Trump is also seeking to upgrade Guantanamo Bay detention centre that Obama sought to close during his tenure
WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump is asking Congress to give the Pentagon about $2 billion for a “flexible” fund to use against IS over the next six months, as his administration weighs changes to the US-led campaign against the militant group.
Trump is also seeking to upgrade long-underfunded facilities at the US military’s Guantanamo Bay detention centre in Cuba that Trump’s Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, unsuccessfully sought to close during his eight-year administration.
“It doesn’t seem like we are going to close it anytime soon,” John Roth, the acting Pentagon comptroller, told a Pentagon news briefing, explaining the move.
The proposals were part of a $30 billion supplemental request to Congress to add more money to the Pentagon’s budget during the government’s ongoing fiscal year, which began under the Obama administration and ends in September.
It includes plans to crank up US funding for the fight against IS militants for items like high-tech bombs and defenses against insurgents’ drones, bringing overall spending on the campaign to the highest level yet, the Pentagon said.
“This will likely be our largest request,” Roth said.
One analyst called the $2 billion flexible spending request a Pentagon “slush fund,” and many lawmakers were expected to be reluctant to loosen oversight over how the Pentagon spends money.
What Trump’s additional funding might mean for America’s evolving war strategy against IS in the coming months was not immediately clear. But the request comes as US-backed forces in Iraq and Syria are entering a critical phase in their campaign to retake IS’s two biggest cities of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria.
Trump’s administration is weighing deployment of more troops. The heads of the top congressional committees that oversee the Pentagon have criticised Trump’s budget request, saying even more money was needed.