, but at the same time shift funding to meet the country's evolving national security priorities.

The president is calling for a $496-billion defense budget for the year starting in October, unchanged from this year. But the spending plan Obama sent to Congress would shrink the size of the U.S. Army from 490,000 active-duty soldiers to a range between 440,000 and 450,000. That would be the smallest force since before World War II.

The plan envisions what Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says would be a shift toward a more versatile, agile military, rather than a larger one equipped to fight lengthy ground battles.

The president called for a $42.6-billion budget for the State Department and the country's chief foreign aid agency, a slight decrease from the current total.

U.S. Budget - Fiscal Year 2015

U.S. Budget - Fiscal Year 2015

The plan calls for about $5 billion in spending for programs for various assistance programs in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, a sharp reduction. It also would allocate $3 billion for international peace-keeping operations.

Obama called for $4.6 billion to secure U.S. personnel and facilities overseas, a direct response to the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed a U.S. ambassador and three others.
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