The Pentagon's secretive military intelligence budget picks up a major boost

news
.S. Army Spc. Jonathan Pampell, a military intelligence mentor to the Afghan National Army (ANA), with the 319th Military Intelligence Battalion, walks past a group of wild dogs while on a patrol near Forward Operating Base Lightning, Paktya province, Afghanistan, Feb. 20, 2013. (U.S. Army/ Sgt. Aaron Ricca)

Editor's Note: This article by Richard Sisk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

The Pentagon has requested $22.95 billion for highly-classified military intelligence activities in fiscal year 2020, an increase of $2.25 billion over the previous year, the Defense Department said in a two-line statement Monday.


The nearly $23 billion for the Military Intelligence Program (MIP) includes funding divided between the Pentagon's base budget and the separate account for Overseas Contingency Operations, which is not subject to spending caps under the Budget Control Act. DoD gave no breakdown on how much intel money went to the base budget or to OCO.

"The department determined that releasing this top line figure does not jeopardize any classified activities within the MIP," the DoD statement said. "No other MIP budget figures or program details will be released, as they remain classified for national security reasons."

The huge increase in OCO funding, from $69 billion to $165 billion in the overall defense budget request of $750 billion submitted by the White House and the Pentagon last week, have already come under fire in Congress, which will have the ultimate say on the final shape of the defense budget. The OCO account is designed to fund warfighting overseas, but the lion's share of the requested increase for next year is programmed to augment the base defense budget instead.

At a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee last Thursday, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan was repeatedly challenged on the OCO budget by Democrats, who charged that the administration was using "gimmicks" to get around the spending caps.

"What we're really talking about here is the establishment of a slush fund to hide what's happening with defense spending," said Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.

The request for nearly $23 billion for military intelligence continues an upward trend. Last year, the request was for $21.2 billion; $20.7 billion in fiscal 2018; and $16.8 billion in fiscal 2017, according to DoD figures.

According to the office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Military Intelligence Program is one of the two major components of the overall U.S. intelligence budget, which last year totaled $60.2 billion.

The other major component was the National Intelligence Program, which included "all programs, projects and activities of the intelligence community" such as the CIA, the National Security Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office and other clandestine agencies, the DNI website said.

"The MIP is devoted to intelligence activity conducted by the military departments and agencies in the Department of Defense that support tactical U.S. military operations," the site said.

This article originally appeared on Military.com

More articles from Military.com:

SEE ALSO: Troop Pay Raise, Border Wall, And Wartime Funding: Here's Your 2020 Pentagon Budget

WATCH NEXT: Logistics, Baby!

Photo: Twitter

For an organization that is constantly shining a light on things that would rather be kept out of the public eye, the moderators of U.S. Army WTF! Moments have done a remarkably impressive job at staying anonymous.

That is, until Monday.

Read More Show Less

For U.S. service members who have fought alongside the Kurds, President Donald Trump's decision to approve repositioning U.S. forces in Syria ahead of Turkey's invasion is a naked betrayal of valued allies.

"I am ashamed for the first time in my career," one unnamed special operator told Fox News Jennifer Griffin.

In a Twitter thread that went viral, Griffin wrote the soldier told her the Kurds were continuing to support the United States by guarding tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners even though Turkey had nullified an arrangement under which U.S. and Turkish troops were conducting joint patrols in northeastern Syria to allow the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, to withdraw.

"The Kurds are sticking by us," the soldier told Griffin. "No other partner I have ever dealt with would stand by us."

Read More Show Less

Defense Secretary Mark Esper has confirmed that a nightmare scenario has come to pass: Captured ISIS fighters are escaping as a result of Turkey's invasion of Kurdish-held northeast Syria.

Turkey's incursion has led to "the release of many dangerous ISIS detainees," Esper said in a statement on Monday.

Read More Show Less
ABC News anchor Tom Llamas just before his network airs grossly inaccurate footage

Video footage of a purported "bombing of Kurd civilians" by Turkish military forces shown on ABC News appeared to be a nighttime firing of tracer rounds at a Kentucky gun range.

Read More Show Less

The U.S. military's seemingly never-ending mission supporting civil authorities along the southwestern border will last at least another year.

On Sept. 3, Defense Secretary Mark Esper approved a request from the Department of Homeland Security to provide a total of up to 5,500 troops along the border until Sept. 30, 2020, Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson, commander of U.S. Army North, said on Monday.

Read More Show Less