Special to WorldTribune.com
The Pentagon on Feb. 2 will provide a preview of its 2017 budget requesting more funds to beef up U.S. forces in Eastern Europe and fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant extremist group.
The Pentagon’s request for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 will total $583 billion, U.S. officials said, including $59 billion of “contingency funds” to pay for military actions in Afghanistan, and more than $7 billion for fighting ISIL in Iraq and Syria, in a 35 percent increase over 2016’s budget.
In a speech unveiling the budget request, which will be detailed in full on Feb. 9, the officials said Defense Secretary Ash Carter will highlight the world’s changing “threat environment,” underscoring the new risks presented by Russia since its 2014 annexation of Crimea and support of pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.
Carter will announce big increases to the European Reassurance Initiative aimed at countering the Russian threat, and the extra money will be used to pay for significant U.S. troop and equipment increases in countries such as Estonia and Romania, the officials said.