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By Marcus Weisgerber and Christopher P. Cavas
Copyright 2014 www.militarytimes.com
WASHINGTON — The Defense Department on March 4 will propose a five-year plan that boosts Pentagon spending by a total of $115 billion over sequestration spending caps, according to multiple sources who have been briefed on the plan.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Monday will preview the plan, along with other key items included in DoD’s $496 billion 2015 budget proposal. The budget proposal ignores federally mandated spending caps between 2016 and 2019. Sister publication Defense News has reported that the fiscal 2016 budget projection would be $36 billion over the sequester cap.
While DoD’s fiscal 2015 budget falls in line with defense spending caps for that year, the budget will include a separate $26 billion “Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative.” The additional $26 billion would go toward readiness, the sources said.
The proposal recommends keeping an aircraft carrier but sidelining half of the Navy’s cruiser fleet. It would also retire the Air Force’s A-10 and U-2 fleets and sets the stage for retiring the KC-10 fleet and for delaying the Navy’s version of the F-35.
Reached Sunday night, Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said he would not comment on budget specifics ahead of Hagel’s rollout.