The Pentagon is proposing a 2 percent boost in spending next year, including a pay raise for military personnel, with no new cuts in forces.
The spending plan for the 1990 budget year, which begins next Oct. 1, calls for a 4.1 percent pay raise for the 2.1 million military personnel and sufficient money to maintain the level of training approved for the current budget year, Dan Howard, chief spokesman at the Defense Department, said Tuesday.The 1990 budget proposal is to be formally unveiled on Jan. 9. It will disclose that there has been a one-year delayin production of the new B-2 Stealth bomber "as a result of both fiscal and technical considerations," Howard said.
The spokesman declined to elaborate further on the Stealth delay, noting the program is still classified. The Air Force had said previously it expected delivery of the first operational B-2 in fiscal 1991.
Howard's disclosure of fiscal 1990 budget details was unexpected and unusual. The Defense Department normally declines to discuss any of the administration's internal budget decisions before the entire federal budget is submitted to Congress.
The spokesman's willingness to discuss the matter, however, appeared to reflect a desire on the part of Defense Secretary Frank C. Carlucci to pressure Congress - and for that matter, President-elect Bush - to reverse a four-year slide in defense spending after inflation.
Bush will be free after his inauguration on Jan. 20 to amend the budget submissions, and he has indicated he might bow to congressional calls that military spending be held at current levels after accounting for inflation.
Bush said Tuesday he would not make any decisions until he assumes the presidency.
Carlucci, in several recent speeches, has argued that zero growth is unacceptable. Howard echoed that stand Tuesday.
"There are those who talk about zero-growth budgets," he said. "We just want to make sure that everybody understands what that means. If you move in the direction of zero growth, it means that over (the next five years), you have to take out at least an additional $100 billion" because of projected inflation.
President Reagan's last Pentagon request will total $305.6 billion in multi-year budget authority, up about $15.3 billion from fiscal 1989, Howard said.