'The Donald Trump administration is seeking nearly $2 billion in precision-guided weapons for the Iraq and Syria battlefields, as the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State (IS) faces increased threats from forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad. That’s 20% more than the Pentagon spent on munitions in all Middle East war zones in 2017.
A spokeswoman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff told Al-Monitor that the Pentagon has requested $1.8 billion to replace expended munitions — including precision-guided bomb kits, small diameter bombs and Hellfire missiles — used in 2017 to help liberate Mosul and Raqqa. The spending boost for munitions is driving the US budget for the anti-IS mission to $15.3 billion for fiscal year 2019, a 15% jump over the $13 billion requested for the current year.
US Marine Corps Maj. Lisa Lawrence said the boost will be offset by reductions in operations and maintenance as well as military construction in the Pentagon’s $716 billion budget request for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1. She did not elaborate on what projects could be cut.
“The DoD [Department of Defense] has expended more munitions than planned over the last few years, primarily to defeat Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [ISIS], leading to higher demand to replenish munition inventories,” states the overview for the Defense Department’s budget, which was released Monday. “That includes Hellfire missiles, bomb upgrades and small-diameter bombs that the Pentagon says were used extensively to liberate Mosul last year.”
Read more: Pentagon seeks massive boost in bomb budget for Iraq and Syria
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