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Mattis starts budget review after Trump order

Mattis starts budget review after Trump order
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Defense Secretary James Mattis has directed the Pentagon to craft a request for more money for this fiscal year as well as speed up the process of creating a budget for next fiscal year, according to a memo released Wednesday.

Mattis’s memo falls in the line with President Trump’s order last week to begin a "great rebuilding" of the U.S. military.

“The president and I are committed to strengthening the U.S. Armed Forces,” Mattis wrote in the memo, dated Tuesday. “The ultimate objective is to build a larger, more capable and more lethal joint force, driven by a new National Defense Strategy.”

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Trump’s order, signed Friday at the Pentagon, calls for rebuilding the military to pursue "peace through strength," a slogan Trump used in the campaign.

The Pentagon’s efforts will be split into three phases, according to Mattis’s memo.

The first phase will include a fiscal 2017 budget amendment request. The request should address “urgent warfighting readiness shortfalls” and new requirements created by accelerating the campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Mattis wrote.

"The amendment may increase force structure in critical areas where doing so would have an immediate readiness impact,” Mattis wrote.

The request will include offsets from “lower priority programs” but will be a net increase over what former President Obama had requested for fiscal 2017.

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The second phase will include a “comprehensive but accelerated” fiscal 2018 budget review, the memo says. The budget should address programmatic shortfalls including buying more critical munitions, funding facilities sustainment at a higher rate and growing force structure.

The third phase will include crafting the 2018 National Defense Strategy. The strategy will include a new force sizing construct and an approach to enhancing lethality and effectiveness of the force, according to the memo.

Following the creation of the strategy will be the fiscal 2019–2023 Defense Program, which will seek to further grow the force, invest in advanced capability and improve how the department does business, the memo says. 

“Through all of these budget and program actions and strategy reviews, we cannot lose sight of the imperative to keep faith with our service member and their families,” Mattis concluded. “We will ensure that we are caring for those charged with defending the nation and its interests.”