From: Reuters
Published February 2, 2008 12:04 PM

Bush to seek $140.7 billion for Army in budget

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush will seek $140.7 billion on Monday for the U.S. Army in fiscal 2009, including increased funds to buy helicopters and other equipment, according to budget documents obtained by Reuters.

That request would be 8 percent higher than the Army budget requested for fiscal 2008.

The request for weapons and equipment procurement dollars will total $24.6 billion compared with $23.8 billion sought for fiscal 2008. The 2009 figure falls short of the $26.2 billion the Army previously said it would seek for procurement.

It will include $1.17 billion for CH-47 heavy-lift Chinook helicopters and modifications from Boeing Co and $1.06 billion for UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters from United Technologies Corp Sikorsky unit.

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The budget request also will include increases for ammunition, Stryker vehicles and a family of medium tactical vehicles.

The funding request for Future Combat Systems, the Army's modernization effort, will hold roughly flat at $3.555 billion in fiscal 2009 compared with $3.563 billion a year ago.

Fiscal 2009 starts October 1, 2008.

The Army, the largest branch of the U.S. military, has been stressed by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Much of the fiscal 2009 budget request aims to address that strain by retraining personnel and fixing or replacing equipment.

The budget request also includes funds to increase the size of the Army to 532,400 soldiers by the end of fiscal 2009, up from about 512,400 now. That is part of a five-year plan to boost both the Army and Marine Corps.

Bush's overall Pentagon budget request will total $515.4 billion for fiscal 2009, up 7.5 percent from the funds Congress approved for 2008, according to Pentagon documents obtained by Reuters on Friday. He also will seek $70 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

(Reporting by Kristin Roberts, Editing by Carol Bishopric)

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