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Troop pay raise, border wall, and wartime funding: Here's your 2020 Pentagon budget
Everything about the Defense Department's proposed fiscal 2020 budget is big, from the largest pay raise for troops in a decade to a huge increase in the wartime budget.
The Pentagon's $718 billion request represents a nearly 5 percent increase to the $685 billion enacted for defense spending this fiscal year.
Under the pay raise included in the proposed fiscal 2020 budget, U.S. troops could get up to $1,000 extra per year, a Pentagon spokeswoman said.
"If Congress approves a proposed 3.1 percent increase in military basic pay, the basic pay for an E-3 under two years of service would increase by $737 per year," said Air Force Lt. Col. Carla Gleason. "The basic pay for an E-4 with over three years of service would increase by $904 per year. The basic pay for an E-5 with over four years of service would increase by $1,043 per year."
The Defense Department has also requested a massive increase in the "overseas contingency operations" budget, which is technically supposed to fund wartime operations but has become more of a Pentagon wish list because it is not subject to the spending caps that Congress imposed in 2011.
The wartime budget would balloon from $69 billion to $165 billion, of which only a small portion would go for actual operations overseas: $25.4 billion would fund combat and combat support costs; $41.3 billion would pay for the U.S. military's presence in the Middle East, Africa, the Philippines, and Europe; and $97.9 billion would go toward new munitions and other readiness costs that are "financed in the OCO budget due to the limits on the base budget defense resources under the budget caps in current law," defense officials said.
Lawmakers have condemned the Pentagon for loading the wartime budget with expenses that are unrelated to ongoing operations.
"The use of a massive budgetary gimmick to hide the true cost of this defense spending request should outrage everyone who claims to care about fiscal responsibility," House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey (D-N.Y.) said on Monday.
Separate from the wartime budget, the Pentagon is asking for $9.2 billion in "emergency" funding, of which $2 billion would repair damage to bases in Florida and North Carolina done by Hurricanes Florence and Michael, a senior defense official said.
Another $3.6 billion would be used to build barriers along the southwestern border and the remaining $3.6 billion would replenish money taken from military construction projects included in the Defense Department's fiscal 2019 budget to build the border wall, the official told reporters on Monday.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) has vowed to prevent the Defense Department from transferring any money at all in the fiscal 2020 budget to prevent any further defense spending from being used to build the border wall.
"I think we would be very concerned about the lack of flexibility for any reprogramming," the official said. "The department really needs reprogramming authority each year. There's always going to be the need for some move arounds within our budget. Having that reprogramming authority is really important to us."
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Police arrest suspected terrorist for 1985 hijacking in which Navy diver Robert D. Stethem was murdered
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police have arrested a 65-year-old Lebanese man suspected of involvement in the 1985 hijacking of a Trans World Airlines (TWA) plane in which a U.S. navy diver was killed.
A Greek police official said on Saturday the suspect had disembarked from a cruise ship on the island of Mykonos on Thursday and that his name came up as being wanted by German authorities.
The last time the world saw Marine veteran Austin Tice, he had been taken prisoner by armed men. It was unclear whether his captors were jihadists or allies of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who were disguised as Islamic radicals.
Blindfolded and nearly out of breath, Tice spoke in Arabic before breaking into English:"Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus."
That was from a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, 2012, several weeks after Tice went missing near Damascus, Syria, while working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and the Washington Post.
Now that Tice has been held in captivity for more than seven years, reporters who have regular access to President Donald Trump need to start asking him how he is going to bring Tice home.
SAN DIEGO — John Timothy Earnest didn't hide his smirks as he sat in a San Diego courtroom on Thursday, watching surveillance video of Lori Gilbert-Kaye being shot down inside the lobby of a Poway synagogue.
Earnest also smiled as a synagogue congregant testified about running toward the shooter, screaming "I'm going to kill you!" and seeing the gunman "with a look of astonishment or fear" turn and run.
Earnest, 20, is facing one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder in the shootings at Chabad of Poway on April 27. He also faces an arson charge related to an Escondido mosque fire in March, when several people who were sleeping inside escaped unharmed.
Sometimes a joke just doesn't work.
For example, the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service tweeted and subsequently deleted a Gilbert Gottfried-esque misfire about the "Storm Area 51" movement.
On Friday DVIDSHUB tweeted a picture of a B-2 bomber on the flight line with a formation of airmen in front of it along with the caption: "The last thing #Millenials will see if they attempt the #area51raid today."
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey is ready to act on its southern border with Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan said, after warning that it could take unilateral steps if the U.S. does not establish a "safe zone" in northeast Syria this month.
"Our preparations along our borders are complete," Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul on Saturday before departing to attend a U.N. General Assembly meeting.