Pentagon to Request $7.5 Billion, a 50% Hike, in Fight Against ISIS

PHOTO: Ash Carter speaks about the upcoming Defense Departments budget, Feb. 2, 2016, during a speech at the Economic Club of Washington.Susan Walsh/AP Photo
Ash Carter speaks about the upcoming Defense Department's budget, Feb. 2, 2016, during a speech at the Economic Club of Washington.

The Pentagon will request $7.5 billion in next year’s budget to cover the costs of its accelerating campaign against ISIS, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said today.

Speaking before the Economic Club of Washington, D.C., Carter revealed the 50 percent increase for ISIS-related funds over its fiscal year 2016 budget.

“This will be critical as our updated coalition military campaign plan kicks in. For example, we’ve recently been hitting ISIL with so many GPS-guided smart bombs and laser-guided rockets that we’re starting to run low on the ones that we use against terrorists the most," Carter said. ISIS is also known as ISIL or the Islamic State. "So we’re investing $1.8 billion in FY 2017 to buy over 45,000 more of them.”

The budget request also will include a quadrupling of the funds to support NATO’s effort to counter Russian aggression in eastern Europe, raising the current amount of $789 million to $3.4 billion. This increase will allow for the rotation of more U.S. units in Europe, additional training, and the pre-positioning of gear.

“All of this together by the end of 2017 will let us rapidly form a highly-capable combined arms ground force that can respond theater-wide if necessary,” Carter said.

Fiscal year 2017 begins on Oct. 1, 2016.

Carter called Russia, along with China, “our most stressing competitors,” which “reflect a return to a great power competition.”

With Russia’s seizing of Crimea from the Ukraine and China’s claims on disputed islands in the South China Sea, Carter said “we cannot blind ourselves to the actions they appear to choose to pursue.”

Carter also outlined a series of innovations by the Strategic Capabilities Office: Placing micro-cameras and sensors one can find on smartphones on small diameter bombs; swarming micro-drones that can be launched from the back of a jet flying near the speed of sound; and self-driving boats.

In all, the Defense Department budget request will be nearly $583 billion and will shift in focus away from one potential enemy to multiple threats.

“We don’t have the luxury of just one opponent, or the choice between current fights and future fights -- we have to do both. And that’s what our budget is designed to do," Carter said.